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
  • Chair, National and State Libraries Australasia (NSLA)
  • Director, Australian Digital Alliance
  • Chair, Australian Libraries Copyright Committee
  • Associate, IFLA International Leadership Program 
  • Member of Strategic Library Partnership Agreement Steering Committee
  • Member, Curtin University, BA Media & Information Advisory Board
  • Member, Book Industry Collaborative Council
  • Member, Lending Rights Expert Reference Group
  • Member, eSmart Libraries Reference Group
  • Member, Australia Libraries and Information Association (ALIA) e-book Working Group
  • Member, State Library of Western Australia Foundation Fundraising Committee
  • Member, INELI-Oceania Steering Committee
  • Member, ALIA Excellence Awards Panel
  • Member, F A Sharr Medal Award Panel 
  • Chair, 2012 National Year of Reading Founding Partners
  • President of ALIA 2011 – 2012

A/Director, Collection Services
Ms Barb Patison

A/Director, Community Learning and Discovery
Ms Elizabeth Spencer

Elizabeth commenced work at the State Library in 2014 on a secondment from the Department of Culture and the Arts (DCA). 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 A/Director Community Learning and Discovery 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: 25 May 2017