THE September Annual General Meeting of the Book Collectors’ Society of Australia in Sydney was held at what has now become our regular venue: the meeting rooms of the Uniting Church in the northern suburb of Turramurra. This change in venue was arranged for us by Janet Robinson, whose name may already be known to readers, since she has published previously in Biblionews. At that meeting our President since the death of Dr Ben Haneman, Dr Neil Radford, expressed his wish to step down from the position, and Janet Robinson was elected President to replace him. Long-standing member and former Treasurer Rose Smith for health reasons did not wish to remain on the Committee and was replaced by Dr Radford, who is Reviews Editor. The Society expresses it thanks to Neil and Rose for their contributions over the years in their former positions.
Following the business part of the AGM, a more detailed account of which will appear in the December issue, Janet’s husband Gordon Robinson presented a paper on the collecting of Penguin books. The quality of the colour plates in my article on German illustrated Insel-Bücherei books and King Penguins in the June issue has brought much praise from readers, and here I would like to thank again our computer man John Newland for this excellent result, though some thanks must also go to the staff of the Sydney University Printing Service for their work. The additional cost of the colour plates in that issue gobbled up pretty well all the savings made incidentally from our having published only two “double” issues of Biblionews in 2004 instead of the four single issues, so, though we may not be able to be quite so prolix with our use of colour plates in future issues, colour will remain a possible feature of article illustrations, as in the present issue.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the editing of my own article in the June issue, I cannot claim John Newland’s level of perfection in the case of colour reproduction. Though I read the thing through on screen a number of times, slip-ups still escaped me: on p.61 “Paul Faean’s Cornstalk Bookshop” should have read “Paul Feain’s…” and the quotation in the second last paragraph of that page “The King Penguin Books were started…killed in an air-raid” should have been indented and italicised. (I must say I am no fan of the new-fangled business of both indenting and italicising such quotations, the former being sufficient for me, but had I done it here it might have prevented the error in the conversion from my original formatting to that for the journal. Perhaps for readers it also breaks up the text and makes it visually more appealing.) On p.71 in the fourth last line of the main text “cause” should read “caused”. Otherwise there are just a couple of formatting and punctuation inconsistencies in the illustration captions. Perfection continues to elude me. (Oh, and in creating a new verb to envelópe = ‘to put into envelopes’ – as opposed to the usual verb envélop ‘to surround and cover’ – I put the main stress on the wrong syllable: it should have been énvelope, of course.)
Incidentally, I said in my editorial to the March 2005 issue that we had around 250 members. It may be interesting to note that some 30 of these are actually libraries, public and university. Within Australia, in NSW there are three public libraries and three university libraries, in Victoria, South Australia and Queensland one of each, in Western Australia and Tasmania one public library each, and in the ACT two public libraries (including the National Library of Australia) and one university library. Overseas there is in New Zealand one public library (the Turnbull Library in Wellington), while there are in Britain two public (The British Library and the National Library of Scotland) and two university (Oxbridge) libraries, in the United States of America three of each (including the Library of Congress), in Canada the National Library, and in Germany one university library (Wuppertal). This means that Biblionews gets exposure well beyond the individual members in Australia and abroad. This is also why, in editing articles for publication in our journal, I try to gloss expressions and expand abbreviations that may not be known to people outside Australia. This issue of Biblionews contains two papers presented to Sydney meetings of the Society. The first, Richard Blair’s, was given at the Sydney meeting held at Turramurra Uniting Church on 4 June 2005. I have long been pursuing Richard to provide an article on his collections and am more than pleased to be able to publish this one on his collection of books on cricket, the more so because this particular sport is so much in the news in Australia at present. The article is richly provided with illustrations, including colour ones, which we are organising in a somewhat different way from in the June issue. I hope some time in the future to get another contribution from him on his collection of local histories.
The second paper is by Alan Ventress, who has published previously in Biblionews and has moved on since from his position at the State Library of New South Wales. His paper, exploiting his new position at the State Records Authority of New South Wales, was presented at the meeting held in the Fisher Library at the University of Sydney on 5 March this year. This was, of course, the meeting where the crisis caused by the resignation from their many offices by Jeff and Betty Bidgood was discussed and resolved. (The Society has on previous occasions held meetings in that venue, sometimes joint ones with the Friends of the University Library—of which group I am also a member—and is always grateful to the University Librarian for the opportunity to do so.)
My thanks go again to Colin Steele for keeping us supplied with book reviews. I also draw readers’ attention to the advertisements appearing in this issue.