FA Sharr

F A Sharr FLAA

Obituary in Australian Academic and Research Libraries - vol 33, issue 4, 2002

HCL Anderson Award 1980 from inCite 17 October 1980, p. 2

Francis Aubie Sharr, State Librarian of Western Australia from 1955 until his retirement in 1976, has been awarded the Association's H.C.L. Anderson Award for outstanding contributions to librarianship in Australia by a professional.

F.A. Sharr. OBE, BA, ARPS, FLA. was elected a Fellow of the Library Association of Australia in 1963.

Mr Sharr's Anderson Award citation reads in part:

F.A. Sharr's contribution to Australian libraries and librarianship began in 1953 when he arrived in Western Australia to commence planning a state-wide library and information service for the newly-formed Library Board of WA.

Before coming to WA, F.A. Sharr had had considerable experience in providing library services to both rural and urban populations through his work in various British country library services and the Manchester Public Library. Notwithstanding this background, the task of planning library services in an even-handed way to a population of less than one million people, scattered over an area of almost one million square miles, would have been enough to have daunted even the most resolute planner.

That task was taken up, and when Sharr retired in 1976 the State of Western Australia could boast an integrated service of 151 libraries, serving 95 percent of the population and operating in voluntary co-operation with the Library Board of WA. It is no exaggeration to say that the success of the service in such a short time must be attributed to the soundness of the plans Sharr made, the manner in which he persuaded local authorities to join with the Board and the inspiration and leadership he gave to his staff.

He was active in the affairs of the Library Association of Australia and held many offices at state and national levels.

The Western Australian Branch has honoured him by establishing the F.A. Sharr Medal which is presented each year to the most outstanding student of librarianship in the state.

Sharr’s work in Western Australia , his service to the profession of libraries, his work as a founder member of AACOBS, were all most appropriately recognised in 1976 when his OBE was announced in the Commonwealth list.

Sharr's interests extended outside his professional career and publications to photography. In that field, as in in librarianship, he achieved high distinction and has been honoured with an associateship of the Royal Photographic Society. His skill and excellence as a photographer of Western Australian wildflowers was regularly displayed on the covers of the annual reports of the Library Board of WA - some of which were to earn international prizes for their content and presentation.


The FA Sharr Medal

The F A Sharr Medal is named after Francis Aubie (Ali) Sharr, State Librarian in Western Australia from 1953 to 1976, in recognition of his contribution to libraries and librarianship in Western Australia and to the profession overall.

The award was inaugurated in 1976 when the first Medal was presented to Mrs Jean Ryding, a Western Australian student of librarianship. The Medal is now awarded to a Western Australian librarian or library technician in their first year of employment who exhibits the most potential to make a significant contribution to the library profession in WA.