Posted by: bluesyemre | January 11, 2017

A #library without #librarians is a just a shed full of #books

Stitched Panorama

The National Gallery of Australia: its library is now open only four days a week

For some years we have been researching the how, why and wherefore of exhibitions of Australian art. We have tracked down retired curators and art museum directors, recording their memories before they fade.

We have crossed the country to see exhibitions. But most of the time we have been buried in archives and libraries. While large public libraries are excellent for general research, those small specialist libraries attached to state and national art museums are our essential tools of trade.

With the exception of the Edmund and Joanna Capon Research Library at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, these libraries are by appointment only. All the meticulously researched exhibitions of Australian and international art depend on their museum libraries – they track down works of art and tease out ideas from distant publications.

These libraries are our treasure trove. The Art Gallery of New South Wales press cuttings book goes back to the 1890s. There are international art journals dating from the 1890s, invitations to every imaginable exhibition, annual reports from the most unlikely places – as well as transcripts of scandalous court cases.

Most art museum libraries hold material associated with their own collections and exhibitions. Two institutions, however, have made their libraries international research hubs. At the Art Gallery of New South Wales, a succession of librarians have collected archives from Australian artists, curators and institutional records. The renamed National Art Archive is central to the proposed Sydney Modern Project.

For many years its secret weapon has been the head librarian, Steven Miller, the author of scholarly books and erudite blog posts while the visual resources librarian, Eric Riddler, has an uncanny ability to track down obscure archival photographs and identify the protagonists.

Edmund and Joanna Capon Research Library

National Art Archive

Sydney Modern Project

Queensland’s Gallery of Modern Art Research Library

Art Gallery of South Australia

http://theconversation.com/a-library-without-librarians-is-a-just-a-shed-full-of-books-70206


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