Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Libraries I am grateful for:
1. NYPL: I love the NY Public Library. I think they should have an Aboriginal writer in residence there – one local and one international. I’d put my hand up for sure. I was excited to visit there as part of my research for Manhattan Dreaming and I was extremely grateful to see in their catalogue that not only had my books but books also by some of my favourite Aboriginal authors: the late Lisa Bellear, Alexis Wright and Melissa Lucashenko.
The main reading room is very quiet. It is like in the movies, like in Ghostbusters. The room feels like a highbrow, intellectual and traditional library, very different my local library I’ll mention later. Just walking through NYPL I felt smarter, and I felt the desire to read and learn more. And that can’t be a bad thing
Pic above is the marble statue Patience from the south steps of the library. Credit.
2. AIATSIS: I’m grateful for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies in Canberra. It is the repository of everything recorded by and about Indigenous Australia, including manuscript materials, serials, language materials, books, rare books, and the records of organisations, art catalogues, newspapers and newspaper clippings, maps, posters and kits, microforms and CD ROMS. I researched the foundation of my historical novel Who Am I? The diary of Mary Talence, Sydney 1937 and sat in the library for two weeks straight back in 2001 and penned the first 12,000 words of the book. I think this library is national treasure. If you haven’t been there, check it out next time you visit the National Museum just metres away.
3. SLNSW: I’m grateful to the State Library of NSW, because they have a fantastic Indigenous Collection. And they also hold David Unaipon’s original manuscript Legendary Tales. Who’s David Unaipon? Well have a look at a $50 note and you’ll see him! I’d like the SLNSW to have some of my original mss’s but alas, I think they’ll just end up in the shredder then as compost!
4. BOWEN LIBRARY: I’m grateful for my local - the Bowen Library at Maroubra Junction. I not only physically write Avoiding Mr Right in the little fish bowl writing room there, but I also borrowed a number of French films while researching Paris Dreaming. Bowen also has a fantastic collection of Aboriginal literature and I know this because the books all have little Koori flags on their spines, therefore easy to pick them on the shelf. I’m looking forward to doing a Paris Dreaming event there on May 3. Hope to see you there.
Oops, I should add the best thing about this library is the coffee cart at the entrance where you pick up your skinny flat white and banana bread and then head upstairs to work! I know, I know, a library you can eat in. Bliss!
5. UNI OF QLD: I’m pre-empting some of this gratefulness as I’m going to UQ to research a new non-fiction work. But I know I WILL be grateful come the first week of March. But I can also say I love the Duhig Building (which houses the UQ Library) because it was also the home of my employ for some years while I coordinated the Black Words research community for AustLit: the Australian Literary Resource.