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'A Native Instinct of Patriotism': Nationalism in the Australian Public Library, From Federation to the 1930s. A Case Study of the Public Library of Tasmania

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 22:24 authored by Gaunt, HM
Investigates nationalism in the public library in Australia from Federation in 1901 to the 1930s. Australian public libraries actively participated in the nation building project and the creation of a differentiated Australian library culture through an assertion of the values of civic reform enhanced by new professionalism and an ‘inscription of nation’ through library commentary and practice. While this trend diminished in the short term after Federation, in the longer term Australian libraries maintained a commitment to nationalistic values, principally through the archiving of Australian historical papers and publications, and the assimilation of Australian fiction into their predominantly British collections. This paper examines these phenomena in relation to the Public Library of Tasmania, demonstrating how the peculiarities of the local history and environment, as well as the activities of library leaders and patrons, influenced the inscription of nation in the Library. In demonstrating these assertions, this paper will utilize some of the areas of examination proposed by G. K. Peatling, specifically discursive constructions of nations articulated by library administrators and commentators, stock control, and library law, amongst others.


Publication title

Library History








School of Humanities


Maney Publishing

Place of publication


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology

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