Speaker Profile: Shirley Shepherd

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The first profile of a conference speaker is Shirley Shepherd, who is speaking as a part of the Public Libraries stream. Shirley Shepherd

1. Can you please give us a taste of what you will be speaking about at the conference?

Partnerships and collaboration at many levels are required to coordinate, develop and deliver flexible and meaningful library programs and services in the East Arnhem region. The East Arnhem Shire Council (EASC) in partnership with Northern Territory Library (NTL) and other providers are working together to deliver library services, promote reading and increase literacy and school readiness in Indigenous people in Northeast Arnhem Land, Australia.
Programs focus on early years learning and strategies include supporting caregivers to nurture literate behaviours and practices; providing access to age-appropriate books and resources, including own language material; and training local Indigenous people to facilitate family-oriented early learning activities.  

2. In your field of work, what is inspiring, exciting or challenging you at the moment?

My work at the moment is all three: inspiring, exiting and challenging!  The many challenges include remoteness, funding, language and cultural differences but the potential for making a difference through provision of meaningful library programs and services is very exciting. I am continually inspired by working with other service providers and Indigenous people who are working to improve life in their communities.

3. If you will be visiting Brisbane for the first time, what are you looking forward to the most? If you are a local or know Brisbane well, please share your favourite thing to do or place to visit in Brisbane.

I’m originally from Goondiwindi in southern Queensland so I’ve been visiting Brisbane since I was very young. As a child I loved the Queensland Museum and going to the wool auctions to see our wool being sold (I grew up on a sheep property). As an adult my visits are to catch up with family, but I do enjoy a saunter down Queen Street Mall and looking through the boutiques in the Wintergarden.

4. What is the best experience you have ever had at a library conference?

I’m really a novice at library conferences – ALIA Access 2010 will be my second one ever. I attended ALIA 2008 in Alice Springs and went to several great presentations. However, the highlights for me were meeting and talking with library professionals from all over the world and the conference dinner under the stars at Ooraminna Homestead.

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