How do you wrap up something that’s been in the works for the last 18-24 months? You put a focus on it! As the Tours Captain my main highlight of the weekend is of course the Tours I’ve spent so much of my time researching, mapping, planning and communicating to make possible. So the focus of this particular blog post will be on a wrap up of my experiences on the Tours while it’s all fresh. In due course I hope to share more of my NLS8 experiences, so stay tuned! I personally was on both of the Bus Tours and sitting on the bus between locations I did get a moment to sit back and let it all sink in and it felt amazing.
The morning started off with a trip to the AIATSIS Library. It brought me great pleasure to be able to include AIATSIS Library in our AM Tour as I strongly believe that more GLAMs and Australians need to be aware of the services they offer and the importance of respectfully collecting and maintaining Indigenous resources. As part of AIATSIS’s services they offer family history services to Indigenous peoples to help them to access the institutional resources available that connect them to their family’s history particularly in relation to mission/reserve life.
The National Film and Sound Archive was our next stop and it has a rich history including its current building. The building was originally designed to be be the entrance to a Zoo but due to the Great Depression funding ran out and the rest of the Zoo was never completed. This history is evident in its Art Deco style and animal motifs one of which is featured in the centre of the ceiling. Busts of famous people line the walls of the entry and the now Green Room of the Theatre used to be the city morgue. The NFSA itself collects a range of things including various formats of audio/visual recordings as well as the devices needed to play them. For more history on the building head to ABC Radio’s article – “National Film and Sound Archive one of Australia’s ‘most haunted buildings'” and NFSA Venue History.
The final stop on the AM Bus Tour was to the Civic branch of the ACT Libraries. Civic Library is unique in the fact that it is the only branch in the system that isn’t a suburban branch but instead its clients are mostly city workers rather than those who live near the branch as is the case with the other branches. Due to this it has a number of quirks such as a smaller children’s section and the inclusion of the Access Canberra Drivers Licence Service Centre.
After a quick lunch break at NLA it was off to an afternoon of more tours! First stop, N H (Doc) Fisher GeoScience Library!
This was my personal favourite of all the libraries we visited as I’m easily bought by well designed libraries, indoor greenery, dinosaurs and historical items like the field notes that were shown to us on our visit. The library’s dinosaur and greenery theme is throughout the entire library with the garden in the centre that really opens up the space. You’ll see what I mean if you check out all the photos in the Storify! I enjoyed hearing the story of Geologist Dr Fisher having to be restrained from running into a burning building to save valuable texts now which only 42 boxes of books and papers still exist. It was definitely a highlight of my trip to Canberra.
Stop two of the afternoon was Telopea Park School, a public bilingual school that speaks both English and French as well as a number of LOTE languages as part of their studies. It is a P-12 school which is quite different from most schools I’ve experienced particularly for a public school as it is not a common thing in Queensland. What I enjoyed most about visiting the school was seeing the mix of languages in the collection and how they had divided up the space. As a Co-Founder of @PictureBookBC it gave me quite a thrill to see the displays of picture books in multiple languages. They have a separate junior and senior school library that is separated by a glass wall which helps to provide the different spaces whilst allowing for that sense of open space. As part of the senior library they have a step theatre, radio recording studio and several classroom like areas for group work.
ANU’s Chifley Library was the last location on the Tour and provided the perfect way to wrap up a day of tours. Chifley Library is part of 5 on campus libraries and provides services for the social sciences and humanities subject areas. It has social, quiet and silent zones as well as a room to meet accessibility needs of its students. This allows students to find the spaces they need within the library to meet both social and study needs.
As much as I wish I could have been in two places at once in the morning I couldn’t, save meeting The Doctor and using his Tardis, so the Walking Tour was lead by the amazing Rob Thomson. From the photos, videos and feedback I received it sounded like delegates had a great time exploring the National Library of Australia, National Archives of Australia and High Court Library. Even though I wasn’t there the videos on Twitter helped me to learn what those cool robots in the basement of NLA were!
As sad as I am to see the day I spent so long planning come and go it was an absolute pleasure to see it become a reality and how much the delegates enjoyed the experience. Thank you to all the institutions and staff that welcomed us so wholeheartedly to visit their institutions, you made our day! It was lovely to meet the hard working GLAM staff at these institutions whom I’d been emailing and talking to and to see their passion first hand. I’d also like to thank all the delegates who came along on the Tour particularly those who engaged with the staff and tweeted about their experience, it was a pleasure meeting you all!