Lu Rees, Bob Graham, (and me!) on the News

As I’ve mentioned earlier I recently got a new job managing an archive. What I didn’t mention, though, is why I decided to become an archivist in the first place. Well, here’s why.

I had decided I would be well suited to a job as a librarian, and so went back to my old university – the University of Canberra – to do a Master’s Degree in Information Studies (librarianship and other occupations like it are referred to as belonging to “the information profession”). During this degree I had to do a unit which entailed going to some sort of professional setting and doing a project there – basically, an internship.

Because I’m an author I already knew about the Lu Rees Archives, which is an archive of children’s books run out of the University library. It’s a wonderful place, where a visitor can find all his or her old childhood favourites carefully stored, and it’s run by two wonderful women – Dr Belle Alderman and Belinda Gamlen. Other than them the archive is run by volunteers – and even Belle, the director of the archive, isn’t paid for the insane amounts of work she puts in. In short, it’s a labour of love.

Anyway, I chose to do my internship there, and had the greatest time, and it wasn’t long before I fell in love with the Archives as well.   I learned everything about how to be an archivist, and did my bit to help out while I was at it. Needless to say, by the end I had firmly decided that I now wanted to be an archivist myself, and now that dream has come true.

But before that happened I was told that the Archives would be putting together a festival of children’s literature for this year, and I was asked if I wanted to help out. I said yes without a moment’s thought, and wound up helping to set up a display in my local public library. It was a lot of work, but more than worth it, especially since I was then invited to the opening ceremony, at which the legendary Bob Graham (a picture book author and illustrator, and one of my childhood icons) would be the special guest.

I got to meet Mr Graham, having grown up with his books, and bought a copy of his most recent one as well. And a news crew came along as well, and guess what? I’m in the story they filmed!

You can watch it here, and you’ll see the great Mr Graham interviewed, as well as my mentor Belle. And, right at the end, as the newsreader says “…and hopefully inspiring a new generation to write what they read”, there I am, holding a copy of Bob Graham’s new book and chatting to some kids. I wonder if they knew I was a childhood fan who had grown up to become an author, or if they just wanted a shot of those cute kids I was talking to? Either way, awesome!

If you’re a Canberran, I highly recommend going to the public libraries around town and seeing our displays. Mine is in the Belconnen Library, and it turned out quite well.

Neato text ornament here