Introduction: Mary Carroll

Hello Library History Folk and a greeting from across the oceans,

My name is Mary Carroll and I am another new volunteer to the Library History Round table blog. Based in Melbourne, Australia I hope to bring you news of library history from the international arena and provide insights into the activities of fellow library history enthusiasts worldwide, including a small band of enthusiasts in Australia. The international network of libraries makes for a fascinating perspective on library history.  I have already posted some news on the new International News section of the blog so you can see the Calls for Papers and other news from around the world. Take a look.

As way of introduction I am a Course Director (Course meaning ‘degree’ rather than a single subject in the Australian context) and senior lecturer in the School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University’s (CSU) Wagga Wagga campus in central New South Wales. Wagga Wagga is half way between Melbourne and Sydney and sits on the lands of the Wiradjuri people, its name is generally thought to be drawn from the Wiradjuri word for crow.  I am however based most of the time in Melbourne some five hours from my campus office and in another state, Victoria and a very different environment than the beautiful agricultural setting of Wagga Wagga.

Melbourne was a gold boom town reaching its peak in the mid Victorian period and this wealth brought with it some beautiful and historic libraries. This history provides a rich resource for the library historian but of course (!) that is not what I have been researching. As luck would have it in recent years, and when I have a spare minute, I have focused on the story of the United State OWI librarians who came to Melbourne during World War II to set up a library in Collins St., Melbourne and the libraries established for convicts in the early penal settlements of Australia. Both areas are of great interest to me as I continue to look into these very special and influential libraries.

In recent years I have participated in many library history events including the Library History Special Interest Group sessions at IFLA in both Singapore and Lyon, Library History Seminar XIII held at Simmons College Boston, theHistory of librarianship conference held at the École Nationale Supérieure des Sciences de l’Information et des Bibliothèques in France and the Library History Round Table, ALA Annual Conference held in Orlando. I love meeting and talking with fellow library buffs though in recent years work commitments has made this more difficult.  In 2013 myself and fellow educator and historian Dr Sue Reynolds from RMIT University organised a wonderful conference combined with the Australian and New Zealand History of Education Society (ANZHES), the Australian Library History Forum and Mechanics Institute Victoria called Buildings, Books and Blackboards . It was attended by over 200 participants from throughout the world and provided a rich and exciting insight in the common story of libraries and education. In 2019 Sue and I hope to revisit some of this by assisting with the 50th anniversary conference of the Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand (BSANZ)  to be held in Melbourne 28-29 November 2019. See details on the International News page along with some other great events coming up. I hope people will find the International News interesting and useful.

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