The secret's out – Libraries are best for flex!

International Flex Day is held during May each year and I happily assigned myself the task to promote the occasion for State Library of Queensland. This is a topic close to my heart, after many years of study and raising children, being able to work flexibly has enabled me to continue with my career and enjoy a more fulfilling life.

Last year we had lots of fun promoting flexible work with our staff, including a photo-booth, awards for our most successful ‘flexing' team and individual, and promoted Queensland Government Distributed Work Centres. We ran education sessions for our People Leaders (that’s everyone who has at least one direct report), explained the variety of flexible work arrangements and our desire for team discussions to be a key part in considering how arrangements can best work for everyone.

As State Library is open during the day from 9am, evenings and weekends, 7 days per week, we have always had a high percentage of part-time employees to provide operational flexibility and enable the delivery of high-quality services to clients. Our staff are supported in many ways to flex, we can boast that 25% staff work part-time, and 88% are using one or more flexible workplace options.


Photo by Rae Allen on Flickr. Some rights reserved. State Library of Queensland

So, what can we do to mark Flexible Work Day this year?

Faced with this question, the approach this year was obvious. It was time to promote to our staff, and our clients State Library’s exceptional resources and spaces.

I logged a request through Ask Us, a State Library service offering research guidance. My request was for books and articles relating to the topic of flexible work for both men and women, encompassing part-time work, telecommuting or working from home, family friendly workplace cultures and flexible hours.

In just a few days, I received a comprehensive reply from one of our wonderful Library Technicians. They have tagged the 39 items discovered in the State Library One Search portal, under the heading of flexible work making it easy for me, and our clients to access. One Search allows me to further refine my search according to year published, sub-topics and sources. I want to know what’s new to One Search on my topic, and immediately I can see newly added resources including the Harvard Business Review (HBR) Guide to Work-Life and Striving for Balance edited by S. Gayle Baugh and Sherry E. Sullivan — both publications are available for members to access for free online.

If you are working on a project for work, why not check out One Search or submit a request through Ask Us to give you a head start and new ideas?
That’s not all — access free courses and training videos through
State Library membership allows you to access free training programs and other resources through

My search of uncovered a long list of courses and videos relating to flexible work arrangements including — Building a Flexible Career, Working Remotely, and Balancing Work and Life. There are thousands of courses on, on so many topics — there’s even a course on Writing a Compelling Blog Post!

Why work from home when you can work at a library?

I am fortunate to have both a wonderful work environment and home office. In the past I have worked in offices with no windows, or an outlook of another building. When I lived in Sydney’s inner suburbs, my apartment was the size a shoe box and the neighbours noisy, so not an ideal remote working location.

There is an alternative way to work remotely, and that is to find yourself a great spot within State Library , or at one of the many public libraries across Queensland. Recently I’ve visited the new public libraries at Chermside and North Lakes — they are filled with endless resources (on the shelves and online), helpful staff, and lots of great spaces for everyone, especially those who want to get out of their office/home. You can book a meeting room at State Library and at many of the public libraries. Most have a café close by and, not to forget, free Wi-Fi.

Another amazing space at State Library is the Business Studio, a useful resource to support entrepreneurs and start-ups to make their innovative business ideas a reality. Business Studio members can use the space as an office away from home and network with like-minded people.

Finally, I need a photo for my blog. I’ll head over to Flickr where State Library has uploaded more than 150,000 historical and contemporary images.

Enjoy flexing, however or wherever you work!

Vanessa McCormack
Lead Human Resources
State Library of Queensland
2014 recipient of the QUT Women in Leadership Excellence Scholarship


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