The State Library Senior Management Team

Chief Executive Officer and State Librarian
Ms Margaret Allen

Previous positions Associate Director, State Library of South Australia and a variety of roles in both public and special libraries. Margaret spent some 15 years working with a Library management systems vendor in all aspects of the business including support, development, marketing and consulting roles in Australia and overseas.

Professional activities

  • Chair, National and State Libraries Australasia (NSLA)
  • Director, Australian Digital Alliance
  • Chair, Australian Libraries Copyright Committee
  • Associate, IFLA International Leadership Program 
  • Member of Strategic Library Partnership Agreement Steering Committee
  • Member, Curtin University, BA Media & Information Advisory Board
  • Member, Book Industry Collaborative Council
  • Member, Lending Rights Expert Reference Group
  • Member, eSmart Libraries Reference Group
  • Member, Australia Libraries and Information Association (ALIA) e-book Working Group
  • Member, State Library of Western Australia Foundation Fundraising Committee
  • Member, INELI-Oceania Steering Committee
  • Member, ALIA Excellence Awards Panel
  • Member, F A Sharr Medal Award Panel 
  • Chair, 2012 National Year of Reading Founding Partners
  • President of ALIA 2011 – 2012

Director, Collection Services
Ms Alison Sutherland

Alison started her involvement with libraries at the age of 6 when she created her first date due slips, progressing at the age of 9 to her first date stamp via her Christmas stocking!  Her first voluntary post was at Marmion Primary School at the age of 11, then at Duncraig/Sorrento public library when she was 14.  Sad but true!

During the past 20 years Alison has worked in School, Health, Special and Academic Libraries in areas including records management, acquisitions, serials, cataloguing, circulation, information literacy, reference and electronic resources; both in Western Australia and London.

She started at the State Library in August 2005 and is currently Director of Collection Services responsible for the life of all State Library collection materials (including Public Library materials) from the time they enter the building to the time they are conserved, digitised or discarded.  

Alison is a life member of the Australian Library and Information Association, and an Aurora Leadership Institute Alumnist.

A/Director, Community Learning and Discovery
Ms Elizabeth Spencer

Elizabeth commenced work at the State Library in 2014 on a secondment from the Department of Culture and the Arts (DCA). Elizabeth has a background as a professional performer and playwright and commenced work in the public sector in 2004 to support a growing family of three, after sixteen years as a professional artist. Her roles at DCA ranged from Young People and the Arts Project Officer, Manager of Grants and Programs to A/Director Projects and she has worked across a range of programs and initiatives to support community participation and engagement in arts and culture. These have included management and leadership of the Arts in Education Partnership Framework with the Department of Education and the Australia Council funded Artist in Residence Program, The State Government Percent for Art Program, The Revealed Emerging Aboriginal Artist showcase and the development of the Royalties for Regions funded program Creative Regions.

Elizabeth has extensive experience in the development of arts and cultural funding programs managing and evaluating the impact of a range of industry peer panels including the Indigenous Arts Panel and the Connect Community Collections panel. Her work at DCA has prepared her for the management and development of state and national partnerships and policy and the process of building community engagement with programs and collections from the ground up.

In her role as A/Director Community Learning and Discovery Elizabeth is responsible for community engagement with cultural heritage including Aboriginal collections, the leadership and development of programs to improve literacy and learning and the activation of the State Library as a hub for creative ideas.

Elizabeth has a Diploma in Performing Arts, Theatre from WAAPA, a First Class Honours Degree in English and Philosophy from UWA and a Post Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Management from Griffith University.

Director, Strategic and Corporate Services
Mr Chris Penwald

Chris has been working in the State Public Sector for over 33 years. During this time he has worked for a number of agencies including the Department of Treasury, GESB and the Department of Justice. During his extensive career in the sector, Chris has held a number of senior positions in various agencies.

Chris joined the Department of Culture and the Arts (DCA) in 2008 as Director of Organisational Performance. During his time at the Department Chris has acted as Deputy Director General, Executive Director General Operations and as the Director of Business Services at the WA Museum.

Most recently Chris was the Director Arts Funding and Development at DCA where he oversaw the State’s investment in the arts. This included funding to a number of arts organisations and individual artists through project grants.

Chris is also a sessional lecturer at Edith Cowan University where he teaches Financial Management in the Arts to 2nd year arts management students.

Chris holds both accounting and business qualifications as is a member of the Australian Society of CPAs.

Director, Special Projects
Mr Mark Woodcock

Mark commenced work with the State Library in January 2008. He joined the public sector in September 2000 as Executive Director at the Department of Land Information (now Landgate), followed by a period working at the Department of Justice on the funding bid for the implementation of recommendations from the Mahoney Inquiry including the split of the Department, stints as Business Manager in Aboriginal Policy and Services and Director Financial Management at the Department of the Attorney General and time working with the Director General at the Department of Indigenous Affairs on a restructure and funding model.

Previous to that he has held senior management positions for over 16 years in the private sector – as CEO of a private hospital for the Alpha Healthcare Group, Business Development Consultant/Operations Manager of a large group of general practices for Westpoint Healthcare, General Manager of LifeCare, a sports medicine and physiotherapy group and Administrative Co-ordinator of the training program for GP’s in hospitals and practices at the Royal College of General Practitioners.

In addition Mark has run his own small business in the meetings industry plus 6 years experience working in tertiary education in Perth (UWA), Ireland (National Institute for Higher Education) and UK (Brighton Polytechnic). Mark has an honours degree in economics and is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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Page last updated: Tuesday 10 May 2016

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