This week I am in Melbourne with a group of 54 students, some of whom are teacher librarians, on a study visit to a range of libraries – state, public, academic, school, TAFE and specialist libraries (e.g. law) and information services. First visit today was to the magnificent State Library of Victoria which is firstly an impressive stone building with a varied interior and secondly a library with a range of services, many of which are linked to schools or young people e.g. Inside a Dog (think Groucho Marx) which relates to teenage reading. It also has an impressive reading room, based on the British Library, with a high domed ceiling.
The afternoon visit for me and a group of 24 students was to the Melbourne Museum’s Discovery Centre where Bronwyn Thomson gave an excellent presentation to students about the services of the centre and its information retrieval system, which allows users (often children) to find books, websites and artifacts such as insects, shells, skulls etc. Our students were given a task to identify an artefact and enjoyed searching the exhibits, drawers of fossils etc as well as the book collection. The centre’s website is a great resource for schools anywhere. A highlight of the visit was the live exhibit next to the information desk where we could watch a veiled chameleon move very slowly across the branches. At first, it looked like a children’s toy – like a rubber dinosaur – then it moved gracefully – fascinating to watch.