Melbourne Students & Learning - Research Publications
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ItemA tale of two libraries: the Melbourne/Griffith exchange programHill, K. J. ( 2011)This paper describes an exchange program between the libraries of The University of Melbourne and Griffith University. The paper covers the reasons behind the decision to arrange an exchange, the preparations, the actual exchange experience and the follow up. The advantages for professional and personal development and the value of bringing staff from two university libraries together in a co-operative program are also explained. The initial exchange involved a team of Senior Library Service Officers from The University of Melbourne, who participated in a five-day visit to Griffith University. Two team members were based at the Griffith University Gold Coast campus and the other member was at the South Bank (Brisbane) campus. This took place in August and September 2010 and was followed by a reciprocal visit to The University of Melbourne by a team from Griffith University. The main aims were for the team members to observe the functioning of another academic library, and to facilitate discussion and the interchange of ideas. Although Griffith University Library has a similar academic role to the author's home library, it was found that a number of influences helped to create distinctive characteristics at the two libraries. Influences include the location of the Griffith Gold Coast campus within a tourism region and The University of Melbourne Campus in an inner-city area. Climate also plays a part, as does the age of the two universities. Melbourne's traditional heritage and the more recently established Griffith campuses have contributed to the contrast in their layout and physical environment. A further distinction was Melbourne's research-based collection and Griffith's subject-based collection, which appear to be products of each university’s individual philosophy. This exchange program with Griffith University was an excellent opportunity for both professional and personal development. The skills and knowledge gained enabled the author to expand her vision for the future of the academic library and provided a variety of aspects that could be discussed with colleagues at her home library. To be able to speak face-to-face with the staff at Griffith and to observe the way in which another library functions were invaluable. It is an experience that can only be given the highest recommendation and it is suggested that further exchange programs between university libraries would be a worthwhile professional and personal development exercise.