Does stepping out of our familiar surroundings facilitate opening our minds to new ways of thinking? For me this is one of the appeals of the annual New Norcia Library Lecture, combined with networking with industry professionals and great food and wine.
Our carpool, while admiring the lush countryside and wildflowers, conducted a debrief on the highlights of the day, which included:
- Dr Bob Pymm’s insightful presentation on the important social and political history which may be captured on home movies. Often undervalued, they are a particularly rich resource for local studies collections. Some tips:
- Where possible have the creator inform the cataloguing (where, what, who, how, why);
- Purchase YouTube videos significant to your collection from creator (often via chat box below clip) as they can disappear at any time.
- Check out Home Movie Day on 21/10/2017.
- Dr Joanna Sassoon’s presentation about the ‘life’ of the archive of photographer EL Mitchell’s travels across Australia, challenged us to breakdown the compartmentalised thinking of libraries/archives/records. Far from being objects or items, photographs were demonstrated to be most meaningful when combined with their context (albums and the placement in them, the value placed on packaging, to keep or destroy) and the contribution which collecting institutions make to maintaining their full meaning (choices due to policy or political and social standards, choices to retain archives as opposed to collections which may disperse and dilute meaning).
- The significance of dedicated volunteers in building and maintaining a local history collection and how synergy could be found in collaboration with library services, as described by Laurel Tate and Karen Dennison, Shire of Capel
- Toni Young and Christina Albillos, from the State Library of WA, reminded us of the simple steps we could all take, personally and professionally, to conserve our treasures, from displaying fragile items with low-UV lights, to boxing items to maintain a relatively stable environment, to adding photographs to the outside of boxes to minimise handling, and not placing items of different materials together.
- Ginetta Evans, related the 30 year gestation of the Katherine Susannah Prichard Library, Boya and the importance of a library’s name to a sense of community ownership.
Among the approximately 80 participants, were 12 students, indicating not only the popularity of the Library Lecture format and venue, but the enthusiasm of emerging library and information professionals in WA. While our minds were too exhausted to calculate the change required at the roadside fruit stall, I will certainly be booking an annual leave day to attend next year.
Photo credit: Chris Fithall