Standing up for Canberra

Lu Rees Archives 2011

I rise today to acknowledge the work being done by the Lu Rees Archives, as well as to congratulate them on their receipt last year of a community heritage grant of $8,800. The archives are internationally recognised for their work and attract authors, illustrators, publishers, researchers and literary agents from around the world. The archives developed out of a 1974 initiative of the ACT branch of the Children’s Book Council of Australia to create a national collection of Australian children’s books.

The archives hold a comprehensive collection of books and other resources about authors, illustrators, publishers and their creative works. The collection includes over 20,000 books, over 370 research files and significant collections of papers, manuscripts and artwork of authors, illustrators and publishers.

Since 1990 the archives development has been overseen by Dr Belle Alderman. Dr Alderman, as the honorary collection development manager, donates up to 700 hours each year to maintaining the collection. Dr Alderman’s work is indicative of the tireless efforts of the many volunteers who maintain the archives as a labour of love. The money received by the archives by way of the community heritage grant will go towards funding two experts who will examine the archives, report on their national significance and assess the collections within the archives that require preservation.

The significant assessment will establish new or improved current collection management practices, identify nationally significant aspects of the collection to ensure they receive attention, assist the archives in determining the aspects of the collection that need to be given priority, enable the archives to enhance its public profile and allow the archives to inspire staff and volunteers with a renewed drive and focus on ideas, projects and the pursuit of future goals. The preservation needs assessment will examine the overall collection and identify items in need of urgent attention. It will also provide the basis for developing a working plan for future preservation activities and harness the collective energy of volunteers to perform preservation tasks where appropriate. I congratulate the Lu Rees Archives on the grant and thank the team for their continued efforts in preserving Australian children’s literature.

I would also like to congratulate the AIDS Action Council of the ACT for its grant of $6,700 for archival shelving. Anyone who lived through the eighties and who lost friends during the eighties realises the invaluable work performed by the AIDS Action Council of the ACT, and I congratulate them on the grant and their work.

Finally, I would like to recognise Craft Australia and its grant of $14,000 to digitise its slide collection. This collection shows the work of leading Australian craftspeople and consists of 7,000 slides. I would also like to encourage Canberrans and Australians to apply for grant applications.

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