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Get to know our new CEO, Vanessa Schernickau

Vanessa Schernickau started in her role as Geelong Regional Libraries' new Chief Executive Officer on Monday 7 June.

Vanessa brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the position, and is no stranger to the organisation, having worked here previously. You can find out more about Vanessa’s background here, but we thought you might like to also learn a little more about who she is as a person and a leader.

You've achieved a lot in your career so far; what brought you back to libraries?

Some time ago, I made a decision that I wanted to work in the public sector; my work really is about adding value, as it’s important to me that there are real community outcomes resulting from the work that I do. Libraries have a special place in my heart as someone who remembers their first library book as well as a frequent visitor as a young parent.  They also have a key role to play, particularly in the COVID-19 recovery period, as essential places for people to reconnect and have access to resources and information that they may not have at home. At their essence, libraries are welcoming places at the heart of our communities and an important part of social and economic activation, particularly during COVID. 

What excites you about your new role?

There is so much that excites me! I’m four weeks in now and I think the most exciting thing is working with our library team who have shown my such a warm welcome and seeing their passion to make a difference for each of our customers. I’m excited to think about how we can provide the best services and programs for our communities.

I am also particularly focussed on innovation and what our library services are going to look like in future; we have new libraries coming for Queenscliff, Drysdale, Armstrong Creek, Torquay and Lara and Colac Otway libraries in Colac and Apollo Bay have just joined us. I can’t wait to explore our outreach opportunities – where else can we go online, outside or other places and spaces? What else can we do? Who else can we inspire, educate or connect to their communities? What other opportunities are there in the cultural, creative and innovation spaces? I apply a place-making and activation lens where I can and know that we can lead some innovative projects whilst still supporting our communities with quality resources and programs.

What do you love about our region?

I’m a Surf Coast resident and I really do love where I live. I am a bushwalker and enjoy having the bush and the sea and all those beautiful natural environments at my fingertips. I also love the great access to culture; the Colac Performing Arts Centre, Geelong Arts Centre, the Geelong Gallery, the National Wool Museum and more! We have gorgeous food and wine in the district and it really is the best of both worlds.

I’m also very thankful to have a great professional network in the Geelong region, and look forward to work with partners old and new to make sure libraries contribute to strengthening our regional diverse communities.

And finally, a very ‘library’ question; what are you currently reading?

Gail Jones – Our Shadows. A brilliant Australian author – highly recommend.

 

Vanessa is getting to all library branches as a part of her busy first weeks, so if you see Vanessa in your local library, please do give her a warm welcome and say hello.

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