Category Archives: Libraries

Library of the Month

At the end of the National Year of Reading, let’s celebrate all of the libraries that participated in NYR.  From creating lovely reading cafés to organising non-stop reading relays, librarians gave their readers opportunities to truly enjoy their books. Major programmes included adult literacy projects, The Reading Hour and Our Story (designed to raise awareness of Australian fiction.)

Public libraries were the major participants in NYR, but a handful of university libraries joined in as well. Literacy is seen as a public and school library issue rather than an academic one, but we are all engaged in the ‘business’ of promoting the benefits and the joys of reading.

This is one of the issues that I will talk about at the New Librarians’ Symposium early next year, when I give a session on the role of the embedded academic librarian. Libraries are not flourishing in a rapidly-changing, Google-ized world. We need to be very sure of the core values of our profession as we face the 21st century and all the changes that this will bring.

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Library of the Month (Hue University)

Many thanks to my colleague, Helen, who has been working in Vietnam this month:

Hue is a lovely small city in central Vietnam, on the banks of the Perfume River. It was the imperial city during the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945) and is famous for the gorgeous Hue style food that emanated from that period.

Hue also has a stong history of providing higher education and today the Hue University has a wonderful central library known as the LRC (Learning Resource Center). It was built in 2001 with funding from Atlantic Philanthropies, who also built 3 other LRCs in Vietnam. The Hue LRC is a light and airy four storey building with plenty of work desks and PCs, and group study and audiovisual facilities. They have a range of print and electronic resources and of particular note are the excellent training, seminar and conference rooms. But the best thing about this LRC are the librarians. While I was working there recently I found them highly skilled, very professional and really motivated to create the best services possible for their staff and students.

See their website here:

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One Card Network ( Library of the Month)

This month my local public library joins the South Australian One Card Network. It’s an argument based on numbers:  130 public libraries and millions of books and DVDs, accessible through one library card. If you can bear the unbelievably irritating soundtrack, you can watch the short promotional video here.

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The 24 Hour Library

The Library of the Month for August is a future library : Sydney is planning Australia’s first 24 hour public library.  Academic libraries have often catered for late-night, exam-crazed students; the concept of a public library being open all hours is a new one.

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The Censor’s Library (Book Review)

How can an entire library disappear?  This is one of the questions addressed in literary historian Nicole Moore’s book, and the answer is an unsettling one. It was an open secret that ‘Australian censors kept a reference library of banned books’ from the 1920s to the late 1980s, but after this period the collection disappeared. Moore found a reference to it in an anti-censorship newspaper article in 1971, but then ‘across  more than thirty years I couldn’t trace another encounter with the collection’ (xi). In 2005, the Censor’s library – all 793 boxes and 12,000 titles of it – was rediscovered in the basement of a branch of the National Archives in western Sydney. It had been carefully stored, but its whereabouts had not been recorded  -it had become  an unnamed deposit in an uncatalogued file belonging to the Customs department.

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The Light in Winter (Library of the Month)

Warmest congratulations to Melbourne’s libraries, bookshops and readers for making winter itself a reason for celebrating the National Year of Reading.  With the tag line ‘reading enlightens us’, the Light in Winter arts program brought the delights and benefits of books and reading right into the city centre.

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British Library 19th Century Collection

This wonderful collection of 19th century books is one of my favourite apps. What’s not to love?  The British Library is one of the world’s great libraries, and they’ve digitized thousands of books and made them available ‘online’ for free. At the touch of a button and the tap of a finger, a reader can have the book that they want to read up on the screen –  in its entirety (no ‘selected pages only’  here) and as a facsimile (no bland, boring eBook pages that make every book look the same.) Continue reading

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