It’s Library and Information Week. This event, organised by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), aims to raise the profile of libraries and showcase the resources and services they provide to the community.
The theme for 2019 is Truth, Integrity, Knowledge. This week is an opportunity to look at the ways in which university libraries in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) are shaping the future of truth, integrity and knowledge.
Did you know that the university libraries in the ACT have more than 2.2 million visitors each year?
Now, more than ever, libraries are an essential part of our community. In this world of ‘fake news’ we need to not only provide access to facts and peer-reviewed research, but we need to teach people how to be discerning consumers of information.
University libraries in the ACT do this in many ways. Our librarians are champions of truth, supporting library patrons in sorting out the fact from fiction. Through training courses, we teach people to distinguish quality peer-reviewed sources from unverified material.
ACT University Libraries have extraordinarily vast and diverse collections.
Some of the collection specialities which may surprise Canberrans include:
- Teaching resources for students to use in their practice at the Australian Catholic University, Signadou Campus in Watson – including books, tactile maps and building blocks, as well as models of body parts for nursing and paramedicine students
- Library collections of excellence relating to military history, aeronautics, cyber-security international security and strategic studies at the Academy Library, UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy. Housed at the same location is UNSW Canberra’s Special Collections which includes 13,500+ rare books, and 350+ manuscript collections rich in the areas of Australian military history, Australian literature, and Australian politics as represented by the John Howard Collection
- One of the world’s largest collections of Australian children’s books, literature and illustrations in the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature at the University of Canberra Library
- Over 100,000 resources supporting religious studies including many rare and special bibles and biblical works at St Mark’s Library Charles Sturt University – the largest collection in the ACT
- Rich Asian and cultural collections at the Australian National University – including the Xu Dishan collection relating to a prominent Chinese scholar (1896-41) with 469 titles dating back to decades (the oldest is a work with a preface that refers to 1374) and the Shirley Kapper collection of 1250 volumes reflecting titles available on the shelves of a small town bookshop almost 100 years ago.
Libraries are a central repository for knowledge – preserving and providing access to the world’s culture, heritage, research and information. University libraries are also key to knowledge creation through supporting their academic and higher degree students in their teaching, research, publishing and impact journeys.
The newest library building, the Australian Catholic University Lewins Library was opened last year. It was named after Sister Rosemary Lewins, a Dominican sister with a strong commitment to education, especially educational administration.
All libraries are open to visitors and some have exhibitions of material from their special collections.
Australian National University Librarian Roxanne Missingham believes that libraries play a critical role in curating and communicating knowledge.
“We change the world by collecting knowledge, disseminating research, preserving history, and fostering education and research. Our libraries are vital research infrastructure supporting the work of academics by making resources available around the world,” said Roxanne Missingham
“This knowledge developed in university libraries has the power to change not just our community here in the ACT, but around Australia and also the world.”
To find out more about what university libraries in the ACT offer, visit our websites:
- Australian National University (ANU)
- University of Canberra (UC)
- Academy Library, UNSW Canberra
- Australian Catholic University (ACU)
- St Mark’s Library Charles Sturt University, National Theological Centre