Congratulations to Glebe Society member, Dr John Alexander Byrne for becoming a member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Alex Byrne is being recognised for his significant service to library and information management through initiatives to develop access to global and Indigenous resources. According to Library and Information Science Research Australia, Dr Byrne has a ‘deep interest in the roles of memory institutions, the complexity of issues relating to Indigenous peoples and transmission of knowledge’.
Alex Byrne was the State Librarian and Chief Executive of the State Library of NSW from 2011 until 2016. While at the State Library, Alex oversaw the development of its landmark Indigenous Collecting Strategy in which ‘Australia’s most valuable library collection will be extended and enriched with the contemporary voices and experiences of Indigenous peoples and communities’. Dr Byrne is quoted as saying: ‘The State Library is passionate about collecting and providing access to the stories, personal histories and events that paved the way to reconciliation and recognition in this country and tell of Indigenous lives today. … Through this new strategy, the Library will continue to play a vital role in introducing and reconnecting people with Indigenous Australian languages, art, culture and heritage’.
Prior to his role at the State Library, Alex was University Librarian and Pro Vice-Chancellor and Vice President (Teaching and Learning) at UTS, before which he held positions at Northern Territory University (now Charles Darwin University) and the Australian Defence Force Academy.
Dr Byrne has also held a number of influential representative positions in the library world: Chair of National and State Libraries Australasia, Council of Australian University Librarians (including Chair of the Working Party on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Protocols for Libraries), the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions and the Australian Library and Information Association (including as a member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy Steering Committee).
Congratulations to Alex on the well-deserved recognition his important contribution to our community.