AustLit logo
Issue Details: First known date: 2006... 2006 Case-study : Public Libraries - Books, Bytes, Buildings, Brains
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

‘Before the Second World War there were as many as 2000 subscription libraries, Mechanics' Institutes and Schools of Arts throughout Australia carrying mostly light fiction. Some masqueraded as public libraries and received small subsidies from local or state governments, although only about 3 per cent of the population used them. The watershed 1935 Munn-Pitt Report on libraries, funded by the Carnegie Corporation and sponsored by the Australian Council for Educational Research, provoked a storm of newspaper commentary around the country, and still makes fascinating reading. Libraries have never since attracted so much media attention. This was not surprising in view of the report's scathing criticisms.`Anyone wishing to carry away a favourable impression of the Public Library of Queensland,' the report observed, 'should never make the mistake of entering it ...' But this was no isolated case. As a whole, Australia 'was the better provider with local libraries in the 1800s than it is today' and the report concluded 'It is pathetic to observe the pride and complacency with which local committees exhibit wretched little institutes which ave long since become cemeteries of old and forgotten books.'’(Introduction 373)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Paper Empires : A History of the Book in Australia 1946-2005 Craig Munro (editor), Robyn Sheahan-Bright (editor), St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2006 Z1275326 2006 anthology criticism (taught in 3 units) The second of a series of studies of Australian book production and consumption. The work is organised into three sections: 'The Rise of Publishing ', 'Book Business' and 'Reaching Readers'. Within each grouping are chapters on related subjects, in some cases accompanied by illustrative case studies. St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2006 pg. 373-378
Last amended 5 Jan 2017 13:47:01
373-378 Case-study : Public Libraries - Books, Bytes, Buildings, Brainssmall AustLit logo