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State Library Victoria, CEO Kate Torney to depart

Media release

Monday 02 August 2021


The President of the Library Board of Victoria, Christine Christian AO today announced that CEO, Kate Torney OAM will leave the Library in September to take up the role of CEO of the Peter MacCallum Foundation.

Ms Christian said Ms Torney has been an enormous asset to the Library since her appointment in 2015.

“During her six-year tenure as CEO, Kate oversaw the Library’s $88.1 million Vision 2020 redevelopment, which transformed its spaces and services to become a true library of the future.

“This included raising $27.7 million in philanthropic support for the project, which enabled the creation of StartSpace for early-stage entrepreneurs, a reimagined Pauline Gandel Children’s Quarter and the magnificent refurbishment of the historic Ian Potter Queen’s Hall,” said Ms Christian.

Ms Christian also paid tribute to Kate’s leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We all know how difficult life has been for our arts and cultural institutions these past 18 months. Kate has done an outstanding job of rapidly responding to the changing needs of our community and ensuring that the Library continues to play a vital role for Victorians, and indeed, the country,” added Ms Christian.

Minister for Creative Industries, The Hon. Danny Pearson MP commended Ms Torney for leading the Library through a once in-a-generation transformation.

“The Vision 2020 redevelopment would not have been possible without Kate’s leadership, advocacy and passion. The five-year project opened up more of the Library to the public and created a whole new range of opportunities, programs and services for Victorians of all ages.

“Thanks to Kate, our 165-year-old State Library is more relevant and connected to Victorians than ever. During the pandemic, she led her team to quickly adapt its services, delivering 150 digital programs in just over a year, attracting more than 1.7 million online visits.

“I thank Kate for her incredible contribution and wish her all the best for the next chapter of her career,” said Minister Pearson.

Speaking about her departure, Ms Torney said she felt deeply grateful for her time at the Library.

“It has been a huge privilege to lead such a talented and committed team and I am enormously proud of the quality of services the Library delivers to the public, onsite and online.

“I have cherished being part of a thriving library sector that contributes so much, in so many different ways – spanning education, literacy, economic development, creativity and wellbeing – and to contribute to Victoria's vibrant creative industries, which will play such a vital role in COVID-19-recovery,” said Ms Torney.

A global search is now underway for a new CEO. The Library’s Director Enablers, Sarah Slade will act as interim CEO.

“The Board and I look forward to the new and exciting ways in which the Library will continue to play a central role in Australia’s vibrant social, cultural and economic life. Libraries have a major impact on the community by creating equal opportunities and access to lifelong learning, education, research and innovation for all,’ said Ms Christian.