Facsimiles provide a hands-on treat

Rare, beautiful, historically significant or unusual works can be an inspiration and a joy to behold. However they are often either locked away in the hands of collectors or, if held by a public institution, might be so fragile they can seldom be displayed or loaned for exhibition and definitely not handled by the public. Digitisation has enabled images of some iconic illuminated manuscripts and other treasures of the bibliographic world to be made available for viewing online.

National Anti-Sweating League of Victoria

Was this an attempt to cope with those hot summer days in Victoria? A case of trying mind over matter in the days before deodorants? Although the name conjures up wonderful images of bowler hatted gentlemen in dark suits steadfastly remaining cool, calm and collected, or ladies in their long sleeves and many petticoats attempting not to “glow”, the League had a very serious purpose, and in one sense it was about perspiration.

Indigenous Australians in comics

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers should be aware that the following blog post contains comic book images that may be culturally sensitive and considered inappropriate today.

At the Library, we’re really proud of our Australian comic collections. Our local comic publishing industry is much smaller than in other countries, and many Australian creators are only ever published overseas, so capturing Australian comic history is a challenge and a passion.

John Brosnan: "Why Bother?"

Portrait of John Brosnan

Portrait of John Brosnan (1947–2005), http://www.comicvine.com/john-brosnan/4040-63726/

Never in my 18 years of work have I stopped to seriously read the items I’ve been cataloguing … until now. What appeared to be a pile of unassuming documents not worth a second glance, turned out to be a goldmine of the most entertaining writing I have ever read.

The Winter Reading List

The cold set in early this year, and our hibernation is not complete without an armful of books. I sent the request out across the Library calling for staff recommendations for winter reading—after all, books do lie at the heart of our work here.

S. Alston Pearl, Tamara Toumanova reading, Original Ballet Russe Australian tour  1940, Geoffrey Ingram archive of Australian ballet, nla.pic-vn3410334

Fotonovelas : have I got a treat for you!

The John Ryan Comic Collection is full of surprises! Have you ever heard of fotonovelas? Well I knew nothing about them until I chanced across one in the Ryan Collection and was captivated. I had to find out more, and my research has uncovered a whole new world for me that I must share. Hopefully I can open up the door to this wonderful world for the uninitiated, or bring back fond memories for those who already know and love this genre.

Album of thanks for a friendship doll

If we could only retain the child’s innocence, enquiring spirit and wonder, the eyes that see someone as a potential source of fun and comfort, not as a label or category, how different might the world be? These sentiments prompted a remarkable cross-cultural doll ambassador program in 1927 and the Library has recently acquired a beautiful and poignant example of a "thank you" that resulted.

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