British expert signals bright future for Australia’s great libraries

5 April 2013

David Pearson, Director of Culture, Heritage and Libraries for the City of London Corporation, believes libraries will continue to play a vital role in Australia’s cultural future.

In the 2013 Foxcroft Lecture, Pearson will argue that a global abundance of digital information does not diminish the cultural importance of books and library collections. Indeed he believes great libraries and their book collections are themselves artefacts of cultural and historical importance.

‘Our great libraries – like the State Library of Victoria – are cornerstones of civilisation but they are also living in challenging times as our world becomes increasingly digital.  The aim of my lecture is to ask some questions and prompt some thinking about where the value of great library collections will lie in the future, when we may have to adjust our mindsets,’ he said.

Sue Roberts, CEO and State Librarian, welcomed David’s lecture as part of the Library’s Dome Centenary year celebrations.

‘David’s reflections on the role of libraries as valuable cultural and historical artefacts should prove fascinating. As Australia’s oldest public library we understand our responsibility to preserve the past whilst providing universal access to a vast and continually expanding world of knowledge and ideas. This combination of purposes is clearly demonstrated in our beautiful domed La Trobe Reading Room, which celebrates its centenary this year.’

David Pearson is a past president of the Bibliographical Society and has taught at the Rare Book Schools in the US and New Zealand. His most recent book, Books as history: the importance of books and their texts, is published by the British Library and Oak Knoll Press.

Event details    
Libraries as history: the 2013 Foxcroft Lecture
Monday 8 April , 6-7.15pm
Village Roadshow Theatrette, State Library of Victoria
Free, bookings required

Seats are limited, to book visit

The annual Foxcroft Lecture honours the work of pioneering State Library of Victoria bibliographer AB Foxcroft (1884–1938). A recognised authority on incunabula and early printing, Albert was influential in developing the Library's rare books and medieval manuscripts collection in the 1920s and 1930s, which recently was digitised.