Earle Gow

Earle Gow BA FALIA

  • ALIA Fellowship 1992

Earle Gow has given over thirty years distinguished service to Australian libraries and the profession, since he entered it in 1961 at the University of Western Australia library. He moved to the then Canberra College of Advanced Education Library in 1969, was appointed deputy university librarian at the University of Queensland in 1982, and has been chief librarian at La Trobe University since 1986.

His impressive achievements at La Trove University have included gaining the University's support for enhanced funding for the purchase of library materials, the thorough planning and successful implementation of the amalgamation of library services of La Trobe University and the Lincoln Institute of Health Sciences in 1987-88, and major improvements in the library's computer facilities.

The profession and the Australian Library and Information Association benefit greatly from senior practitioners who, in addition to their paid responsibilities, exercise wider leadership in the communities in which they are employed. Earle Gow has done this very strongly throughout his career. His participation at a very senior level in the governance of La Trobe University where he is a member of the Academic Board, the Finance Committee, the Vice-Chancellor's Advisory Committee, and the Budget Review Committee, has brought credit to the profession. Most important has been his work in recent years as a member of the University's Strategic Planning Committee, a committee of the Academic Board set up to prepare a strategic plan for the University into the next century.

Earle Gow has been an active member of the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) since 1986, and was its deputy chairman from 1987-89. He has also been a director of CAVAL Ltd, the Victorian Co-operative of Academic Libraries, for the last six years and a strong supporter of its programs, in particular the COOL-CAT project and the co-operative storage program. He was a major influence in strengthening the CAVAL Board's resolve to weather successfully a period of financial crisis for the organisation in 1989-90.

An active member of the Australian Library and Information Association, Earle has held offices including that of General Councillor in 1973-74, a member of the Role of the Library Association of Australia Review Committee in 1974 and has participated in the work of several biennial conference committees. He has also been a major participant in the activities of the Australian Advisory Council on Bibliographical Services (AACOBS) prior to 1988, and of its successor the Australian Council of Libraries and Information Services (ACLIS) since then. He was a vigorous and informed member of the AACOBS National Council in 1976 and from 1980-88. Earle was elected the first president of ACLIS at is National Council meeting in October 1988 and went on to serve two terms. It is incontestable that the success of ACLIS is in no small part due to the leadership and credibility he gave the organisation as its first president.

Earle Gow has had a strong interest in research in librarianship for most of his career. Since 1978, he has exercised this interest through activities in AACOBS and subsequently ACLIS. He was the chair of the AACOBS Working Party on Research and Development from 1980-88, with a major achievement being that of the convening of the AACOBS National Workshop held in Brisbane in 1984 in conjunction with the LAA Biennial Conference. The workshop focused on a research agenda for library and information science in the 1980s and established a rigorous and carefully crafted framework for research activities in Australia. Earle carried his interest in research across to ACLIS when it was established in 1988. Although ACLIS handles the research agenda differently to the AACOBS practice of having a dedicated working party, it has in the last four years initiated several major research projects with Earle Gow being a key influence on their funding, development and control.

A Fellowship of the Australian Library and Information Association may be conferred by the General Council on a professional member who 'has made a distinguished and sustained contribution to the theory and/or practice of librarianship'. The General Council believes the Earle Gow well meets these requirements, and that the award of the distinction of Fellow of the Association is a justified recognition of his services to our profession.