March 17, 2018


Going Global

Kate Byrne, Alyson Dalby, Clare McKenzie

Kate Byrne


Manager of Research Reporting, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia


MA, Information and Knowledge Management, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia, 2013


@katecbyrne (Twitter);

Alyson Dalby


Team Manager in Data Readiness for Regulatory Affairs, Leo Pharma, Copenhagen, Denmark


Graduate Diploma of Library and Information Management, Curtin University, Australia, 2003; MBA, University of New England, Australia, 2010


@alysondalby (Twitter);

Clare McKenzie


Manager of Scholarly Content. University of Wollongong Library, New South Wales, Australia


Master of Information Studies, Charles Sturt University, Australia, 2014


@ccmcknz (Twitter);


International Librarians Network (ILN)

Photos by Jane Eliasson

As technology advances, the world becomes a smaller place — and hopefully a less mysterious one.

That’s the idea behind the International Librarians Network, a not-for-profit online, free peer mentoring program. The idea is to help librarians develop international networks.

The ILN launched in 2013 at the University of New South Wales Library in Sydney, Australia, where co-founders and LJ Movers & Shakers Kate Byrne (MA, Information and Knowledge Management, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia); Alyson Dalby (Graduate Diploma of Library and Information Management, Curtin University, Australia); and Clare McKenzie (Master of Information Studies, Charles Sturt University, Australia) were colleagues.

“Our journey with ILN over the last three years has been a remarkable experience,” the trio wrote recently on their blog. They were inspired to create ILN after Byrne returned from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Congress in Helsinki.

“We have watched the program grow from a tiny idea to a pilot to a global program that now has offered peer-mentoring to over 4,500 participants,” they wrote.

That’s a lot of mentoring, and with more than 120 countries represented, it’s also strong proof of the power of innovation and inspiration to cross borders. Simply put, at its core, the ILN believes that networking beyond one’s home country can make librarians better at what they do.

It works like this: ILN participants are matched with a colleague outside their country, based on the information they provide. For a fixed amount of time (four months), the partnerships are supported by twice-monthly contact and discussion points led by the ILN. Although the supported partnerships last only four months, the founders envision that participants develop a widening network of ongoing, independent professional relationships.

The real proof in the validity of an idea is in how it changes lives. The ILN has done just that. “The ILN has been an amazing experience for me,” writes Molly Brown, the content officer for ILN, and user experience and outreach librarian at duPont-Ball Library at Stetson University. “Not only do I have the opportunity to interact with many incredible people from around the world, but being a part of this organization has continued to fuel my passion for librarianship, both at home and abroad.”

The ILN founders have said that building the organization from the ground up has made them challenge themselves, even redefine what they thought was possible. “In return, it has gifted us the most incredible network of talented professionals from all around the world.”

Only Byrne is currently still at the UNSW Library, as manager of research reporting. The other two have networked themselves to other positions: McKenzie is now manager of scholarly content at the University of Wollongong Library, Australia, and Dalby, ILN director of business operations, is team manager in data readiness for regulatory affairs at LEO Pharma, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

“Librarianship as a profession is truly remarkable for the generosity with which we share our knowledge with each other,” the trio wrote. “This core principle is the true reason for our success—we built the platform but [librarians around the world] gave it form.” 

Sage PublishingSponsored by SAGE Publishing


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