Library facilities

The first Library (building C7A) opened in 1967 and delivered best-practice traditional library services to the university for over 40 years. The existing Library (building C3C) opened in 2011 and continues best practice service delivery in a twenty first century environment.

1987 -2005
Adapting the Library to new technology and learning styles

After 20 years of operation (during which stage 1-4 for the old Library were implemented), discussions around plans to extend and refurbish the old Library to Stage 5 began. Extensive research was conducted and a number of alternative proposals for refurbishment were submitted. A co-generation plant was built beside the old Library.

The vision for the existing library emerged in 2002, at a time when learning styles were becoming more collaborative and technology was transforming education. At this time the University Council approves $32m in University's Capital Plan for refurbishment and extension of the old Library.  In 2003/2004, MoveCorp Pty Ltd facilitated the development of a Facilities Master Plan for the Library.

2006 - 2011
A new Library with an Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS), planned, built and opened

In 2006, the proposal for $26m extension and $38.2m refurbishment of old Library building was not approved and alternative solutions were requested by the then Vice-Chancellor, Stephen Schwartz.

Later in 2006, the University Council approved a budget of $70m (excl GST) to build a new Library incorporating an ASRS. Architects with experience in designing educational/library buildings were invited to submit designs.

In 2007, CRI Australia Pty Ltd were appointed as Project Managers for the new Library project. 
A Project Control Group was established with members from the Library, Office of Facilities Management (OFM) and CRI.

A competitive design process resulted in the University Council approving the selection of architects Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp(fjmt)

During 2008, approvals, tenders and contracts are completed. In October the first sod was turned on the new Library site, with a traditional Smoking Ceremony.

In 2009, the contract for Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) was executed with HK Systems Inc. This was the first contract for such a system to be installed in an Australian library.  In March 2009, A W Edwards began design and construction. By the end of May, the bulk excavation of the site was completed, tower cranes began work and the first concrete slab was poured.

The original Library was closed on 24 July 2011.

A sustainable 21st Century learning and research environment

In February 2011, the (new) Library opened on March 28th 2011 as a study space on levels 3-5.

The Library opened for full service on July 25th 2011 and was officially opened on August 8th 2011.

The Library provides a sustainable 21st Century learning and research environment that facilitates interactions between people and knowledge. The building design was inspired by the native parklands of the campus with an emphasis on environmental sustainability, light and connection. The Library occupies approximately the same square meterage (footprint) as the old Library, but has triple the number of seats available.

Macquarie University was the first University in Australia to install an Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) in its Library. The ASRS, or Automated Retrieval Collection (ARC) consists of an environmentally controlled vault with metal bins storing the items. Currently 80% of the Library’s print collection is stored in the Automated Retrieval Collection (ARC).

For more information about the building see Sustainable building

Former University Librarians

David Barry Scott, OBE

Macquarie University Foundation Librarian
1965 - 1970


Barry Scott was Macquarie University's first University Librarian and came to Macquarie from his alma mater, the University of Queensland, where he was Deputy University Librarian from 1960 and Acting University Librarian from 1963.

Barry's tenure as University Librarian was cut short by his death from cancer on 9 January 1970. His achievements however were considerable and his legacy memorable.

Barry became closely involved in the design and layout of the first library building in 1964 and heavily influenced the design of the first stage of the original building a couple of years later.

Utterly convinced of the central role of a library in the teaching program of a significant university, he fought for the establishment of a full library service to be in place by the time the University began accepting students. He made the significant choice of the Library of Congress Classification System for the library's resources, something which was unusual for the time.

Significantly, Barry fostered the integration of classes in information retrieval in student programs, a goal that the library pursues to this day.

Barry participated in the life of the University at many levels. He was a member of the Academic Senate of the University, President of the Staff Association and served on the board of the union. Outside the University he worked for the betterment of libraries and librarians with the Library Association of Australia, Library Promotion Councils and in schools with an interest in the development of their libraries.

Harrison Bryan, University Librarian at Sydney University, in his funeral address for Barry Scott declared that as librarian and a person he had left the world a better place than he had found it. One example of this was the year of service Barry committed to UNESCO in Ankara where he worked to extend and improve the under-developed library services of Turkey.

Barry Scott's legacy is, as Mansfield and Hutchinson (1) have recorded, imperishable by any accounting. Looking back, perhaps his stellar achievement was the embedding of the position of the library in the teaching programs of the University.

Mollie Thomson

Acting University Librarian (1970)
Deputy Librarian (1971-1980)


Mollie Thomson graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Arts and Diploma of Education. She worked firstly as a high school teacher, then as a teacher librarian, before becoming a librarian at the State Library of New South Wales in 1951. She trained primarily under the mentorship of Jean Arnot, before becoming a cataloguer and reference librarian at Vancouver Public Library in 1954-58. She also worked as an indexer with the Canadian Library Association in Ottawa before returning to Australia in 1958 to join the staff of the National Library of Australia. Mollie returned to North America in 1960 as New York Liaison Officer of the National Library of Australia (1960-63) and while in New York she gained the degree of Master of Science in Librarianship at Columbia University.

Mollie Thomson became Head Cataloguer at the National Library of Australia in 1964. After a brief period of service at Monash University, she was appointed to the newly established Macquarie University where she was successively Head Cataloguer (1966), Technical Services Librarian (1967), and following the sudden death of the University Librarian, Mr. Barry Scott in 1970, became Acting Librarian. Following the appointment of Eoin Wilkinson as University Librarian she served as Deputy Librarian from 1971 until her death on 21 October 1980 after a long illness. Shortly after her death she was awarded the distinction of Fellowship of the Library Association of Australia in recognition of her outstanding contributions to librarianship.

Mollie Thomson is remembered with affection and admiration by all who knew her as a consummate cataloguer and as the epitome of the complete librarian. Throughout her career she was able to inspire library staff and administrators alike to believe that institutional, professional and national goals were achievable. Mollie played a vital role in the design of the Library building, and in bringing works of art into Macquarie University Library on a scale not previously seen in any Australian academic library.

A stained glass window commissioned by the Library from funds donated in memory of Mollie Thomson. Designed by South Australian artist, Cedar Prest, it was unveiled on 22 July 1984. The design elements reflect Mollie's love of Australian wildflowers.

Eoin Wilkinson

Macquarie University Librarian


Eoin Wilkinson came to Macquarie University from the Barr Smith Library at the University of Adelaide where he was Deputy Librarian. He had previously been a librarian at Hawkesbury Agricultural College, the Department of Agriculture, and Assistant Librarian in charge of services at the University of New South Wales.

Eoin's keen interest in librarianship was first demonstrated when he was made Head Librarian in his final year at Knox Grammar in Sydney. He later became a part-time lecturer in the School of Librarianship at the University of New South Wales, was involved in the plans to reorganise that university's diploma courses in library practice and was a member of the School of Library and Information Studies Advisory Committee at Ku-ring-gai College of Advanced Education.

Eoin was a scholarship masters student at the University of Chicago, the premier library school in North America, and was also awarded a grant by the Carnegie Corporation of New York to study libraries. In 1967-68 he was able to spend nine months in Europe and North America studying library buildings.

The administration and organisation of libraries was one of Eoin's strengths. As University Librarian at Macquarie University, he had considerable input into the planning of stage IV of the Macquarie library. The building was significantly enlarged, allowing improved provisions for special collections. Eoin's introduction of an After Hours Reading Annexe was extremely popular with students.

Recognising the limits on what individual libraries could achieve, Eoin Wilkinson promoted co-operation between libraries. An example of this recognition is his early commitment to the Australian Bibliographic Network (ABN) which allows library catalogues and other resources to be shared between libraries. His foresight extended to the introduction of machine readable records, forerunners perhaps of the information age.

Eoin and his Deputy, Mollie Thomson served the interests of library staff by promoting training and development of relevant skills. He served university libraries widely as a member of the Committee of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) and the Australian Advisory Council on Bibliographic Services (AACOBS).

Before he retired, Eoin Wilkinson established a group of supporters for the library - the Library Friends. He remained an active member of this group until his death on 14 April 2004.

Barrie Mitcheson

Macquarie University Librarian


Barrie Mitcheson came to Macquarie University Library from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology where he held the position of Institute Librarian. Barrie has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Newcastle (1971), a Diploma of Business Studies and qualified as a librarian in 1964.

In 1983 he was President of the Library Association of Australia (now Australian Library and Information Association). Always active in the association, Barrie had also been a Victorian General Councillor and member of its General Council Manpower Subcommittee.

Barrie's time at Macquarie University library coincided with a marked increase in the development of information technologies and a concern about what that would mean for libraries in general and academic libraries in particular.

In 1984 Barrie wrote "libraries have not been superseded by technology but rather have absorbed technology in a melding process to provide a broader base on which to mount sophisticated and efficient information services". (1)

As University Librarian at Macquarie he was keen to ensure that libraries did not lose this ground. He felt it was crucial that academic librarians should be represented along with IT specialists in the implementation of information technology. He explored the possibility of converging Macquarie University's Office of Computing Services (OCS) with the library.

In 1995 Barrie was seconded to the position of Coordinator, University Information Technology Strategic Planning, a position established by the Vice Chancellor, Di Yerbury. He produced a report on strategic planning for information technology in the library which contributed to the foundation of a converged group, the new Division of Information Services. The division brought together the Library and the Office of Computing Services and added the Centre for Flexible Learning. The objective of the merger was to provide a more co-ordinated and more integrated provision of information technology services. Barrie was appointed to head the new division as Executive Director for two years.

After leaving Macquarie Library in 1998 he was appointed Acting Executive Director, Division of Information Services and Systems at the Hawkesbury Campus of the University of Western Sydney.

(1) Mitcheson, B, "Libraries and Information Technology", Technological Change: Impact of Information Technology. 1984.

Neil McLean

Macquarie University Librarian
1996 - 2001


Prior to returning to Australia in 1990, Neil McLean was Director of the Library and Information Technology Centre at the Polytechnic of Central London. Neil joined Macquarie University as Associate Librarian in 1990. Following a period as Deputy University Librarian, Neil was appointed University Librarian in 1996.

Neil had a particular interest in the application of information technology to library and information services, and contributed extensively to national and international thinking on the subject through publications, conference papers and representation on external committees including the NSW Information Technology Advisory Council, Standards Australia, IT19 Committee - Computer Applications, Information and Documentation, and the Australian Bibliographic Network Committee.

During Neil's time as University Librarian, the Library staff, as well as the wider University community, became very familiar with words such as 'interoperability', 'synergy', and 'metadata'. Neil's enthusiasm for the 'big picture' was boundless and he was very keen to communicate these ideas. His explanations were often accompanied by intricate diagrams of intersecting shapes and shaded boxes, all of which made sense while the author was there to explain.

Under Neil's guidance the Library became involved in a number of national and international projects to incorporate technology into Library operations. Of particular note was the Local Interlending and Document Delivery Administration System (LIDDAS) project which set out to revolutionise the way our interlibrary loan business was conducted. Macquarie was Australia's first university library to embrace a preference for electronic journals over print.

In 2002, Professor McLean was appointed as Macquarie University Pro Vice Chancellor (Academic) with a primary responsibility for the newly formed eLearning and Information Services Division while continuing in his role as Director IMS Australia.

Penny Carnaby

Macquarie University Librarian
January 2002 - January 2003


Penny Carnaby was the first female to be appointed University Librarian at Macquarie University. Penny came to Macquarie in 2000 as Deputy University Librarian. Previously she was the Director of the Education Resource Centre, Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology in New Zealand.

Originally a teacher librarian, Penny graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and Diploma of Education from the University of New South Wales, and library qualifications from Leeds Polytechnic in the UK.

Before coming to Australia, Penny was President of the Library and Information Association of New Zealand (LIANZA) and was instrumental in developing a national information strategy for New Zealand.

Penny continued her interest in information literacy in Australia. While University Librarian at Macquarie, she was involved in the implementation of a generic information skills program for students. The goal of the information literacy program was to give students the skills necessary to access evolving information technologies and to use identified resources critically and intelligently.

One of Penny's initiatives was to increase the number of academic outreach librarians to nine, and embed the generic skills program across the university.

Another of her initiatives brought colour to the drab Library interior, which was dominated by concrete and natural timber. Interesting feature walls, blue carpet, and coloured functional pieces made the library a much brighter place to work. Penny also oversaw the refurbishment of the Mollie Thomson Room and introduced curved desks at library service points.

In 2003 Penny Carnaby resigned as Macquarie University Librarian to become National Librarian of New Zealand.

Maxine Brodie

Macquarie University Librarian
2003 - 2012

Former University Librarian - Maxine Brodie

Maxine Brodie was appointed as University Librarian at Macquarie University in February 2003. She moved to Macquarie in 2002 as Deputy University Librarian after working for five years as Director of Information Technology at the State Library of New South Wales. Prior to this, Maxine spent fourteen years as a senior manager in client, collection and management services at the University of Technology, Sydney, where she also played an active part in IT Strategic Planning for both the Library and the academic and administrative areas of the University.

Maxine qualified as a mathematics teacher in 1974 and as a librarian and Associate of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) in 1976. She completed a Master of Business Administration at Macquarie University in 1996 and was awarded an Allan Knott Scholar's Medal for academic merit at graduation. She was always active in professional activities within ALIA and was Chair of the Standards Association of Australia Committee IT/19.

Maxine had a strong professional interest in the application of Information Technology to improve service provision, and in the vital role of information workers in the electronic age. She published several articles and conference papers on library/IT planning and service issues. 

One of Maxine's most significant achievements was seeing a new library building constructed at Macquarie, completed in 2011. Her foresight to create the first library in Australia that houses much of its collection in an Automated Storage and Retrieval System effectively transformed the library into a user-centred space that caters for the changing demands of 21st century learning.

Maxine retired as University Librarian in December 2012.

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