Celebrating fifty years with fifty people
13 April 2018

This year, the National Library of Australia's building marks the 50th anniversary of its opening in August 1968. To celebrate this occasion, the Library is planning a vibrant program of events alongside the current exhibition, 1968: Changing Times.

When I think of the National Library of Australia, the first thing that often springs to mind is its amazing range of unique collection items, from its rare books, pictures, maps and manuscripts, to fascinating oral histories and Australian published works. I could easily spend hours on end poring through these collections.

However, while working at the National Library, I have also had many fascinating interactions with people from all walks of life - from the wide range of readers and visitors who come to our reading rooms, to the hundreds of staff who each bring their own wealth of specialist knowledge and experience to the organisation.

And so, this year, to coincide with fifty years of the building, we are focusing on fifty people - approximately one a week - who are posted on a special Instagram account, @NLA50ppl. We ask them what they're up to, and what they love most about the National Library. Everybody has a different answer - although, through time, you may notice some common themes.

Who will you see?

Familiar Faces

These are the people who we see every day around the Library, working as its public face. Whether answering questions in the reading rooms, leading tours of the building, or running learning programs, they are ever-approachable and ready to help and share their knowledge.

Helen, Jess, Shannon and Di

Behind the Scenes staff

Of course, we also have many staff working tirelessly behind the scenes, developing collections, managing systems, and keeping all the wheels in motion. Seeking these people out for this Instagram account has been an opportunity for me to meet with various staff who I rarely work with, and share their insights into working at the Library.

Rochelle, Mark, Erica and Kylee

Fellows and researchers

The National Library offers a number of scholarships and fellowships through the year, attracting world-class researchers from all over Australia - and beyond. Along with the Petherick Readers, these researchers explore the Library's unique collections, and share their findings with the wider community through presentations and publications.

Luke, Shastra, Ian and Salvatore

...and our wonderful visitors!

Of course, not everybody who uses the National Library is undergoing formal research, and sometimes it's these people who bring the most fascinating questions to the library, whether it's writing their family tree, developing a creative work, or finding a comfortable space to catch up with friends and family using the internet.

Lauren, Rhys and Hilary

Everybody at the Library has their own unique story to tell, whether they are Library staff or one of the thousands of readers and visitors who walk through the front door every year. To keep track of them all, subscribe to our instagram account - and, of course, if you're visiting the Library in person, be sure to say hello. You never know - you could become one of the fifty people featured.

I'm sure that all comments will be favourable because I simply can't see any library user being unhappy! Being a reader since the early 1990s I have only had good experiences there and met some very helpful people.