State Library Look! Exhibition

The State Library of Victoria is a wonderful place. For distraction-free studying/reading, try the beautiful La Trobe Reading Room…that’s the one with the domed roof. Although I suggest you don’t sit near the door if you don’t want to be diverted by the reactions of tourists and others seeing the room for the first time.

The Redmond Barry room has a completely different feel, but is equally compelling. There’s a particular collection of PNG traditional tales that pulls me back time after time. I love the pillows in the Manuscripts Collection room for the sitting on of big but fragile books, and the genealogy room with all the microfiche and machines.

Yesterday, I was there for volunteer training to support the Look! exhibition. The exhibition has been open for some months and has several still to go. It showcases Australian picture book art. The books that feature the art are also there, and activities for the casual visitor and school groups. Volunteers, on this occasion, peopled the exhibition for a bit, then supported storytime. Storytime has been temporarily removed from the Experimedia space while they do things to the electrics (although they’ll soon be back in this space). So we were upstairs in Queen’s gallery (I think that’s what it was called). It’s a lovely space that I think used to be part of the Museum. At first it looked like there would only be a few children to listen to stories, sing some songs and do a fishy activity, but the trickle became a stream and the space filled with mothers/grandmothers and children. I was an observer but did get to join in on the singing and helped with the activities. Great fun. And a lovely way to bring young children into this wonderful space.

May they all grow up to love this fantastic building with its knowledgeable staff and extensive collections.

8 thoughts on “State Library Look! Exhibition

  1. Claire, the Look! Exhibition will also come to the State Library Queensland in Brisbane at the end of 2011.

    Look! is being touted as showcasing Australian picture book art, but it is an inaccurate picture.

    Only 7 of the 70 titles involved are by Queensland creators and only 4 Queensland illustrators are represented in the whole exhibition. And because it will come to Brisbane, many of us up here are concerned and disappointed.

    Queensland illustrators play a strong and popular role in the state, national and international children's literature scene. In the prestigious CBCA awards in 2010, three of the six short-listed titles were by Qld illustrators, with Qlanders, Gregory Rogers and Narelle Oliver taking out Winner and Honour Books awards respectively.

    Queensland children are familiar with the creators of many of the books they read and they will be sorely disappointed when they wander through this exhibition and find local illustrators and authors feature so little in it.

    We hope the State Library Qld will run a supplementary exhibition of Qld illustrators, but fear that will not happen.


  2. It's a lovely place the state library- just wish exhibitions and opportunities weren't so far away for regional people…well done for volunteering- let's hope next time it's a paid gig all about your fishes in 'there was an old sailor'…



  3. Hi Sheryl,

    Thanks for dropping by. The State Library is looking for funding to tour this exhibition to several states. Perhaps there's an opportunity to contact them about also funding a supplementary exhibition to include more local creators?


  4. Thanks Lorraine. I realise just how fortunate I am to live within cooee of this and other opportunities.

    I'll confess, when the activity was fish, I was itching to talk about Sailor…


  5. Fabulous you're involved with the Exhibition, Claire. I love the State Library and can equally sit in the spaces as read or research. Especially now while I'm writing historical fiction. It seems to transport me into the mood too.
    Best wishes, Chris


  6. Thanks Chris, although my involvement is very limited.
    The foundation stone was laid in 1854, the same year my Irish ancestor arrived in Australia. He was a stonemason. I like to imagine that he worked on at least some of the great buildings that were commenced in that year. (University of Melbourne, Melbourne Town Hall and St Patrick's Cathedral)


  7. Victoria provides some wonderful events for their children. They understand the value of providing these opportunities. The recent children's music festival is another example.Have fun, Claire.


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