Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tribute to Dorothy Harris

We are sad to advise that our ex-colleague, professional associate and  friend Dorothy Harris died at Canberra Hospital on 31st December 2012 after a short illness.  She will be especially missed by her husband Tony Ralli and her daughter Leslie Thompson to whom we express our deepest sympathy

Dorothy Harris moved to ACT from Perth, where she had already had a long and successful library career, in 1990. She rapidly began to have an impact on Government libraries, first at the O’Connell Education Centre (part of the ACT Education Authority) and later as head of the national Defence Library and Information Service. In her career in school and government libraries, Dorothy demonstrated considerable vision and effective management skills, assisting in the development of quality library services and managing significant change.  At the Department of Defence she steered the national defence library service towards a new, more integrated structure and service base.

As ALIA ACT President in 1998 she successfully achieved the merger of ALIA and ACLIS in our region. She was active as a member of many ALIA divisions. She also strongly encouraged links with the ASLA (ACT) branch feeling government and school libraries had much to learn from and to teach each other. She was for many years the Copyright Expert for the Federal Libraries Information Network. Copyright and the challenges of changing technologies presented by copyright were always of particular interest to Dorothy.. She and Tony received jointly the ALIA ACT award in 2001 for their dedication and contribution to the library and information profession. She greatly valued ALIA as a source of professional support, (and) networking and of professional development,  particularly for more junior staff members whom she actively encouraged to participate fully.

Dorothy was always forward looking, grasping the challenges of changing technologies and service priorities. She had a strong management ethic which enabled her to successfully drive change.   She also displayed a great capacity to analyse client need, to maximize the libraries response and even anticipate needs they had not yet identified. Dorothy was very astute about making sure her libraries were visible and were offering innovative and relevant services. She greatly valued initiative and flexibility in her colleagues especially urging junior staff to be adventurous and expand their horizons.

We thank Dorothy for her energetic contribution to the growth and development of library and information services in a computerized world.  We also acknowledge her efforts to raise the image of the information professional in our region and beyond.

Libby Coates

1 comment:

  1. My sympathies to Tony and Family and thank you to Libby for reminding us of Dorothy's professional life.
    Judy Hutchinson