Daring to Share
This is the story of two very different women and a library who dared to share. One is a proud Yamatji woman whose great-grandfather was a cameleer who had to beg for permission to marry her grandmother, an Aboriginal woman. The other woman’s ancestors were colonialists who founded the settlement of Melbourne in 1835. The library is the State Library of Western Australia.
This is the story of our journey to share truths with the wider community. Truth sharing is about relationships. It’s about the courage to make mistakes. Being comfortable with the prism through which you see the world. Listening and appreciating that everyone’s journey is different. It’s about being curious, challenging your beliefs, and agreeing to disagree. Honesty, laughter, and coming from a good place. Having the courage to test boundaries. Holding your breath and hoping. It’s about respect and admiration. It’s about putting yourself in other people’s shoes. Truth sharing is understanding that we have a shared history and that there has always been goodness, hope, friendship, and love. It’s about celebrating resilience and determination to inspire generations. It’s about having a conversation, asking awkward questions, and being vulnerable. It’s tears. A decade after Storylines paved the way for sharing its Aboriginal collections, the State Library of Western Australia has successfully taken the next step to amplify Aboriginal voices on social media.
Drawing confidence from two very different women, the library is sharing the voices of Aboriginal people via oral histories and private archives to give context to photographic collections. Using the power of storytelling with cultural sensitivity, the State Library of Western Australia is sharing truths. Empowering our audience with a greater understanding of our shared history. Connecting communities by providing a safe, inclusive, and responsive online platform to share memories and experiences. Identifying the names of Aboriginal people in our collections so that they can be acknowledged and found.
This is the true story of a library and two very different women’s personal journey towards healing and discovery.
Manager Aboriginal Engagement, State Library of Western Australia
Shahna is the Manager of Aboriginal Engagement at the State Library of Western Australia. Previously, she was the Senior Advisor in the Cultural Learning Unit for the Department of Communities and the Community Development Officer for the City of Perth. Shahna is an experienced speaker and educator in matters relating to cultural awareness and reconciliation.
Community Awareness Coordinator, State Library of Western Australia
Libby is a Community Awareness Coordinator at the State Library of Western Australia. Responsible for social media, she has written over 1,500 stories based on the State Library’s collections. Libby is also an experienced presenter and has spoken on ABC radio and to large audiences on communications and marketing.