E.J. Barker Library

Mt Helen Campus

Site works and buildings began at Mt Helen Campus in March 1968 and one of the first is now known as the F building. Why is the F building so important? It is where the Federation University Australia Library was originally situated. Provisions were made for a small library positioned on the ground floor, with a Librarian's office and workshop attached, to service those departments already working from the campus. With relevant stock transferred from the SMB library, the Mount Helen Library was operational by the start of 1970.

In the November and December of 1971 contracts were signed for the construction of a four story library, Union buildings and student housing at Mt Helen. A committee to plan the Mt Helen Library was soon in place, consisting of the SMB Librarian Mollie Jardine, Architect Owen Williams, Building Development Manager Alan Webb and a senior library staff member Mr Rudakov. Construction began in 1971 on the current library building, at an estimated cost of $750,000.

When the library opened in 1973, it occupied only 2 stories of the current building. Books were transferred from the Engineering Building (F building) and SMB, excluding those belonging to the Art Department or those in use by SMB schools. Originally, patrons entered the library by the concrete walk-way on the first storey as other departments occupied the ground and lower floors.

The library grew rapidly with the assistance of a number of Commonwealth grants used to develop the collection. Bill Hitchins was appointed Reader Services Librarian and provided an essential service for an academic library. The number of staff had grown to eleven including three professional staff members and a collection of 42,000 books.

1975 saw an increase in demand across all Reader Services. This demand led to a printed library guide that gave instruction on how to use the card catalogue, how the Dewey Decimal system worked and general library rules and regulations.

1987 proved a coming of age year for the Federation University Australia Library (or at this stage, still the Ballarat College of Advanced Education) with the Library finally achieving an annual budget that exceeded 1 million dollars.

In 1988 the Teachers Resource Collection was added to the Library catalogue. The collection had previously been stored in the Education building, and was originally named after an Education lecturer, Mary Egan.

By 1989, a re-designed library entrance was in process, with the library now expected to occupy the top three floors of the library building, plus parts of the lower ground floor.

1990 - 1991 was a time of redevelopment, with the addition of the Flexible Study Area to the top floor. Chief Librarian Bill Hitchins, now with a staff of over twenty-five, was providing access to information on a global scale with the use of electronic databases and networks including links to the University of Melbourne.

2010 witnesses the completion of a new stage in the history of the Federation University Australia Library. A complete refurbishment and redevelopment of the Library includes new study and research areas including the Geoffrey Blainey Research Centre with access to the University's Art and Historical Collections.

Did you know that the library is actually called the E.J. (Jack) Barker Library?

Named after a former Principal of the School of Mines, E.J. Barker (Jack) was appointed as the first Director of the Ballarat College of Advanced Education (now Federation University Australia).

E.J. Barker, known as Jack, began his connection with the University and SMB in 1949, when he took up a lecturing position at the School of Mines (SMB). In 1960 he successfully became the first Vice-Principal of the institution, becoming Principal in 1964 and continuing in this position until 1976.

Jack resigned as Principal of SMB in order to take up the new position as Director at the Ballarat College of Advanced Education where he remained until 1987. For his services to education he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia. In addition to his position as Director, Jack also played an active part in the College Council from 1976 until 1994.

After his retirement in 1987, the College Council decided to name the Library in recognition of Jack's achievements. In a ceremony on the 13th of December, 1988, a plaque was unveiled, officially naming the library the E.J. Barker Library. 

E.J. Barker Library from rear

E.J. Barker Library from rear (Cat. No. 8481) 

E.J. (Jack) Barker

E.J. (Jack) Barker (Cat. No. 8525)