National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature: history of the centre

In the below short video Dr Belle Alderman gives us the backstory for the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature. This is the first in a series of videos that showcase a little known literary collection started by one volunteer whose work has been carried on by Belle and other volunteers.

I’m filled with admiration for the invaluable work of these volunteers and the University of Canberra that has supported their work.

The National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature is on Twitter and has a website.

Their website says of their collection:

The Centre houses over 28,000 books including rare items, 3,800 overseas translations in 53 languages, the NSW School Magazine  (dating back to 1916), theses, authors’, illustrators’ and publishers’ papers and artwork. The collection has been largely built by donations, in the first instance by publishers who, since 1981, have donated the majority of their children’s books published; and in the second instance by private donations from authors, illustrators, individuals and organisations.

Unique in Australia, are over 450 (December 2015) research files of materials on authors, illustrators, publishers and critics which contain, depending on the individual file, published material such as reviews and articles, as well as a range of items such as background research documents, promotional material, correspondence, audio recordings, and photographs plus the usual biographical and bibliographical material.

A donation in 1992 by critic and publisher Walter McVitty enhanced the collection by some 1,500 titles, significantly strengthening holdings in the 1950s and 1960s, and filling gaps in the nearly complete holdings of works by major Australian authors and illustrators.

The special strength of the Centre is that all the related material has been gathered together in one readily accessible and publicly available place. As a broad and in-depth collection, the Archives provides a particularly rich and comprehensive overview of Australian children’s literature, its creation and publishing endeavour.

Details on the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature collection, its value and significance are here.

Post and video by Nalini Haynes

National Centre for Australian Children's Literature — part of the collection


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