Why We Love Kate Byrne

This week, the NLS8 Committee announced our keynote speakers!  We thought we’d write a series of posts about why we asked these speakers to attend NLS8. Today: NLS8 co-convenor Sally Turbitt looks at why Kate Byrne stepping out of a traditional library role (as well as being an ILN director) makes her a great keynote choice.


As an LIS student, I was really interested in finding librarians who worked “outside” of the traditional library sphere. The list of alternative job titles on the I Need A Library Job website was something I looked at often. And when Ruth Kneale spoke at NLS6 in Brisbane about all the other types of libraries and roles that were out there, well, that was when I found my librarian/information professional mojo.

There are great job opportunities for people with LIS training, and I’m one of those people looking for the non-library roles. Lots of us come into this profession with lots of other skills (Amy Walduck springs to mind – have you seen her background – hello DIY career!) and many of us don’t want to be a librarian or information professional because we “like books”.

Kate Byrne moved to London in 2016 to work for Symplectic as Research Platforms Product Manager. Her former roles were at UNSW, working in various areas of a large academic library. Kate’s move out of libraries caught my attention, because I know (through following ILN and Kate online) that she is someone who takes charge of her career and is passionate about community building. Our program team (and I) hope that having Kate at NLS8 will encourage new professionals to explore the world outside of libraries, archives, galleries and museums and recognise how many opportunities there are for us, we just need to take charge of our careers and look.

When we approached Kate, Clare and Alyson from ILN, we knew that the chances of all three of them coming to NLS8 as keynotes was slim. Kate had just moved to London and Alyson moved to Copenhagen in 2016…so imagine our excitement when Kate emailed to say she would be in Australia in June 2017 and yes, she would be joining Clare as a keynote – woohoo! (Now we just need to build a portkey to bring Alyson over to Canberra!)


ILN presented a paper at Information Online 2015 about how they created their network with no money and the challenges they faced. If you’re considering starting something exciting – this is a great read. You can also “watch” the slides from their presentation (see what I did there?!)



You can find Kate @katecbyrne on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *