Children's Literature Research Collections

The Special Collection contains a number of collections relating to children's literature, including the Children's Literature Research Collection, the Children's Book Council of Australia - Victorian Branch Collection and the Barbara Elkhorne Collection.

Children's Literature Research Collection

This collection started in 1985 with a donation of 1,500 children's books from Mrs Hilary Stott. Since then the collection has grown by purchase and donation. The collection consists mainly of 19th and early 20th century children's books, including Australian and overseas picture books, fiction, poetry and folktales. The collection is particularly strong in girls' and boys' adventure albums and material with an Empire theme.

The Children's Literature Research Collection provides evidence of what children were reading at home. It is complemented by the Australian Schools Textbook Collection which provides evidence of what children were reading at school. The Children's Literature Research Collection can be consulted in the reading room of the Alfred Deakin Prime Ministerial Library, Sally Walker Building, Geelong Waterfront Campus during opening hours.

Children's Book Council (Vic.) and Barbara Elkhorne Collections

The Children's Book Council (Vic. branch) have deposited the Dame Ada Norris research collection with Deakin University Library. The collection consists of past winners and notable books for the Australian Children's Book of the Year award since the inception of the Council in 1945. Also included are shortlisted books for the Crichton Award for the first publication by an emerging illustrator and a selection of other Australian award winning children's literature. Deakin staff, students and others are encouraged to access the collection for research purposes. The collection is housed in a secure area within the Library at Burwood Campus.

Barbara Elkhorne was a Children's Librarian who was born and educated in the United States and worked in various public and school libraries in the U.S. and Australia. She was involved with the Children's Book Council and was an enthusiastic advocate of children's literature. During her lifetime she amassed a significant collection of children's fiction, non-fiction and book character soft toys. After her death, her husband donated her collection to the Children's Book Council and in 1997 it was deposited with Deakin University with the rest of the Council's collection. It is also housed securely within the Library at Burwood Campus.

Identifying and locating material in the catalogue

Items in the Children's Literature Collections are listed in the Library Catalogue. Material from the Collection has the prefixes:

ADPML SPCHL (Children's Literature Research Collection; located at Geelong Waterfront Campus)
SPCBC (Children's Book Council of Australia - Victorian Branch Collection; located at Melbourne Campus, Burwood)
SPELK (Barbara Elkhorne Collection; located at Melbourne Campus, Burwood)

The Children's Literature collections at Waterfront may be consulted within the reading room of the Alfred Deakin Prime Ministerial Library, Sally Walker Building, Geelong Waterfront Campus. Collections housed at Melbourne Campus, Burwood may be requested at the Information Desk in the Library.

Research Projects

The Children's Literature Collections provide excellent research resources for:

  • History of illustration and art
  • History of children's publishing
  • Empire studies - 'brave sons and daughters of the Empire'
  • Growth of nationalism
  • Perceptions of class, race and gender
  • Perceptions of cultural and social history
  • Folklore, through lullabies, fairy tales, nursery rhymes

Exhibition

'Brave Sons of the Empire' is an online exhibition of boys' adventure books from the collection.

Other Web Sites of Interest

Children's Literature Collections (State Library of Victoria)
Children's Literature Web Guide
The Lu Rees Archives of Australian Children's Literature (University of Canberra)
The Children's Book Council of Australia
Dromkeen: the home of Australian Children's Book Illustration

Page custodian: Library
Last updated:

Back to top