Peter Dawe

Peter Dawe BA FLAA

  • Fellowship 1984

PH Dawe President 1987.  Brief note inCite Jan 1997 p9

Special Librarian Peter Dawe began his library career in the State Library of South Australia. For ten years, from 1958, he was librarian of the Division of Soils of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), beginning an association that was to dominate his career. In 1985 he was appointed Acting Manager of CSIRO's Information Resources Unit.

Dawe was deeply-involved in the introduction of automation to library systems, his interest and expertise leading to him being the inaugural Assistant Examiner in Data Processing for Information Retrieval for the Library Association of Australia.  For his distinguished service over a wide range of activities in librarianship he was made a Fellow of the Library Association of Australia in 1984. 

Fellowship conferred 1984

Peter Dawe has played an active role in the Association since 1959 when he became president of the South Australian Branch. From 1964 to 1966 he was president and councilor of the Special Libraries Section; associate examiner, Data Processing and Information Retrieval, 1969; and committee member, Information Science Section, Victorian Group, 1978. His latest position is that of convener, Working Party on Document Delivery in Australia, a group that was established by General Council in 1983.

Peter Dawe has been at the forefront of the change in the role of the professional librarian from custodian to active purveyor of information, particularly through the application of technology. It is significant that he was chosen as one of the two Associate Examiners for the inaugural Registration Examination paper in Data Processing and Information Retrieval in 1969. Similarly, he was the first convener of the AACOBS Working Party on Systems and Communications in 1973 and is still a member of that group.

His contributions to AACOBS on the Victorian Regional Committee, as a participant in the full council and on the Standing Committee have always been practical and farsighted. His interest in the future of the profession is evidenced by his service on course advisory committees associated with RMIT, Ballarat CAE, Canberra Technical College and on the Program Development Committee for the International Training Course for Librarians in 1976/77.

At the international level he has been secretary of the Australian National Committee of the International Federation for Documentation (FID) since 1971, was secretary of the FID Commission for Asia and Oceania from 1973-76 and has represented Australia at the General Assemblies of that body several times. His personality and co-operative spirit have impressed themselves on our Asian and Pacific colleagues.

Another area in which he excels is in encouraging and facilitating co-operation between libraries and ensuring that scarce resources are not wasted in duplication of effort. Almost his first act when taking over as chief librarian of CSIRO was to persuade the executive of the Organisation of the importance of bringing Scientific Serials in Australian Libraries up to date, which was achieved in 1975/76. He has been a most active participant in the CSIRO/NLA Joint Consultative Committee which meets regularly to plan complementary activities of the two bodies. As a result of his paper at the National Interlending Conference in 1983 he was chosen as the convener of the Working Party on Document Delivery in Australia, the report of which was presented at the LAA Conference in August.

At a time when the profession is undergoing massive change Peter Dawe is seen as an encourager and facilitator as well as a leader among his colleagues. The Library Association of Australia believes that Peter Dawe's contribution to librarianship makes him a most worthy recipient of the award of Fellowship of the Library Association of Australia.

Note: Peter Dawe's obituary was published in inCite vol. 13, no. 10, 12 October 1992, p. 17.