Library Senior Staff

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:
  • Member, National and State Libraries Australia (NSLA)
  • Director, Australian Digital Alliance
  • Chair, Australian Libraries Copyright Committee
  • Member, Writing Sector Review Group
  • Member, Public Libraries Working Group
  • Past Associate, IFLA International Leadership Program
  • Chair, IFLA Elending Working Group
  • Member, IFLA Public Libraries Section Committee
  • Member, Curtin University, BA Media & Information Advisory Board
  • Member, Australia Libraries and Information Association (ALIA)
  • Member, ALIA Book Industry and ELending Advisory Council
  • Member, INELI-Oceania Steering Committee
  • Member, Kay Poustie Scholarship Panel
  • Member, F A Sharr Medal Award Panel
  • Member, Library Board Award for Innovation and Collaboration Panel
  • Reprentative of Australian Libraries- Public Lending Right Committee
  • Chair, 2012 National Year of Reading Founding Partners
  • President of ALIA 2011 – 2012

Director, Collection Services
Ms Michelle Brennand

Michelle has had an extensive career in local government at the executive level with a focus of delivering community focused outcomes.  Portfolios have included public libraries, heritage, museums and arts, community development (volunteering, access and inclusion, aged care, multicultural and youth services)  and community safety and emergency management. Michelle’s work in the local government sector has focused on service transformation to improve the customer experience, build community capacity and foster local community engagement.  

Professional activities:
  • President Public Libraries Western Australia
  • Director Australian Library and Information Association
  • Member of Strategic Library Partnership Agreement Steering Committee
  • Member Australian Library and Information Association Public Libraries Reference Group
  • Chairperson Metropolitan Library Managers Group
  • Member past Australian Library and Information Association Conference Committee
  • Member past FA Sharr Medal Award Panel
  • Chair, Public Libraries 50th Anniversary Committee

Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts (UWA), Graduate Diploma in Library Science (Curtin) and a Masters of Business Administration (Curtin).

In her current role as Director Collection Services, Michelle has responsibility for management and development of the Library’s physical and digital collections for and on behalf of the WA community.  

Director, Library Services
Ms Elizabeth Spencer

Elizabeth commenced work at the State Library in 2014. 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 Director, Library Services, 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.

Last updated on: 12 Jul 2019