• 13 May 2019, 9:00am to 30 September 2019, 5:00pm
Footscray Park
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Free event

Discover lesser-known gems in special collections and the work behind the scenes at Footscray Park Library to preserve items.

The display ‘Special Collections: Beyond the books’ at Footscray Park Library highlights print materials, with additional features for insights into a topic or an author, and non-print items available to support research. The display also reveals the work behind the scenes to ensure that items are being preserved for ongoing research.

Signed copies and ephemera

Signed copies of poetry, plays, pamphlets and propaganda as well as examples of ephemera (interesting additions which were slipped inside items and were never meant to be kept) are on display in the cabinet next to the Service Desk:

Annotations, marginalia and newspaper clippings

Notes for research or dedications written in the margins or on the front and back covers of books, and newspaper clippings are additional information found in Special Collections items displayed in the cabinet in the Learning Hub:

Non-print items

Non-print items on display in the cabinet near the lift have been donated, usually as part of a larger body of material, to VU Special Collections. To preserve the items’ content and ensure that they remain accessible to researchers, items will need to be reformatted or reorganised:

  • audio and VHS video tapes, photographic slides, and microfiche and microfilm from collections and archive (PNG and the Pacific, Timor-Leste, John & Shirley McLaren and the Rare & valuable) need to be transitioned to a digital format. 
  • photographs from a large set of the ‘Melbourne 1972 Project’ (from the Department of Crown Lands and Survey, Victoria) need to be reorganised for researchers’ access.

Researchers Katherine Keirs and Claire Collie have found taped interviews and notes in our Special Collections to support their research.

Preserving and accessing items

The display cabinet close to IT kiosk reflects the work undertaken to ensure items from Special Collections or Archives remain available for ongoing research. Various preservation aspects which can affect materials are considered:

  • mold on paper items
  • rusty staples or binding material
  • pests such as silverfish
  • temperature, light and humidity.

Items are stored in non-chemical emitting plastics and acid-free cardboard to prevent deterioration. The temperature and humidity in the Special Collections Room are controlled to prolong the life of paper-based collections. Research collections are also kept as ‘closed access’ which is access by appointment only. For researchers to have instant online access to items, parts of VU Library’s research collections will need to be continually digitised. The list of items on display for ‘Special Collections: Beyond the books’ and instructions on how to access items are available in the Library Guide VU Special Collections: How to access and use.

Email special.collections@vu.edu.au with any questions, or to make an appointment.

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