By 2003 the JCPML had been publicly operating for five years so the acting University Librarian thought it appropriate to have it reviewed as part of the University Library’s continuous improvement cycle. The review was undertaken by George Nichols, former Director General of the National Archives of Australia.
The report was very favourable, calling the JCPML as “a small treasure of which the University can be proud”. It was described as “a first-class institution which is admired and respected for its work” nationally and internationally, including by the major cultural and collecting institutions with whom it had collaborated, and copied by others who sought to emulate its success. The University was urged to publicly acknowledge the JCPML’s success and confirm its continuation.
While its outreach programs were praised, some concern was raised regarding the Library’s support for research within the University, especially the Faculty of Humanities. This highlighted a long-standing dilemma for the JCPML. It had not been established to support the University’s research community and had not come out of a research interest of the University’s. By 2003, however, there were questions about whether this was still appropriate and how the JCPML ought to be supporting the University’s current scholarship priorities.
The report was prescient in noting some changes which had occurred since the conception and establishment of the Library, and some issues which would need to be grappled with in the near future. It observed that changes in management arrangements had occurred, with the introduction of several management layers between the JCPML and the Vice Chancellor, and the devolution of not only management but the public face of the JCPML to the Archivist. The pros and cons of the JCPML operating as a “normal unit” of the University Library were canvassed and some of the challenges currently facing it were identified, including in space, funding and visitor numbers. These would indeed come to the fore as times continued to change.
- Lesley Carman-Brown, Kandy-Jane Henderson and Lesley Wallace, “Australia’s First Prime Ministerial Library: Past and Future,” AARL, 36, no.1 (2005): 12.
- George Nichols, “Report on the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library at Curtin University of Technology” (unpublished internal Curtin University Library report, 2003), typescript, 2-3.
- Nichols, “Report,” 4.
- Kandy-Jane Henderson, interview by Heather Campbell, 4 April 2011, transcript, John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library, Perth, WA, JCPML01295/1, 3.;
Nichols, “Report,” 17-18.
- Nichols, “Report,” 8-9.
- Nichols, “Report,” 25.
- Nichols, “Report,” 10, 22, 24, 25, 27.