International Scene

Podcasts and blogs to get you thinking

A few podcasts and blogs to ease you in to the history of libraries in Australia and to explore libraries in that part of the world a little further.

Archives Fever

Libraries Research Group blog

A reflection of the origins of Australian public libraries

Australian public libraries by design

SICS Radio

“The Bodleian Libraries Unlocked”
Even though Britain is back in lockdown, the Bodleian Library in historic Oxford is still finding ways to inspire others and share knowledge through “The Bodleian Libraries Unlocked.” For every day of Britian’s national lockdown, the library will post creative, unique, and fun content relating to the library and its collection.
Follow #BodUnlocked on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to explore what the Bodleian has to offer.

Always controversial-New Zealand National library to deaccession 600000 ‘old’ non New Zealand books.

Interesting new book on Merton College library, Oxford, UK
An interesting history of Europes’s oldest academic library- Merton College Library, Oxford established in the 13th century.

The Bibliographic Society of Australia and New Zealand will be hosting its annual conference in late November and Early December 2020. Due to the current pandemic alert in Australia this conference will be held virtually and attendance virtually will be FREE! More details can be found here

Shadow signs and remnants:Hygenic Libraries

A small collection of links to some posts on the remnants of some early 20th century hygenic libraries.

Girdwood’s Hygenic library

Deakin University’s Special collections

Sam Merrifield Library, Community Heritage Collection

Choose your author as you would choose your friend’

Print History

If you have an interest in international print history here are two great resources to keep you busy. From the Rarebookdetetctive and a great infographic on The Largest Print Centres Through Time (1450-1650)

Renovating a historic library for the 21st century

The State Library of Victoria, Australia has just undergone a huge renovation to its 1850’s building. See what you think.

History of Libraries in Canada Project Call for papers

A History of Libraries in Canada. Papers and essays in English or French on any and all aspects of library history in Canada and in its predecessors with the hope of a useful reference tool for future studies in this field and with a view to putting out a book on the subject in 2020.Please send a summary of what you wish to work on, or have already completed, and the length and some biographical information about yourself.It can be on such subject areas as Public Libraries, Provincial Libraries Government and Legislative, Libraries during times of crisis or war, travelling libraries, floating libraries, Libraries that burned down, Libraries as Culture centers, etc. .Contact:Ross Gordon

Winners of the CILIP Library History Essay Award have just been announced. The CILIP Library and Information History Group’s Library History Essay Award is an annual prize for the best essay on library history published in, or pertaining to, the British Isles.


Sophie Defrance, ‘“He Was Always Fond of Books”: John Couch Adams’s Genesis as an Academic Collector’, in A. Bautz and J. Gregory (eds), Libraries, Books, and Collectors of Texts, 1600-1900 (Routledge, 2018), ch. 7, pp. 119–36.

Highly Commended

Karen Attar, ‘Folios in Context: Collecting Shakespeare at the University of London’, The Library, 7th series, vol. 19, no. 1 (March 2018), pp. 39–62.

Programme and registration for the 2019 Melbourne Conference Traditions & Innovations:Readers,Books and Libraries are now available.

Historic Libraries Forum, UK

Some of you may be interested in the activities of the Historic Libraries Forum found at

In Sunny Queensland

Public libraries in Australia often were not established until the 1950s with many town reliant on their Mechanics’ Institutes and Schools’ of Arts. This link tells the story of one such service in the Gold Coast, Queensland. Some great pictures and if you know how to say Coolangatta the story sounds even better!

Rare book Week concludes in Melbourne, Australia

The Melbourne Rare Book Week is an annual event which brings together bibliophiles, librarians, book collectors and those who love beautiful things. It includes a Rare Book Fair and a serous of activities, lectures and professional development activities. If you are curious have a look what was on offer this year in the programme section. Maybe it will wet your appetite for the future.

The Australian Common Reader and the Exercise Book Archive

Two great resources online for those interested in the history of reading and education. The Exercise Book Archive is a participatory archive of old exercise books from all over the world. Anyone can contribute through the donation of old text books or volunteering to translate and transcribe the content of the exercise books.

The Australian Common Reader is a database of the historic circulating records of five Mechanics’ Institute Libraries in small towns in Australia. If you don’t know much about these Institutes in Australia (a very different story to that in other countries) there are some great pictures here . The Australian Common Reader provides an insight into the reading culture of the areas covered by the database through these historic circulation records. You can explore by occupation, gender, book title, author or borrower name.

Call for Papers
The Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand (BSANZ) in collaboration with the Australian Library History Forum (ALHF) is calling for papers to be presented at their upcoming conference Tradition and Innovation: Readers, Books and Libraries . The conference will be held in the City of Melbourne, Australia. The dates for the conference are 28-29th November 2019 leading into the the Australian summer–an ideal way to end a year and escape to the warmth. Melbourne is the second largest city in Australia, a UNESCO City of Literature and is home to the State Library of Victoria, founded in 1853 as one of the world’s first free public libraries.

The conference events will occur at the University of Melbourne, an institution founded by one of the driving forces behind the establishments of the State Library of Victoria, Sir Redmond Barry and at the Melbourne Museum.  Details of the Call for Papers can be found at this address and proposals are due the 31st May 2019.

For those unfamiliar with the Australian Library History Forum some papers from a few of the previous forums can be found in the links below.
Libraries for the People: the 11th Australian Library History Forum at the State Library of NSW. and12th Australian Library History Forum held at the State Library of Queensland

International Library History Call for Papers

IFLA Library History:
The IFLA Library History group is to partner with the Section on Genealogy and Local History (Genloc) at the upcoming IFLA .  Theme: “Local History Collections, Genealogy, and Oral History as Critical Information Services in Libraries”. The topics on offer are quite varied and include “history as told by and to librarians” and “library and cultural institutions as part of a community’s history”. You can find the CFPs here: The deadline for abstracts submissions if March 31, 2019

CILIP Special Interest Group/Library & Information History Group: CILIP LIHG Conference 2019 Saturday 22nd June at The John Rylands Library, Manchester UK.
Call for Papers: Finding the women in library & information history. Call for 20 minute papers that address the gaps in the historical narrative and Celebrate women’s contribution to the professions. Topics could include; Female library founders and benefactors, the characterisation of female information professionals through time, female book collectors, learning networks, female library users, pioneering female librarians and any other aspect of library and information history relating to women. Please submit a 300 word proposal and a short biographical paragraph to by Friday the 22nd March.

In honor of International Women’s Day 2019

March 8th is International Women’s day. Maggie Patton (manager Research and Discovery) from the State Library of New South Wales, Australia has taken this opportunity to celebrate the lives of four outstanding women who helped shaped the SLNSW and librarianship in Australia. These women were Nita Kibble, Jean Arnot, Phyliss Manders-Jones and the amazing Ida Leeson. To read a little more about these women check out Ms Patton’s post Women of the Library or follow this link

Latest Issue of IFLA Journal Volume 45 (March 2019) No. 1

For those interested in the the history of libraries internationally the latest Special Issue of the IFLA Journal (March 2019) with the theme Libraries in Times of Crisis edited by Steve Witt and Kerry Smith provides an opportunity to travel across the globe. The focus of this special issue is on exploring the role libraries have had in times of social and political upheaval in countries as diverse as the United States, the Philippines, Croatia, the West Indies and Romania.

The Library and Information History Group (UK) Library History Essay Award

Awarded as an annual prize for the best essay on library history either published in or pertaining to the British Isles the Library and Information History Group’s (UK) Library History Essay Award is currently open for nominations. Nominations close on the 30th June 2019. Details can be found at

The Library and Information History Group (UK) (CILIP) Calendar of events

For those of you who may intend travelling to the UK it may be worth while checking out the CILIP Calendar of events for the University of London seminar series on the History of Libraries. You will find the calendar here Upcoming events include;

Tuesday 7 May at 5.30 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre of the Warburg Institute, Woburn Square, London, WC1H 0AB. Julian Pooley (Surrey Heritage) will speak on: `“Working tools almost daily in demand”: The Libraries of John Nichols and His Family’.T

The final talk of the current session will take place on Tuesday 4 June when Dr. Jean-Pascal Pouzet will speak about the manuscripts in the library of Richard Holdsworth (1590-1649). This meeting will be held at Lambeth Palace Library, London SE1 7JU. All are welcome, but for security purposes those wishing to attend must send their names in advance to no later than Friday 31 May.

Latest copy of the Historic Libraries Forum Newsletter now available online

The Spring Edition of the Historic Libraries Forum (UK) Bulletin is now available online at . Some things of interest are: the Répertoire International des Sources Musicales/International Inventory of Musical Sources , an international project that aims to describe and document historical musical sources worldwide; the CALCA: CATHEDRAL ARCHIVES, LIBRARIES AND COLLECTIONS ASSOCIATION Triennial Conference, Salisbury Cathedral, 12-14 June 2019; the INDEPENDENT LIBRARIES ASSOCIATION annual conference and UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON symposium on ‘Seventeenth-century libraries: problems and perspectives’

Student bursaries for BSANZ/ALHF 2019 Conference

BSANZ/ALHF encourages the participation of postgraduate students in their conferences through student bursaries. Please indicate your interest when submitting your proposal, and include a brief budget outlining your anticipated travel costs. Applications are approved at the discretion of the BSANZ/ALHF Conference Committee, and must adhere to the following guidelines. All amounts are in Australian dollars.

1. The student must be a financial member of BSANZ at the time of the conference for which the assistance is sought.

2. Proof of enrolment status must be included with your application, e.g. a letter from your supervisor.

3. An amount of not more than AUD 2,000 is requested.

4. The student must present a full or work-in-progress paper at the conference, and submit a paper for peer-review and possible publication to BSANZ’s journal Script and Print.

Conference Website and membership information