• Debby Gairns and Nanette Simmons

    Debby Gairns and Nanette Simmons

  • Robyn Oates, Dennis Pearce and Anne-Marie Schwirtlich

    Robyn Oates, Dennis Pearce and Anne-Marie Schwirtlich

  • Omar Musa, Marion Halligan and Don Watson

    Omar Musa, Marion Halligan and Don Watson

  • A gift to the NLA from its 'Friends' presented by Robyn Oates to Anne- Marie Schwirtlich

    A gift to the NLA from its 'Friends' presented by Robyn Oates to Anne- Marie Schwirtlich

  • Mark Cranfield, Ann Moyal and Geraldine Mackey

    Mark Cranfield, Ann Moyal and Geraldine Mackey

  • Patricia Makehew and Paul Mackey

    Patricia Makehew and Paul Mackey

  • Wilga Le Febvre and Robin Sevenoaks

    Wilga Le Febvre and Robin Sevenoaks

  • Vernon Kronenberg and Christine Goode

    Vernon Kronenberg and Christine Goode

  • Joan Kennedy and Christine Wise

    Joan Kennedy and Christine Wise

Friends of the National Library of Australia 25th Anniversary

17 April 2015

What does a library mean to you? Is it a place of research, a treasure trove of information, an environment that nurtures and expands your knowledge or a collection of stories about everything you could ever want to explore whether truth or fiction. For most of us school was where we discovered the pleasure of a library and for me the impression made by the Ainslie Primary School library is to treasure as is the influence of the library teacher Mrs Lonsdale.
The National Library of Australia was for three eminent guests of honour at the 25th anniversary of the Friends of the National Library of Australia different things for each. Marion Halligan, Don Watson and Omar Musa have a love of libraries that started in childhood and continues today but the way they told their library stories was as different and charming, erudite and inciteful as their stories. And the telling was perfect entertainment for those Friends who make our NLA a perfect place to share in its diverse aspects and activities.

For our titillation a few tales of the purported reservoir of sexual tension in libraries – I’ve missed that aspect in the quiet but found it in the books instead -was mixed with Don Watson’s damp gabardine and the grey dust coats in his Melbourne library that brought an aroma to his telling with Omar Musa declaring it was a place to lose your innocence without losing your virginity that left some of us wondering if we should be more alert; he also told of a delicious dalliance by a friend. No not those Friends. And by this stage we were all set for a dose of the vapours.   

As a gift for the 25th anniversary the Friends chose two paintings from significant Aboriginal artists to hang in the refurbished reading room; Mabel Juli and Minnie Lumai are the artists and while NLA Director Anne-Marie Schwirtlich has the cheque to pay for the paintings we have to wait to see them in situ. This purchase is part of the Friends continuous support of the library’s activities and is part of $250,000 over 25 years. And they need more Friends, if it’s your kind of spare time activity contact the library and you’ll be among Friends very quickly.

The current crop of books from the three eminent GOH’s include The Bush by Don Watson, Goodbye Sweetheart by Marion Halligan and the debut novel now long listed for the Miles Franklin , Here Come the Dogs by Omar Musa – he tweets “underdog” instead, but do not underestimate this young man. All available at the NLA bookshop