Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What do scouts, feminists and libraries have in common?

A: They all have a passion for preserving their little corner of history! Which I have found out as a participant of the National Library's Community Heritage Grants workshops, here in Canberra. Albeit an unlikely participant, even an accidental participant - but a grateful one! When our Council got a grant to do a significance assessment on the strength of the execellent application of our local studies librarian; and he left the organisation (to take on the management of another local library - well done!), and I couldn't twist the arm of any other staff members to go to Canberra for the workshop component - well, I just couldn't let it going begging, even though the timing couldn't be worse with the new library opening in 2 weeks - well here I am, and after the first day, I must say I am very pleased to have come. Given my new responsibilities in overseeing the operations of a significant local studies archives and collection, I have had today alone a quantum leap in understanding and appreciation (thanks to the excellent program put together by the National Library). But it's meeting the other grantees that has been so uplifting. Librarians are actually in the minority - only 3 of us - and in comparison to the other participants, we are a bit predictable. How to compare with the passion of the gentleman from the Barossa Festival, who is keen to preserve the 60 year history of the festival? Or the feminist from Adelaide who has an archive of performances and recordings of feminist plays from the 70s and 80s (including early performances by Robyn Archer, who she actually bumped into at the Library today and was thrilled to know they were available!) Or the scout leader from Sydney who wants to do something worthwhile with the hsitoric documents, films and costumes from the Scout movement? Or the lady from Hobart wanting to digitize the national unpublished play script collection? Or the young woman looking after the Tennis Museum? And I shared a taxi with what has to be one of the few actual working paleontologists in Australia from the Dinosaur centre in Winton - absolutely passionate about her growing collection of one of the most impressive collection of dinosaur bones in the world. All very mind boggling, very humbling, and very uplifting.

The opportunities to travel, learn and meet amazing people in the profession I wisely chose when I was 17, continues to delight me. May it continue thus...


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