Colin Steele

University Librarian

CV and Publications

To synthesise my time, from 1976 to 2002, first as Deputy Librarian and then University Librarian, is not easy. The greatest impact over that period, was the successful introduction of automation in the library and then the arrival of the Internet. In 1976, it took nearly three months for most journals to arrive from overseas, now their contents are accessible instantaneously on campus. The ANU had the first University library website in Australia in the early 1990s. Establishing the ANU E Press in 2002 is another example of the Library's role in scholarly leadership. Being involved in the one millionth and two millionth book celebrations was a particular highlight. The Ross library review of 1982, which compared running a library to running a hotel, provided the basis for collection rationalisation which eliminated the historical division in library holdings between the Institute of Advanced Studies and the School of General Studies. At that time, there was intense academic competition as to the physical location of print journals on campus. I vividly recall the entire Library committee walking between Chifley and Menzies, and Hancock and John Curtin, as part of that collection rationalisation exercise. Elderly male professors increased or decreased their pace between those buildings, to prove their point of how hard or it was to access a non duplicated print journal. Pure Monty Python!

In the end, nothing could have been achieved, in my time as Librarian, without the dedicated work of all library staff to support the academic endeavours of ANU staff and students.

Text: C.R. Steele