Betty Doubleday

Betty CL Doubleday, OBE, MA, FLAA

Obituary in The Australian Library Journal, March 1977, p. 40

Betty C. L Doubleday, OBE, MA, FLAA, Chief Librarian of CSIRO from 1954-1973, died suddenly at her home in Melbourne on 7 December, 1976, after a short illness.

Miss Doubleday was widely known throughout the library and information community and not only played a major part in building the organisation's library and information network but also made a significant contribution to the development of library services in this country.

Within CSIRO, Betty Doubleday’s contribution to Australian bibliography was noteworthy, with the initiation, for example, of the regular publication of Australian Science Index, CSIRO Abstracts,  the directories Scientific and Technical Research Centres and Australian Scientific Societies and Professional Associations and, importantly, the conception of the loose-leaf successor to Pitt's Catalogue - Scientific Serials in Australian Libraries. Numerous subject bibliographies were also conceived or continued under her guidance.

She also made a significant contribution to the profession of librarianship in Australia. She served on the Standing Committee of the Australian Advisory Council on Bibliographical Services from its formation in 1956 until her retirement, and also in a number of official capacities in the Library Association of Australia, of which she was President for 1962-63. Her advice on library and related matters was widely sought and her services much in demand by the Australian government and other bodies. In 1959, she undertook a comprehensive survey of all Government departmental libraries and, again in 1965, as a member of a Working Party of the Public Service Board,  the National Library, and CSIRO, played a major role in redefining library qualifications and salaries in the government sector.

As a woman holding relatively high office in a predominantly male-dominated society, her path was not always an easy one. However, with an incisive mind and articulate voice and a determination for maximum achievement, she made a contribution to CSIRO and the Australian community which was fittingly recognized in the honour of the OBE, which was conferred on her in 1972.

Miss Doubleday’s funeral service, held at St John's Church of England, Toorak, on Thursday, 9 December, was attended by a large gathering of friends and former colleagues. The many tributes included flowers from those organisations with which she had been most closely associated and provided testimony not only to the esteem in which Betty Doubleday was held but also the contribution which she has made to her profession.