John Oxley Library Award

As Australia’s leading library of Queensland's documentary heritage, the John Oxley Library plays a vital role in the development and communication of Queensland memory.

The John Oxley Library Award recognises an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the appreciation of Queensland history. This annual Award is granted to promote the value of historical knowledge and its role in shaping Queenslanders' understanding of themselves and each other. The achievement recognised may relate to any aspect of Queensland's social, political, economic and cultural life; and may take any form, occurring in any context, and extending over any period of time.

2017 John Oxley Library Award

Dr Spencer Routh OAM Dr Spencer Routh OAM is awarded the 2017 John Oxley Library Award for his life-long dedication to libraries and the information sector and in recognition of his commitment to researching the collections of the John Oxley Library and State Library in order to represent and record aspects of the social history of Queensland.

Dubbed “a lover of libraries” by the state’s extensive community of researchers, historians, student body and library profession, Spencer has dedicated many years to researching the Queensland story and recording this knowledge for future generations with a thirst for understanding Queensland.

Spencer’s personal and professional achievements include:

  • The prestigious Lilley Memorial Medal, Brisbane Grammar School, 1949.
  • Lecturer, Department of English, University of Queensland in late 1950s.
  • Master of Science, Columbia University, New York, USA.
  • Appointed first Reference Librarian, University of Queensland in 1959. This role spanned 42 years at UQ.
  • Most notably, recruited to Queensland’s working party in 1975 for the Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australia's pre-eminent dictionary of national biography. Spencer has contributed 21 essays on Queensland identities and individuals who have helped shape and influence Queensland since the late 1800s and 1900s.
  • In 2011, awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to libraries, the profession and a champion of Queensland history.

Listen to Spencer talk about his personal accomplishments in the oral interview, now part of the Queensland Stories collection of the State Library of Queensland. Interviewer Christina Ealing-Godbold, Librarian, State Library of Queensland.

Read more about Spencer on SLQ Today - “A lover of libraries” by Christina Ealing-Godbold, Librarian, State Library of Queensland.

If you have any questions please email qldmemory@slq.qld.gov.au.

View past winners of the John Oxley Library Award.

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