1992-2001: Bigger and better

This decade proved to be a period of significant change, growth and innovation.

In 1992, the long awaited extensions to Robertson Library were officially opened. The extended building, with its expanse of glass windows, offered a less austere facade to the campus.

The entry moved to level two where the refurbished Bookmark cafe welcomed patrons entering the building. The Library reorganised its collections and services to make good use of the extra space.

Vicki Williamson, the new University Librarian appointed in 1993, embraced strategic planning at a time when it was a novel approach. Through its planning process, the Library set an ambitious vision in which electronic information and the Internet would be the key components.

Making up lost ground, the Library launched its online catalogue in 1992, followed three years later by the implementation of a commercial library management system. Looking ahead, the Library entered into a Premier Partnership Agreement with Ex Libris, a leading provider of library automation systems, to upgrade to the full range of its products in 2002.

The provision of electronic information to clients was a priority. This meant both the early uptake of commercially available digital resources such as journal indexing databases and the creation of electronic content through endeavours such as the digital theses project and e-Reserve collection and development of a digital archive. The Library’s first website went live in 1995.

During the 1990s Curtin moved from a predominantly undergraduate environment to a university offering degrees and awards across the spectrum to doctoral level. Research activities grew significantly. The Library developed a new approach to service delivery for researchers – the senior librarian model – which embedded the work of librarians directly into the University’s academic faculties.

‘Reader education’ became ‘information literacy’ and the Library shifted to providing web-based products which fitted the University’s strategic focus on flexible delivery and self-directed learning.

Reflecting changes in the Library’s priorities and services, a significant refurbishment of Robertson Library was undertaken over 1998/1999, providing urgently needed upgrades of facilities and client spaces, as well as a new entrance, an expanded, state of the art Electronic Information Centre and two new training rooms.

Robertson Library after the completion of extensionsRobertson Library after the completion of extensions. Photographer Mike Nicholas.

Vicki Williamson, 1992Vicki Williamson was appointed University Librarian in April 1992. She joined Curtin Library in 1988 as Management Services Librarian after 10 years with the Armidale College of Advanced Education Library in New South Wales.

Her professional qualifications included a BA and Dip Ed from the University of New England, a Grad Dip in Advanced Librarianship from the Canberra College of Advanced Education and an MA from the University of Canberra. As University Librarian, she completed a doctorate researching ‘Innovation and change in professional practice: a case study’ in 1999.

Dr Williamson left Curtin Library in November 2001 to take up the position of Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Ballarat in Victoria. In 2006 she moved to the post of Dean of the University Library at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada.

Robertson Library home A concrete presence A centre for innovation Bigger and better A 21st century library Facts and figures