I wondered about it during my visit to Rockdale library, but here I have conclusive proof of the Sydney Subject Specialisation Scheme (or SSSS – what an acronym), a scheme in which Sydney public libraries would specialise in a particular subject, the idea being that, across the Sydney metropolitan library network, there was held a comprehensive collection, which could then be accessed by interlibrary loan. While the scheme has been discontinued, these areas of specialisation can still be detected in library collections. How the topics were divided up, I’m not sure. Hornsby, for example, collected The Bible, Linguistics and Cookery.
This information comes from “Sydney Inside Info”, an alternative guide book to “help you get Sydney before it gets you”, published in 1979.
More comprehensive lists can be found here along with everything you might ever need to know about inter-library loans in NSW.
I’ve made a Biblioburbia you can hold in your pocket – a library card size zine which has entries for each library I have visited.
I sold out of it at the MCA zine fair last weekend, but have put together some more, which you can order on my Etsy shop, or by contacting me directly.
The stories inside are moments from this blog, different ones from the stories included on the Biblioburbia Map. The map came out of hiding and was pored over by many at the MCA zine fair.
A number of people have asked me what is happened with Biblioburbia: I will still be writing here occasionally, however most of my operations are moving to my new blog, Mirror Sydney. See you there!
I found this note behind my bed – it dates from the beginning of Biblioburbia, and lists the topics I hoped to cover. Like all my lists, it started off seriously and then degenerated into doodling. Some of the items on this list are mysterious to me, in fact the list itself isn’t familiar to me: I don’t remember writing it. Probably before going to bed one night, with my mind fired up with plans and ideas for Biblioburbia when it was new.
What now for Biblioburbia? I will still post here every month or so but my library excursions have paused for the moment. I’m planning another blog project so I will reveal that soon. The City of Sydney Archives now have a copy of the book of this blog. It’s good to have the book version in a library – I’m not sure what librarians make of this blog, but hopefully some find it interesting. I am making a zine version of Biblioburbia that I’ll have for sale at the MCA zine fair on Sunday, may 20th. I still have copies of the Biblioburbia print. And of course you can reverse back through the blog and read and reread it, for as long as wordpress exists.
Borrowing receipts make excellent bookmarks, but I am always careful to remove them before handing the book back to the library. Other people are less worried about revealing their taste in books to strangers. When Simon borrowed an Indiana Jones book from the City of Sydney library recently, he found this inside it (I have removed the borrower’s name by the manual photoshop method – folding the paper over before laying it on the scanner):
I can only imagine the borrower looking her best to confront a dangerous situation, which might result in a conversation with God, maybe about adventure stories?
While fiddling around in the kitchen, half cleaning up, half listening to music, my phone bleeped and I thought “Aha! Message for me!” It was not an invitation to a picnic, however, it was this rather ominous message. But there is one problem with it. Can you see what it is? Which library is this from? I guess I’ll have to call the number. “Hi Library…” Just think, as I write this, as I go about my business today, fines are accruing… I have a stonehenge of library books in the hall, all from different libraries, one of them must be the culprit.
I scribbled this note when I was in Customs House Library, overhearing the librarian explaining the stack to a groovy chap in a 70s shirt. As hard as I listened, I didn’t catch what books he was after, but he was an irregular library user with an urgent request. I felt that the librarian was on the side of the unfashionable books, as am I.