Margaret Medcalf

Margaret Medcalf BA DipEd ARMA FLAA

  • ALIA Fellowship 1986

Margaret Medcalf has been a leading figure in the library and archives profession. In 1961 she studied archive management in Britain and Europe and later worked with the London County Council Records Office.

She has been state archivist and principal librarian of the JS Battye Library of West Australian History since 1971 and has played a major role in conserving an important part of Western Australia's heritage. She has advised many public and private institutions on conservation procedures and systems for organising their collections.

In 1974 Miss Medcalf initiated a formal Oral History Program, for the first time appointing staff to work solely on the recording of living history, a major development in Western Australian librarianship. The oral history collection has made an impressive contribution to the historical resources of Western Australia and is available for research purposes.

An active member of the Library Association of Australia, Margaret served as a councilor on the Western Australian Branch for 19 years, including a period as Branch President in 1982. She has been a regular contributor to LAA biennial conferences, was a member of the organising committee for the 17th Biennial Conference which was held in Perth in 1973, and has been an examiner for the Registration Examination in Archives Organisation and Management.

She was an inaugural member of the selection panel for the FA Sharr Award, granted to an outstanding student of library science in an LAA accredited course in Western Australia.

Margaret Medcalf was president of the Archives Section of the LAA in 1973, inaugural convenor of the Western Australian Branch of the Australian Society of Archivists from 1982 to 1985 and is the convenor for the 1987 ASA National Conference to be held in Perth.

Her extensive interests in biography, librarianship, archives and bibliography are reflected in the many articles she has produced or co-authored. These include joint authorship, with Meroula Lukis of Finding aids for microfilm copies of Australian records in the Public Records Office and The Battye Library: two decades of development. She has been an active member of the Western Australian Working Party of the Australian dictionary of biography since 1979.

Margaret Medcalf's wide ranging community involvement is reflected in her membership of many organisations and committees. These include chairmanship of the Maritime Archaeology Advisory Committee to the Western Australian Museum from 1982, membership of two state sesquicentenary celebration committees, the Royal Western Australian Historical Society, the WA Branch Council of the Records Management Association of Australia, the Western Australian Heritage Committee, the Nomenclature Advisory Committee to the State Surveyor-general since 1977 and the Western Australian Biographical Index Committee since 1973. In 1977 she was appointed an honorary Associate of the Western Australian Museum.

Margaret Medcalf is currently chairman of the AACOBS (WA) State Committee and has been a member of that committee since its inception as the State Regional Committee in 1971. She is convenor of the WA steering committee for Australia: a bicentennial history section B, Historical bibliography and convenor of the Western Australian Committee for the Australian Bicentennial Authority Historic Records Search. She is a member of the State Film Archives Advisory Committee and a member and past president of the Zonta Club of Perth.

The Library Association of Australia believes that Margaret Medcalf's contribution to the fields of librarianship; archives and bibliography in Australia make her a very worthy recipient of the award of Fellowship of the Library Association of Australia.