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Awarded for service to community, education and training and government
Born: 25 June 1955
Entered on roll: 2019
Siobhan Gaskell was the Director of the State Library of Tasmania/LINC Tasmania from 1997 to 2012 and has supported building a State that encourages people to learn, discover and access information.
Siobhan saw firsthand the extent of literacy needs across Tasmania, and her initial response was to start local family literacy programs. She went on to establish a fledgling LINC Tasmania Adult Literacy Coordinator Network in 2010, and worked with other government partners to secure funding for the Tasmanian Adult Literacy Action Plan.
Since retiring in 2012, Siobhan has continued working with the 26TEN Coalition to establish 26TEN: Tasmania’s long-term Adult Literacy and Numeracy Strategy, and she gives generously of her time to advance literacy and numeracy awareness and improvement in Tasmania.
Siobhan worked tirelessly to reform the State Library into a Community Knowledge Network and then to LINC Tasmania. The reforms added adult and community education, adult literacy programs, archives and heritage, and online access centres to the traditional lending and reference library services, across 65 sites. Before this reform, Siobhan was involved in establishing online access centres.
Siobhan took an active role in planning and establishing regional hubs across Tasmania, which incorporated co-locating a range of community and government services, such as library services, adult literacy, online access, community learning, Child and Family Centres, Service Tasmania, business enterprise centres and, in one, Centrelink and a magistrates court. These sites enabled communities in regional areas to access new and expanded services at one site.
Siobhan was also a leader in the more traditional library. One of the major projects Siobhan was engaged in was digitisation of records and heritage collections. Siobhan valued the extensive collection in Tasmania of convict heritage and was pleased that it could be accessed by everyone.