A brief statement concerning the future of the LMI Legacy Collection
1. In terms of significance of the LMI holdings in comparison with other remaining Mechanics' Institute collections in Australia, it appears that the LMI holdings are one of only two such highly valued large collections, the other being the Adelaide Circulating Library Collection housed in the South Australian State Library. But the largely intact Launceston MI Library Collection is dated from the 1840's when the other significant Mechanics' Institute Library Collections remaining in Australia date, at least from the 1850's. Surely this renders the Launceston Collection as highly significant?
This typical Mechanics' Institute Library Collection is very special indeed in a national context as the earliest entire and complex literary remnant of the influential Mechanics' Institute Libraries Movement , which flourished all over Australia. Collections such as these form the basis upon which our present public library and technical education systems were based and are an essential narrative to the understanding of our cultural, educational, literary and early European settlement in Australia.
2. I feel strongly that parts of this collection not be sold, that the collection be catalogued and assessed and that ultimately the collection be retained in total as a discrete collection. It is of utmost importance that it remains and is cared for as an invaluable unique and important Tasmanian as well as Australian cultural heritage.
Author: If the Walls Could Speak: a social history of the Mechanics' Institutes of Victoria, 2000. (Currently being revised for publication in 2014.)