City to honour Humble librarian in annual address

29 May 2019

An annual lecture will be launched by Newcastle Libraries this week to remember the life of a devoted librarian and public servant who recently lost her battle with cancer.

The inaugural Humble Lecture, named in honour of late Newcastle librarian Jennie Humble, will focus on digital innovation and other Smart City topics at City Hall on Friday from 2pm to 4pm.

Making Sci-Fi Our Reality will be the theme of the inaugural lecture delivered by keynote speaker Shara Evans, is a globally acknowledged keynote speaker and widely regarded as one of the world's Top Female Futurists on emerging technologies, cyber security and digital privacy.

Left: Shara Evans

With a background in engineering, Shara is well known for helping organisations anticipate the impacts of technology on customers, the community and society.

Members of Newcastle’s Smart City team will also offer updates on what’s happening within the ambitious program to modernise the city.

City Manager of Libraries and Learning Suzie Gately said the session would stimulate and entertain people in the same way Jennie’s work ethic and warm personality did.

“Jennie was a massive science fiction reader who came to her dream career of librarian at Newcastle Libraries in the Digital Services team,” Gately said. “She shaped our libraries’ digital engagement with our loyal membership and wider community via our website, social media channels and digital library service design.

“This is a great opportunity to remember her and use her sudden passing to positively promote the wonderful work we’re undertaking in digital innovation in order to ensure that we meet the digital inclusion objectives of the library service alongside our Smart City objectives.

“Aged just 40, Jennie left a massive hole in our hearts when she died late last year, and this is a fantastic way to pay tribute to the work she did."

Ms Gately said the City was already exploring themes for future Humble Lectures that tie in closely with the City’s recently adopted four-year Library Strategy.

“As a way of furthering Jennie’s good work and our own objectives outlined in the 2019-2023 Library Strategy, we will aim to expand on tomorrow’s lecture by exploring future themes such as how to harness big data to improve people’s lives, and explore the role that libraries can play in navigating enormous changes in technology,” she said.

Bookings are essential for the free lecture, which will become an annual event on the City’s calendar alongside National Library and Information Week.

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