State Library Victoria > La Trobe Journal

No 61 Autumn 1998


A message from the State Librarian

This 61st issue represents the twin aspects of continuity and change that have always been a feature of the Journal.
The first issue, edited by Dr Geoffrey Serle, was published in April 1968. Dr Serle edited the first 20 issues, finally handing over to John Thompson in 1978 after co-editing the 21st issue with him in April of that year.
This latest issue, which introduces a new editor, Emeritus Professor John Barnes, exactly thirty years after the publication of the first issue, is the first published under the auspices of the State Library of Victoria Foundation. It is also, sadly, the first issue published after the death of its founding editor.
At the time of its founding, the La Trobe Library Journal described the La Trobe Library as a section of the State Library of Victoria and Victoria's chief research-centre and reference library for Australian history and literature. It was defined as the State's principal repository for manuscript material, historical paintings, newspapers, etc., relating to the history of Australia and the Pacific and especially Victoria. While physical considerations have dispersed the La Trobe Library collections, the sum of the parts will continue to help define the unique strength of this great library.
Although the Journal has always had a distinctive Australian emphasis, it has not confined itself to materials in the La Trobe Library, the Medieval Manuscripts issue being a memorable instance of how far it has ranged. The new title — The La Trobe Journal — identifies it with the whole of the State Library of Victoria, but in continuing to commemorate La Trobe it highlights the Journal’s emphasis and links the old La Trobe Library, which was mostly housed in the La Trobe building, and the new La Trobe Library, which is physically dispersed across a number of areas on the site.
When the State Library of Victoria redevelopment project is completed early in the next century the La Trobe open access collections will be housed in the Domed Reading Room, which will be renamed the La Trobe Reading Room. At the heart of the Library complex it will symbolise the central importance of the Australiana materials to the role of the State Library of Victoria. The special collections of Pictures, Manuscripts and Australian Rare Books will be housed in other areas, although they will remain part of the La Trobe Library under the jurisdiction of the La Trobe Librarian.
The State Library of Victoria is in the middle of one of the most exciting periods in its history. It is undergoing remarkable and long-overdue refurbishment, and this has necessitated a certain amount of change while at the same time opening the doors to extraordinary opportunity. I unreservedly wish to reassure the valued friends and supporters of the State Library that what lies at the heart of this great Library will continue to do so, and this Journal will continue to proudly showcase its strengths and treasures.
Frances H Awcock
Chief Executive Officer and State Librarian