Library Senior Staff

Chief Executive Officer and State Librarian
Margaret Allen PSM

Previous positions include 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, IFLA eLlending Working Group
  • Member, IFLA Public Libraries Section Committee
  • Chair, Australian Libraries Copyright Committee
  • Member, National and State Libraries Australasia
  • Director, Australian Digital Alliance
  • Member, ALIA Book Industry and eLending Advisory Committee
  • Member, INELI-Oceania Steering Committee
  • Member, Curtin University, BA Media and Information Advisory Board
  • Member, Kay Poustie Scholarship Panel
  • Member, Public Libraries Working Group
  • Member, Library Board Award for Innovation and Collaboration Panel
  • Representative of Australian Libraries - Public Lending Right Committee

Director, Library Services
Elizabeth Spencer

Elizabeth commenced work at the State Library in 2014. She has a background as a professional performer and playwright and commenced work in the public sector in 2004 at the Department of Culture and the Arts (DCA) 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, development, management and evaluation of a range of industry grants programs and the development of the Royalties for Regions funded program Creative Regions.

In her role as Director, Library Services, Elizabeth is responsible for supporting clients with specialist library and research programs, community engagement with cultural heritage including Aboriginal collections, the leadership and development of programs for whole of life literacy and learning and the activation of the State Library as a hub for creative ideas.

Key achievements in her four years so far have included the development and delivery of six Disrupted Festivals of Ideas, the launch of the State Library’s Literacy Strategy 2017-2027 Literacy Matters, Studio 001 creative co-working studio, English Conversation Classes and a range of public programs including exhibitions, public talks and education programs.

Elizabeth has co-chaired the National and State Libraries Australasia Indigenous Working Group, delivering the Right Wrongs digital exhibition to commemorate the 1967 Referendum in partnership with ABC and the commencement of the national Culturally Safe Libraries project to improve cultural safety for Aboriginal staff and clients.

Elizabeth has a Diploma in Performing Arts, Theatre from WAAPA, 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
Chris Penwald

Chris has been working in the State Public Sector for over 30 years. During this time he has worked in senior positions for a number of agencies including the Department of Treasury, GESB and the Department of Justice. 

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.

Prior to joining the State Library, 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, Collection Services
Susan McEwan

In her role as Director Collection Services, Susan is responsible for the development and management of the State Library’s physical and digital collections, including acquisition, processing, storage, preservation, digitisation, distribution and access for Western Australian heritage collections, information and reference and public library materials. Susan has held various roles at the State Library since 2011, including working for the Better Beginnings Family Literacy Program and Managing the Client Services team. Susan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with joint First Class Honours in English and Cultural Studies and Fine Arts, a Graduate Diploma in Education and a Masters in Business Administration. 

Last updated on: 1 July 2021