Brisbane Art Libraries Tour Wrap-Up

by | Jul 29, 2016 | Events, QLD, Regions

You know – sometimes textbooks just don’t do a thing justice, sometimes you’ve just got to get out there and meet people and experience the world for yourself. And that is exactly what a bunch of aspiring, student, new graduate, and employed librarians did last Friday!

The Library Cafe (SLQ)

At around 10am, with the aid of a lovely, red, funky, plush chicken, we all found each other and introduced ourselves over coffee at the State Library of Queensland Cafe. After a quick briefing on the itinerary for the morning we headed off on the first of two stops for the day…

QAGOMA Library

The Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art Research Library is located on level 3 of GOMA in Southbank. We were met in the foyer by the lovely Jacklyn Young who ferried us upstairs and into the library. After a brief introduction to the daily run-down of the library and of the staff who take care of it we had a lovely walk around the collection to see the different types of resources on offer.

Research Library, Level 3, GOMA.

Research Library, Level 3, GOMA.

Take-away #1

Because it is an art library a lot of the work is still in print – about 30% of the journals are online. People like to see the physical object! Weeding in a specialist collection is difficult because you never know what will be relevant.


The library is open to the public for use and can be accessed during opening hours.The purpose of the library is to collect items that are relevant to the art collection at the Queensland Art Gallery and Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, the exhibitions on show, and to any public programs which may be run by the gallery. The focus of the library is to collect for the APT – Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art Exhibition Archive but also focuses on Australian Indigenous art, and Queensland Art.

Take-away #2

When you think of the function of a library – what do you think about? Are libraries a place for people to come and learn how to find information or is it a place people come to be given information? Depending on the purpose of the library – it can be both! One of the main roles for the QAGOMA Research Library is to find and present information to researchers – not necessarily show them how to find the information, this was not the case in the Griffith College of Art Library as we found out…. 

Griffith College of Art Library

After saying goodbye to a couple of early leavers we began our march through Southbank towards Griffith College of Art. We were met by Donald Jeffery who warmly welcomed us into the library. It took a few moments for us to get acquainted to the academic library space as opposed to the research library space. Both function as essentially the same thing but their look, layout, and services offered were very different.

Queensland College of Art Library

We had a lot of discussion about the role of academic libraries and how students utilise the space of the library for study rather than the resources themselves. Making a comfortable space for students was almost as important and the collection itself. The library is no longer a ‘collecting’ library and is more focused on frontline service and helping students whether face to face or online with their work.

Take-away #3

Shelf-space is a commodity! And needs to be taken into consideration when creating space for students or expanding collections.

All in all it was a pretty awesome day. We met some new people and had some very stimulating discussion. Many thanks to Jacklyn and Donald who made our visits so comfortable and informative – we wish we could have stayed longer! ALIA Students and New Graduates Group QLD looks forward to facilitating more of these tours in the future.



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