Lesley Acres has worked as a program officer with State Library Queensland (SLQ) for the past six years. Passionate about her Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and the sharing of that knowledge, she is also Project Officer for NSLA's Cultural Learning Project.
Tell us a bit about your job at SLQ.
I work as a program officer in an identified position in the Indigenous Services, Public Libraries and Engagement team. I have been in this position since May 2013. I am an out-posted officer physically located at Southbank. My team, based in Cairns, supports 12 Councils to operate 24 Indigenous Knowledge Centres (IKC) in remote Indigenous communities in Queensland. I support Cherbourg, Woorabinda and Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Councils to operate their IKCs.
Why did you want to work on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Learning project (CLP)?
As an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman, I am very passionate about my cultures and the importance of sharing my knowledge. I view cultural learning as an essential requirement for all staff working in libraries and other collecting institutions. I saw this role as an opportunity to contribute both my personal and work experience by assisting the collaborative steering group with implementing the project.
What’s been the best part of your year so far, and what are you most looking forward to in the next 12 months?
Accompanying the State Library of Queensland Board to their first visit to the Winifred Fisher IKC in Cherbourg in March this year has been a highlight. It was also a humbling experience to be nominated as one of the Palm Island exhibition team in the Most Valuable Staff Contribution Awards at SLQ for my contribution to the exhibition. I also had the opportunity to assist my colleague on a trip to Poruma Island IKC where I’ve never been before and met family I didn’t know lived there. The opportunity for SLQ to host the first meeting of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff network and meet with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff in NSLA libraries in June is something I am looking forward to. Finally, I’m excited by the opportunity to travel to each NSLA library to co-facilitate the role specific training for collections staff.
What changes do you hope to see in NSLA libraries following the CLP?
Robust implementation of the Indigenous cultural competency principles.
Complete this sentence: A culturally safe library is…
…a welcoming, inclusive space where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge and staff are acknowledged and valued respectfully. A place where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can access culturally appropriate services and programs.