'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.' - author Jackie French

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

KBR visits the Lu Rees Archives

Last Thursday, four members of the core KBR team had the great pleasure to visit the Lu Rees Archives of Australian Children's Literature--a divine literary space housed in the library of the University of Canberra.

Headed by the truly dedicated Belle Alderman and her team of amazing volunteers, the Archives aim to house every Australian children's book--and all its editions, onshore and international. With over 26,000 book copies (and rapidly growing), the Archives are well on their way to achieving this aim.

On top of this, the Collection includes over 450 carefully-sourced files on Australian children's book creators (as well as publishers), and a boggling and priceless collection of artworks, ephemera and in-process pieces of the book creation puzzle, from entire book mock-ups to photographic inspiration for illustrators.

The team perused the books currently on display, and viewed files of stunning original artwork, book mock-ups and several foreign language editions of Graeme Base's The Worst Band in the Universe.

Belle with Sarah Steed, KBR Consultant Librarian

Original artworks by Graeme Base

Kim, Jo, Tania, Anouska, Belle

It was a joy to discover books we all know and love

We were also shown the impressive filing systems which house author, illustrator and publisher files, and drawer upon drawer of artworks and book-creation paraphernalia.

Tania McCartney, Jo Burnell and husband Kim, Belle, Anouska Jones

Each and every entry is carefully catalogued and noted

A sensational array of works from Fiona the Pig by Leigh Hobbes

A storyboard from Dinosaurs Love Cheese by Jackie French and Nina Rycroft

We were even treated to a peek at some rare books ...

Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner

You can imagine how overwhelming this visit was to a bunch of book-obsessed people like the KBR team. Not only was the collection in itself overwhelming, the way the Archives is run, with such passion and dedication, is truly inspirational. The time, energy and effort put in by volunteers to catalogue and celebrate our children's book industry is astonishing, and the meticulous detail by which things are undertaken, is something all book lovers should witness.

We hope you can make the trek to this Canberra book Mecca one day.

Sarah Steed (Consultant Librarian), Tania McCartney (KBR Founder), Belle Alderman, Anouska Jones (Senior Editor), Jo Burnell (Senior Editor)--noticably absent: Susan Whelan (Managing Editor)

Visit the Lu Rees Archives website for more information on this inspiring place on earth. Belle would love the Archives to one day become a primary destination for adults and children visiting Canberra. The entire operation is run by volunteers, so if you would like to make a donation, click here.

Belle and the team do have a Wish List for rare books. If you think you might have a rare book you could donate, check out the list right here.

Thanks to Sarah Steed for providing some of these photos, and a huge thanks to Belle for hosting us.

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