What we value: first days in Wrocław

What we value: first days in Wrocław

It's August, which means it's time for my annual pilgrimage to the World Library and Information Congress run by the International Federation of Library Associations. These trips are a blessing because they get me out of my little pond and into the great big world of different experiences and perspectives. This year we're in Wrocław [...]

!kun drawings from the Lloyd Collection

!kun drawings from the Lloyd Collection

I wanted to share a find which made a profound impression on me. At the National Library of South Africa, tucked away on the balcony above the domed reading room, was an extraordinary exhibition, not fully installed yet, drawn from the Bleek and Lloyd Collection. In the mid-nineteen century the San people (Bushmen) were being [...]

Khayelitsha township

Khayelitsha township

Yesterday I left the city centre to visit public libraries in outer Cape Town. We drove into the Khayelitsha township on the south-eastern outskirts of the city, one of the newest and largest townships in Cape Town. The area has both formal housing (concrete-block 2-bedroom homes) and informal settlements (shanty towns). Townships were created during [...]

Art Deco and Gothic masterpieces in Reims

Art Deco and Gothic masterpieces in Reims

I'm back from my Great Library Tour, jetlagged and awake since 2am. Time to get back into blogging. (Ten days into my three week trip, I reached Paris and gave up on blogging as I went. Too much to see and no time for sitting round in the hotel connected to wifi). Before Paris, we [...]

Old meets new at Médiathèque André Malraux

Old meets new at Médiathèque André Malraux

Médiathèque André Malraux is the main public library in Strasbourg. Like Lyon Public Library, it is part of France's network of municipal libraries which were modernised in the 1970s and 1980s, opening up to the community and throwing off their previous image as staid guardians of old books. Some changed their name to 'mediathèque' to [...]

Art, music and retro concrete at Lyon Public Library

Art, music and retro concrete at Lyon Public Library

Having said I wouldn't blog about libraries... I visited the central branch of the Lyon Public Library (Bibliothèque municipale de Lyon) this week and found my visual antennae twitching. The facade is 'Municipal Moderne' with grey cladding and diagonal angles that would look at home in Melbourne. Near the entrance, a temporary exhibition showcases some [...]

Evening in Lyon

Evening in Lyon

I'm in beautiful Lyon, France, for the International Federation of Library Associations World Library and Information Congress. Lyon is the first stop on the Great Library Tour of France and England organised by Public Libraries Victoria Network. My family are well aware of my library tourist tendencies, having indulged my habit of stopping in at [...]

Snippets of Gove

Snippets of Gove

In January my kids, my mum and I visited my brother and his family in Nhulunbuy on the Gove Peninsula in far north east Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. Geographically and culturally, this is about as far as you can get from Melbourne and still be in Australia. It was deep wet season so we were [...]

White Night Melbourne

White Night Melbourne

Last Saturday I headed into town for the first White Night Melbourne, a nocturnal celebration in Melbourne's arts precinct. Running from 7pm Saturday to 7am Sunday, the program included all-night opening hours at the State Library of Victoria, Melbourne Museum, National Gallery of Victoria, the Arts Centre, Federation Square and ACMI, as well as street [...]

Love and Devotion: Persian manuscripts

Love and Devotion: Persian manuscripts

In utter rapture over the exquisite Persian manuscripts at the State Library of Victoria's Love and Devotion exhibition. The detail is incredible. This is a little obscure, but I think my favourite elements are the surface detail of the buildings - the geometric patterns on walls, roofs, rugs and fabric. The lovechild of medieval European [...]