WEST GIPPSLAND // A $5,000 bequest from local man Dr Robert Lowell has allowed the Warragul Library to create a new reference section.
Above: Warragul Library staff with part of the new collection. Photo: William PJ Kulich.
First published in the 25 September 2015 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen. All dates relative to then.
The books were officially added to the collection on Thursday of last week with a dedication ceremony.
At the ceremony a number of people who knew Dr Lowell spoke about their memories of him. Many acknowledged his kindness.
“This gesture is typical of Robert’s thoughtfulness, consideration. And I’m grateful we are acknowledging him,” one speaker said.
“He was one of the most careful thinkers. I’ve never heard him be uncouth in any way,” another added.
“There was something about Robert, there was a humanity. He was a real pleasure to know.”
Former librarians recalled talking to him, while another person who worked with him said he also had a tendency to give councillors a hard time.
“People who didn’t know him very well would have thought he was a very sober, humourless person. But he was a great guy,” they said.
Mount Worth ward councillor Murray Cook worked with Dr Lowell and noted his modesty: “I don’t think we would’ve got Robert here today” were he still alive.
The collection is large and a great gain for the Warragul Library. Principal librarian Kathie Olden told the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen it will be of great use to the town.
“It’s just a significant collection,” she said.
“There’s a number of items that are fairly costly, so we normally may not be able to add those items to our collection, but it gives everyone access to these really high quality materials.
“There are art books, architecture, sculpture, history, politics, and there’s a little bit of other interesting material there too about railways.”
A few cooking books also feature in the collection, as well as many books on modern art – everything from Arthur Boyd and books on classic comics to the art of the present day, as well as historical art.
“Our collection services team did a little bit of research to find out what some of his interests were, and they tried to reflect those interests in their purchasing, and I think they’ve done a splendid job,” Ms Olden said.
“I don’t actually recall meeting him. I wish I had, because when you look at the books, I sort of thought ‘gee this would be an interesting person to sit down and talk to.'”
You can look through and borrow from the collection at the library, where for now the new books are being displayed separately.
Unlike most books owned by the West Gippsland Regional Library Corporation which float between libraries, Dr Lowell’s books will always be shelved at Warragul library.
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