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Small Libraries, Big Impact Seminar 

Presented by State Library Victoria and Public Libraries Victoria

Streaming live Wednesday, 7 June 2023, 10:00am (AEST)

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Regional and rural communities face unique challenges, such as increased isolation, limited funding and difficulties in delivering health and wellbeing services to their communities.


Maxine McKew, member of the Library Board of Victoria, will serve as the Master of Ceremonies, guiding participants through an exploration of how public libraries support communities in solving existing problems. 


Distinguished speakers include the Honorable Melissa Horne, Minister for Local Government, Leanne Williams, CEO of MyLi and President of the PLV Executive Committee, and Dr. Rebecca McGowan, a regional GP and business leader. They will share insights on the challenges faced by regional and rural libraries in providing comprehensive health and wellbeing services to their communities. 


The seminar will feature testimonies from community members directly impacted by the health and wellbeing programs initiated by rural and regional libraries across Victoria. These programs have been made possible through the Libraries for Health and Wellbeing Innovation Grants, provided by State Library Victoria.


Angela Savage, CEO of Public Libraries Victoria, will be joined by program coordinators from Hindmarsh, Indigo Shire, Moorabool, and Yarriambiak to discuss the importance of securing financial support for fresh initiatives in regional and rural areas. This seminar aims to showcase the transformative potential of health and wellbeing programs implemented at public libraries throughout Victoria.

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State Library Victoria and Respect Victoria Board, Advisory Committee, Public Libraries Victoria 

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Maxine McKew

Maxine McKew is an Hon Fellow at the Melb Graduate school of education at The University of Melbourne. Currently she sits on the boards of the State Library Victoria and Respect Victoria. She is also chair of the Advisory Committee on Public Libraries Victoria. 


In her professional life Maxine worked as a print and Tv journalist for over thirty years before entering the federal parliament as the Member for Bennelong in 2007. 

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President, Public Libraries Victoria

CEO, Myli

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Leanne Williams 

Leanne Williams is the CEO of Myli – My Community Library Ltd (Myli). Myli is the first not-for-profit and charity to deliver specialised public library services in Victoria.

Leanne is known for her visionary, people focused and transformational leadership. All essential attributes as she leads the growth of Myli to provide library services to more Councils across Victoria.


Leanne is a qualified Chartered Accountant, Graduate of the Institute of Company Directors and a Non-Executive Director. She is the President of Public Libraries Victoria, a Board Director for LaTrobe Regional Hospital and St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School.


In 2019, Leanne was named in the Victorian Top 50 Public Sector Women and in 2020 she was the winner in the Public Leader category for an Outstanding Leadership Award. In 2021, Leanne was a semi-finalist in the Leadership and Innovation Award for the Regional Victoria Community Achievement Awards.


Leanne is a mum to three primary school aged children and in her spare time she spends it mountain biking, road cycling and snowboarding.

Minister for Local Government 

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The Hon. Melissa Horne

The Honourable Melissa Horne has been a Labor Party member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly since November 2018, representing the seat of Williamstown. In June 2022, she became Minister for Local Government and Minister for Suburban Development. 


Before entering Parliament, Melissa worked at senior levels of government and corporate Victoria, delivering gaming reforms and leading efforts to engage the community in level crossing removals across Melbourne.


As the daughter of two schoolteachers, Melissa’s belief in the values of public service and education influenced her to lead a successful grassroots campaign for a new public secondary school in the inner west. Her experience on this campaign led Melissa to consider the role she could play in advocating for change within Parliament.


The priorities Melissa has for her community are making sure all kids have access to a world class education, improving air quality in the inner west, increasing and expanding green spaces in our suburbs, and supporting good, local jobs.


Melissa’s vision for Victoria’s future is that it continues to be a state known for progressive policy.


The areas of public policy that she is most passionate about are education, reforming our mental health system and mitigating the effects of climate change

Program Manager, Life Vest

Lead GP, IHealth Group 

Doctor of Medicine, Indigo Health Services

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Dr. Rebecca McGowan

Dr Rebecca McGowan is a highly experienced General Practitioner for over three decades and is an acknowledged Preventative Health Expert. 

She has Specialist training as a General Practitioner, with Post Graduate qualifications in Obstetrics, Gynaecology, and Forensic Medicine.

Since 2015, she has been the Medical Director and Co-Founder at LifeVest, a business dedicated to providing proactive health promotion programs in the workplace and community. Rebecca is passionate about empowering and enabling people to take better control of their lives by helping people to improve their physical and mental health for the long term, aiding in a longer healthspan. 

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CEO, State Library Victoria  

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Paul Duldig

Paul began his career in economic policy and government finance, before two decades in senior executive roles at some of the most respected Universities in Australia, including the Australian National University and the University of Melbourne.


He has led major transformations in organisational culture and performance with a focus on improved outcomes for the community. With a lifelong passion for learning, he is inspired by the role of libraries, galleries and museums in society and understands the importance of engaging diverse communities.


Paul has significant board experience, including the Australian Dance Theatre, Linden New Art and Art Monthly Australasia.


He has a deep personal interest in the arts, music and theatre and his position as CEO of the State Library combines his love of culture in all its forms with his experience in large scale organisational leadership.


CEO, Public Libraries Victoria, Award Winning Author  

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Angela Savage

Angela Savage is an award-winning author and CEO of Public Libraries Victoria. Angela worked in international development for over ten years, based in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. She worked at the Victorian Council of Social Service and headed up the peak body for Victoria’s Neighbourhood Houses. Angela holds a PhD in Creative Writing and was CEO of Writers Victoria before joining PLV. Her latest novel is Mother of Pearl.

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State Library Victoria acknowledges the traditional lands of all the Victorian Aboriginal clans, and their cultural practices and knowledge systems.

We recognise that our collections hold traditional cultural knowledge belonging to Indigenous communities in Victoria and around the country. We support communities to protect the integrity of this information, gathered from their Ancestors in the colonial period.

We pay our respects to their Elders, past and present, who have handed down these systems of practice to each new generation for millennia.

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