09 March 2011

Recent Publication: 'Collections, Characters & Communities'

Collections, Characters & Communities: The shaping of libraries in Australia and New Zealand (Melbourne, 2010) reproduces papers from the Ninth Australian Library History Conference, held at Swinburne University of Technology in 2009, and the State Library of Victoria's 2009 Foxcroft Lecture 'Carnegie Down Under: A Century of the Dunedin Public Library' delivered by Mary Ronnie.

From the back cover:

'[This work] brings to twenty-first-century readers a kaleidoscope of the rich and varied library world of Australia and New Zealand in the 1800s and 1900s. It is a story of public and private endeavours, of co-operation and inter-state rivalry, of dominant, not to say controlling personalities, and of the reach of books into the outback as well as into the working-class suburbs of cities. There is a North American dimension in Carnegie's support for the Dunedin Public Library and in his Corporation's critical and often unflattering view of Australian universities in the 1930s. Even South America makes an appearance through the library set up in the Australian utopian colony at Cosme in Paraguay. Otherwise it is a matter of the dense network of schools of arts, athenaeums and mechanics' or literary institutes of commercial lending collections before public libraries came into their own in the second half of the twentieth century. Librarians' training and collaboration, under the watchful eyes of such outsize figures as Redmond Barry and John Metcalfe, are at one end of a spectrum that also encompasses the needs of people in the Queensland bush. Bringing print matter to all Australians and New Zealanders was manifestly never a straightforward process'.

The twelve papers are as follows:

'The Origins of Inter-Library Loans in Australia in Relation to Special Libraries' (Donald Keast, Edmund Balnaves, Judy Czuchnowski, John Balnaves)

'The Australian Law Librarians' Association' (Fiona Brown)

'Government Promotion of Public Libraries in New Zealand, 1869-1935' (David Verran)

'John's Gospel: Metcalfe and the Writing of Australian Library History' (David J. Jones)

'War between the States Averted: How the NSW Free Library Movement's Territorial Ambitions Came to Little' (Carmel Maguire)

'"Not Yet Ready": Australian University Libraries and Carnegie Corporation Philanthropy, 1935-1945' (Michael J. Birkner)

'The Impact of Overseas Agencies on the Development of Education for Australian Library Workers' (Mary Carroll)

'"To Elevate the Tone of Moral and Intellectual Attainment": The Braidwood Literary Institute and its Subscribers, 1858-1862' (Andrew Sergeant)

'"A Little Bit of Love for Me and a Murder for My Old Man": The Queensland Bush Book Club' (Robin Wagner)

'"Our Excellent Little Library": An Account of the Cosme Library (Mark Cryle)

'Melbourne's Circulating Libraries 1857-1974: Their Demography and Geography Revisited' (Peter Pereyra)

'Character in Conflict at the Library of the Supreme Court of Victoria: Redmond Barry and Robert Pohlman' (Sue Reynolds)

Collections, Characters & Communities was edited by Brian McMullin and published by Australian Scholarly Publishing. It includes a preface by Wallace Kirsop and an introduction by Donald Barker. Interested parties may ordered copies from the ASP website.

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