Skip to main content
University of Wollongong Australia

History of the Library: The Library since 1972

An archive of the historical milestones reached by UOW Library since 1972 in words and pictures


From K-Mart to campus

In 1968 Jim Hagan and Ross Duncan of the University's Department of History initiated the process of building a collection of source materials to support research in the department. This collection was initially housed off-campus in storage space at the K-Mart shopping centre in Warrawong.

In 1972 the Warrawong repository was partially flooded and the records were subsequently moved to the basement of Wollongong City Council's Kenny Street car park in Wollongong, where they remained until 1984.

It was understandably not desirable that the collection be housed off-campus, away from archives staff and users. After 1976 suitable storage space within the Library and also the Pentagon (now the Communications Centre) was eventually secured.


1973 saw the appointment of Baiba Irving as the first full-time Archives Officer (later Archivist). The following year the Kenny Street repository became operational and the task of acquiring University records began. An official Archives Policy was proclaimed by University Council, on 1 January 1975, and an additional Archivist, Ken Smith, appointed.

In 1976 the founding staff departed and the Archives was designated a section of the University Library. Laurie Dillon was appointed Archivist during that year and an office was established in the Library, thus providing a campus presence for the Unit.

In 1977 John Shipp was appointed Assistant Archivist and a full-time administrative assistant was also secured to assist with listing and indexing the collections. In 1979 the Archives office was expanded to provide a secure research room and enhanced work and storage areas.

When Laurie Dillon left Wollongong University in 1980 to take up a position as foundation Archivist of the University of New South Wales, John Shipp assumed the role of University Archivist. In 1986 he was appointed University Librarian, though he continued to act as University Archivist until 1987 when Annabel Lloyd was appointed to the position. A period of consolidation of the holdings then occurred. Compactus storage was provided within the Library following building extensions.

Ms Lloyd resigned in 1992 and the Archives was without an archivist for a period, until Patrick Brownlee was appointed temporary Archivist-in-training during 1993. During this period storage space was lost in the Pentagon (Communications Centre) due to building alterations.

In February 1995 Michael Organ was appointed Archivist, then Susan Jones in 2002; adopting the role for almost 13 years! Kerry Ross was the Archivist from 2015. Our current Archivist is Grant White, who was appointed in 2017.

Throughout its long history, the University of Wollongong Archives has played an important role in assisting the various research and teaching programs of the University, along with serving the interests of the local community and external students. It continues to play a multi-faceted role, whilst adhering to the tenets of the Collection Policy enunciated by Council in 1982.

Learning and teaching


Unprecedented demand for study spaces

The success of the Library extension and refurbishment can be measured by the number of clients using the spaces created. To meet ever-increasing demand for a place to study, learn and engage in the student experience, the existing footprint of the Library was re-purposed, enabled by the:

  • Strategic acquisition of ejournal backfiles
  • De-duplication of print journals
  • Removal of 2.3 kilometres of shelving on Level 2
  • Construction of eight new bookable group study rooms; using high quality, sound buffering glass
  • Addition of individual, powered study carrels on all levels
  • Integration of the Postgraduate study rooms to improve openness and transition between spaces


From solitary study to a choice of styles

While the provision of quiet space remains essential to any contemporary library, other areas are now available to support current and future learning styles. The extension provides:

  • An overall increase of 350 study seats
  • Dedicated quiet areas
  • Increased natural lighting and tranquil vistas
  • Formal group study rooms and informal group study areas on all floors
  • Tailor-made music and media spaces
  • Relaxed reading lounges with a range of comfortable seating
  • Desk sizes to suit the study purpose – individual carrels to larger workstations
  • Multipurpose labs seating 30 and 40 students for hands-on information literacy instruction or computer access


From print and microform to full-text online

  • Majority of journals available online from any location
  • Document delivery to researchers' desktops
  • Research Online database showcases research output to the world
  • Theses available online
  • Reorganisation of physical collections provides cohesive research resources including print books, print journals, archival material, microforms, maps, and media such as CDs and DVDs
  • Dedicated spaces for postgraduates and academic staff


From silent storehouse to reaching out

  • Roving help reaching clients within the building
  • Academic outreach
  • Email a Librarian
  • Chat to a Librarian (online)
  • Library_info4u email list

New service features:

  • Functional attractive service desks supporting streamlined workflows
  • Visible and approachable assistance for clients on entry
  • Additional quick access and email computers
  • Improved self loan units
  • Enhanced access to assistance for students with disabilities
  • Panizzi Cafe

Listening to our community through client surveys and market research allows the Library to respond with measurable service standards, the Client Service Charter and a commitment to quality, service and excellence.


From fixed roles to multi-skilled and multi-talented

  • Motivated, approachable staff
  • Ongoing focus on training and development
  • Linking teams through collaboration and participation
  • Managing change

The extension provided the opportunity to co-locate staff on Level 2 and to realign teams for optimal effectiveness. Lending and Archives staff remain on the Ground Level. Staff areas have been renovated and refurbished providing an attractive and functional workplace.


From cards to computers, from fixed services to flexibility

The realm of electronic information underpins much of the Library's resources and services. We have added:

  • 100 additional client workstations
  • 240 study seats equipped with power outlets and access to the wireless network enabling students to use their own laptops or other electronic devices
  • Additional wireless network points for internet access
  • Access to more computer seats via the Level 1 Link to Student Central Computing Laboratories
  • Wireless cards and laptops available for loan
  • Print/copy facilities on each floor

Loading ...

UOW Library  |  Subject readings  |  A-Z journals  |  A-Z databases  |  Copyright  |  Research Online

Borrowing information | Document Delivery | Print, copy & scan

Ask Us  |  Tell Us