Ellinor Archer

Ellinor Archer MBE, Bsc, MSc, FLAA (1893-1979)

Excerpt from Australian Dictionary of Biography entry

Educated at the Church of England Girls' Grammar School, Melbourne, and the University of Melbourne (BSc, 1916; MSc, 1918), after graduating she became a government research scholar in botany and joined the teaching staff of Trinity College.

In November 1918 Archer was appointed secretary and investigator to the special committee on seed improvement of the Advisory Council of Science and Industry (Commonwealth Institute of Science and Industry from 1920).

In May 1923 she took charge of the institute's library; following the inauguration (1926) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, her post was reclassified in 1929 as librarian and scientific assistant. She was secretary to the citrus preservation committee, compiled a register of agricultural research, and was effectively head librarian and supervisor of libraries in divisions and experimental stations. Visiting scientific libraries in Britain in 1936, she studied the universal decimal classification and, on her return, encouraged its introduction in CSIR libraries. Her title was changed to Chief Librarian in January 1946.

A foundation member (1937) and first female president (1948-49) of the Australian Institute of Librarians, Archer made a lasting contribution to her profession. She had been appointed to the institute's board of certification and examination in 1941. When the AIL was reconstituted as the Library Association of Australia, she served as an active past president (1950-53). Having attained her objectives of including special librarianship in the national examination system for librarians and of establishing the special libraries section within the LAA, in 1952 she became the section's first president.

Ellinor Archer Award (1984-2010)

The Ellinor Archer Award was presented to Ena Noël (1984) and Allan Fleming (1989).

The Ellinor Archer Pioneer Award, renamed in 2002, recognised pioneering work in new areas of library and information science. Nominees could be individual or institutional members of the Association.  This award is no longer presented.