Sydney Libraries 1 – SLNSW

I’m here in Sydney for ALIA2012. The conference starts tomorrow, but I’m here a day early for a pre-conference tour of Sydney’s North. Having a morning to kill before that tour I walked down to the State Library of NSW to say hello to Trim and have an incognito look around.

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Highlight for me at SLNSW was finding this fabulous collections statement (next to the very big Footpath Philosphers book):

Library collections provide a fundamental record of a country’s history and society. The State Library collects the biggest and the smallest, the academic and the popular, works of greatness and works of everyday Australians. These essentially democratic collections are vital for building an understanding of the history and culture of this nation.

I wish I’d written that! It encapsulates so beautifully what heritage collecting is about.

On a more pragmatic level I was interested to see that you have to pay for a locker ($2 for four hours), and, one bank of lockers offers charging facilities for laptops and phones.

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Had a look at the lovely Wedgwood exhibition (highlighting Australian connections), and the astonishing Shakespeare Room – thankyou Marilyn for sharing your knowledge. Peered into the wonderful traditional reading room of the Mitchell Library (evoking nostalgia for SLWA’s old Hackett Hall!). Passageways between old and new buildings are enlivened by displays of treasures from the collections.

Meanwhile I’m using the library as a “third space” to write this blog post, amongst the newspaper readers, internet users and sundry others (there are several spaces to do this, the verandah (more for individuals and small groups) and the glasshouse learning space (for collaborative work)).

Now for the libraries of Sydney’s North!

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