Wednesday, 16 December 2009

University of Adelaide: Study, Research and a fabulous library

Last week I visited the University of Adelaide archives, while I was in the area at the recent the ANZHES conference.

Adelaide wins the competition so far for the university that does not appear to be run by its marketing department. This was actually the only overt advertisement I saw. You can kind of see it through the greenery. It says something about excellent education, and it is also nice to see that they remember what the university is for.

I also liked that the library clearly remembered what it was for (note that I am not a photographer):

I liked that this library is supporting plain old study and research, nothing fancy about information services and knowledge management and client liaison. Study. Research. It is solid.

Actually, altogether the Barr Smith library is stunning. The old reading room is a monument to philanthropy - and academia:

The entrance and borrowing areas were spacious, reference librarians visible and plentiful, computers abound and, most remarkable of all, an area in the library to eat:

and lie around reading in beanbags:

I like cloisters. And there were cloisters at Adelaide too...

...only these ones belonged to the students...

...though it seems they need a sign to know what they are:


M-H said...

Hmmm. I think that information services and knowledge management are a key part of study and research these days. Not so sure about client liaison. :) You will be able to eat in Fisher soon - within the next year, I would think. And I'm not sure about beanbags, but there will certainly be sofas and other comfortable seating as part of the same project.

Hannah Forsyth said...

Oh yes, MH, of course you are right. I do not intend to be too romantic about simpler academic past, though I confess I find the idea of "managing" knowledge disturbing. I was (a) excited to see the library's mission articulated so clearly and (b) pleased that it emphasised librarianship - a clever librarian recently said to me she thinks 'library' a very powerful 'brand' that is being forgotten in information services. I suspect she's right. Re. Fisher: we are endlessly lucky with Fisher Library and will be even more so after the renovations. If I was going to rank universities really and truly (again, it is a stupid idea), the quality of the library is probably where I'd start (then the workload of the staff and the percentage of sessionals).