Thursday, September 4, 2014

Day 1793 - Lu Rees Archives

Australian Children's Books Archives

Established in 1974 the Lu Rees Archives collects Aussie children's books and creates files about their authors and illustrators.  The Archives holds around 26,000 books with 3,200 of them in 53 languages. It holds pictures books, novels, manuscripts, artwork, theses, reference material, rare books, photographs and audio recordings, as well as drafts, author notes and illustrator sketches. An independent assessor valued the Archives at $6 million in 2012.

Yesterday I was invited to visit the Lu Rees Archives. It turns out that one of the coordinators there found me via my recent Cheer Chick Charlie letterbox drop! Go figure.  Anyway, I got an email on Tuesday asking if I might like to add my Charlie books to the collection.  Sure.  They had hoped that I could come in on a day that the Director was going to be there.  My diary is too busy right now.  In any case, I thought I was just donating a set of books to a library.  So I just slotted them into a one hour spot between client, RMHC donation and school run.

It wasn't until I got in there that I realised what an honour this actually is.

Housed at the University of Canberra the very kind lady took me on a tour of their little "museum".  I was shown the back room that has extremely rare books, as well as the filing cabinet that has files on Aussie authors.  My file has just been started.  It has?  It will include my letterbox flyer, along with my author sheet.  But I can also send them my draft manuscripts with editor notes all over them, my character sketches, my character development notes, anything.  Man ... I probably threw all that stuff away!

Some of the rarest books in the archive
She then showed me the artwork, then back into the room that houses the 26,000 books.  She showed me which authors have been translated into multiple languages.  Which authors have had toys created out of their characters. I have a doll, I offered. You do?  Bring her in! And pom poms and postcards and wristbands.  We want it all, she said.

This little room houses 26,000 children's books by Aussie authors 
I realised as I stood there that this was more than just a library.  This was even more than just an archive.  It was a very important part of our Australian history. I mean, it's not technically a museum, nor is it a hall of fame, but it is fairly significant.

This is a big step in my life as a children's book author.

I am starting to feel "recognised".

Yep, yesterday was a big day.


  1. Congratulations - that's fantastic! I did have a moment watching the book parade thinking, 'I want to write a character that kids want to dress up as, years later...' (My ego is getting out of control!! ;)

  2. That's so very cool! Is it open to the public, Leanne? I'd love to check it out next time I'm in Canberra.


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