Basser Library and Fenner Archives to remain with Academy

April 16, 2018
Green leather chair with bookshelves in background
The Basser Library and Fenner Archives are to remain at the Academy’s Shine Dome in Canberra.

The Academy’s Basser Library and Fenner Archives are to remain at the Shine Dome in Canberra.

The Council of the Australian Academy of Science made a decision in 2016 to preserve the historically significant holdings of the Academy’s Basser Library and Fenner Archives—particularly the collections in the archives—by improving conservation conditions for each collection. The Council also decided to explore options for relocating the collections to publicly focused institutions.

The Academy is close to completing the physical conservation of collections in archive-quality folders and boxes, and removing fasteners that may in time damage material. We have also greatly improved the quality of data we hold about each collection.

Regarding the possible relocation of collections, however, we have discovered that the original records we hold for the majority of collections do not meet the stringent requirements of institutions such as the National Library of Australia and universities that we had considered approaching. This means that we are effectively unable to relocate collections.

We will therefore retain the library books and the archival collections at the Academy and provide access for researchers by arrangement, with the long-term view to professionally digitising important historical content—the latter depending on substantial, special-purpose funding. Society collections will also be retained.

We thank the expertise of the Task Force that was convened in 2015 to advise Council on the original decision. Our aim is very much still to obtain the best outcome possible given that we are a small organisation.

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