New All Gender Accessible Bathrooms at Fisher Library

Image of a hallway with bathrooms on the right. Signs say All Gender Ambulant Toilet.
Hallway with people walking in the background and bathrooms on the right side.

We are pleased to share that three new all gender accessible bathrooms are now open on level 1 of Fisher Library.

Ensuring that our spaces are welcoming to all visitors is a priority for the Library; we’re committed to celebrating diversity and including people from all backgrounds.

Following feedback from the Library’s gender diverse stakeholders we committed to implementing these additions.  

The world is changing and so are the needs of our library staff and clients. This flexible project increases amenity for all.

Philip Kent, University Librarian

Fisher Library is located in a heritage-listed mid-century modern building, so we worked closely with University Infrastructure and their contractors to identify a suitable location close to existing plumbing.

Heritage consultants were also engaged to ensure the design was sympathetic to the heritage building. The wood panelled exteriors of the bathrooms blend consistently with the building’s interior style. Ensuring flexibility, the additional bathrooms are also accessible. The Library also took the opportunity to incorporate a shower to provide end-of-trip amenity. Construction on the bathrooms began in late 2022 and they were recently opened in May 2023.

The bathrooms are located on level 1 of Fisher Library close to the lifts, staff workrooms and connection to the Law Library.

Find out more about the Library’s diversity and inclusion initiatives here.

Reconciliation Week 27 May – 3 June, 2023

Reconciliation Week is a time for everyone to learn about our shared stories, histories, cultures and achievements. For 2023, the theme is “Be a Voice for Generations” which urges us all to keep up the momentum for change. 

The theme and Reconciliation Australia “encourages all Australians to be a voice for reconciliation in tangible ways in our everyday lives – where we live, work and socialise.”  

A History of Reconciliation Week:  

  • Runs from the 27th May to the 3rd of June. Two very important dates of significance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. The 27th of May marks the anniversary of the 1967 referendum, when Australians voted to remove the clause in the Constitution that discriminated against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The 3rd of June marks the 1992 Mabo decision that say the High Court of Australia recognising native title.  
  • The day before, the 26th of May is National Sorry Day, commemorating those who are apart of the Stolen Generations at the hands of the Australian Government.  

What is Reconciliation?  

  • At its core, reconciliation is an action to strengthen relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Australia. It is an action to acknowledge the trauma of the impact of colonisation by the Government and society. It is to acknowledge the discrimination and racism that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have experienced and continue to experience. 
  • It is an on-going journey for all people in current Australia, and is a reminder to remember those who have fought hard for equal rights and continue to fight for Country and Culture.  
  • Reconciliation Week asks allies in their organisations, schools, university, community groups and workplaces to work on their own actions towards reconciliation and to amplify the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.  

How to get involved:  

  1. For the community and our Allies, this is a great resource on practical and impactful actions that you can do to “be a voice for reconciliation”: 
  1. See what events are running around your workplaces and communities and attend.  
  1. Read and share the stories and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Here are some that speak to the theme from our Library catalogue:  

Songlines: The Power and Promise (First Knowledges Series)  

Margo Neale and Lynne Kelly  

Apart of an amazing series of First Nations knowledges, Songlines is an insight into the power and significance of songlines. They are complex systems of knowledges that hold stories, songs, dance, ceremonies and art. It weaves close personal and cultural storytelling from Lynne Kelle. A beautiful read on how to engage with First Nations knowledges and adapting them into our lives.  

Discover this title in our catalogue

Talkin’ Up to the White Woman: Aboriginal Women and Feminism  

Aileen Moreton-Robinson  

This book is for everyone! Professor Aileen Moreton-Robinson critiques, the whiteness of Australian Feminism and how this has ignored and rejected Indigenous women. She interrogates western feminism and its rootedness in power, privilege and colonization.  

Discover this title in our catalogue

The following books are written by Non-Indigenous authors but document important histories of First Nations activism in Australia.  

Redfern : Aboriginal Activism in the 1970s 

Johanna Perheentupa  

A great read for those wanting to learn more about Redfern (a close neighbour to the University) as the epicentre for Indigenous social justice and political movements throughout history. Within this book, you will learn about how through the determination of the community, health services, legal services, child care centres, a black theatre and schooling was established. All of these institutions still have an important legacy today.  

Discover this title in our catalogue

Fight for Liberty and Freedom: The Origins of Australian Aboriginal Activism  

John Maynard  

Within this important read, the history of Aboriginal activism is told. From as early as invasion itself and through to today there has been resistance and activism. In the early 20th Century the Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association (AAPA) was established. It was a significant all-Aboriginal activist group that demanded land rights, citizenship, prevention of forced removal of children and defending cultural identity. An important history that needs to be told and remembered.   

Discover this item in our catalogue

Library statement on Honi Soit incident

Approximately one thousand copies of a queer-themed edition of Honi Soit were maliciously removed from stands across campus on Tuesday, 16 May. The edition, produced by the Queer Action Collective (QuAC), is titled Fagi Soit.

The University of Sydney Library is dismayed to learn that these acts of censorship and bigotry occurred in our spaces. We stand in solidarity with the creators of Fagi Soit, whose freedom of expression has been suppressed, and extend our sympathy to any LGBTQIA+ students, staff, and community members that have found this incident distressing. We reaffirm our commitment to supporting free and equitable access to information and to making the Library a safe and welcoming space for LGBTQIA+ people. The Library has worked in partnership with the Student Representative Council over many decades to preserve Honi Soit for perpetuity, and we hold both print and digital copies within our collection.  

To learn more about this incident and to read Fagi Soit online:

For those wishing to show their support for the queer community on campus:

  • Attend the speak-out called by QuAC at 12pm Thursday 25 May on the Law lawns on Eastern Avenue, Camperdown Campus.

For those feeling distressed and seeking support in the wake of this incident:

May 18 is Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) is a global event that shines a light on digital access and inclusion for people with disabilities.

University Libraries and the DAWN Network warmly invites you join in and learn more at an upcoming webinar ‘A Screen at the Table’.

Providing a screen at the table supports people with disabilities to participate in our community when a seat isn’t available. That’s why this Global Accessibility Awareness Day, University Libraries and the DAWN Network is encouraging everyone to reflect on how to provide screens (and not just seats) at the table for all members of our community.

Use this GAAD Eventbrite link to register for this wonderful discussion.

Library’s Virtual Reading Room

Experience extraordinary rare and special collections remotely using the University of Sydney’s Virtual Reading Room. The Virtual Reading Room uses special cameras and video conferencing to provide remote access to our special collections, making our Rare Books and Special Collections more accessible.

One hour sessions are free and bookings can be made to view either one boxed collection or, two individual items from the Rare Books and Special Collections – this could be a book, manuscript, script, photographs, glass negatives, or ephemera. Once a booking has been confirmed, participants are emailed a Zoom link.

Use this Virtual Reading Room web link to learn more, make a booking or contact a member of the team.

Improving the Library’s Digital Presence

The library is in the process of revamping its digital presence by building a new website. The goal is to revolutionise the digital experience for both students and researchers using University Library.

Inclusivity is at the forefront of the new website templates, which have been thoughtfully designed to prioritise an intuitive and enjoyable user experience for individuals with disabilities, including those who rely on assistive technology.

To ensure that the website is accessible to everyone, the team will be working alongside the University’s digital accessibility team to conduct usability testing and gather feedback from individuals with disability in the upcoming months.

IDAHOBIT Day, 17 May 2023

International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia has been observed on 17 May each year since 2005 to raise awareness of LGBTQIA+ rights violations including violence, discrimination, and repression of LGBT communities worldwide. The date was originally selected to commemorate the 1990 decision by the World Health Organisation to remove homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases. 

The stated goals for IDAHOBIT include to take action, and engage in dialogue with the media, policymakers, public opinion, and wider civil society. The idea behind setting a global date for IDAHOBIT celebrations is that they are globally visible while not requiring them conformation to a particular format or type of action because of the diversity of social, religious, cultural, and political contexts in which rights violations occur. Despite the nature of IDAHOBIT celebrations being very different across the world, they share common themes of pride in oneself, happiness, love and caring within the community, and countering different rampant forms of hate in the world. 

Some of the things the official, Australian IDAHOBIT Day website suggests you can do to show your support and celebrate IDAHOBIT Day at uni or at work are: 

  • Go Rainbow! Wear rainbow face paint or clothes on the day, or decorate your office with rainbow. 
  • Host an event. No matter how large or small, whether it is a fabulous party or a small, rainbow cupcake afternoon tea, your event will make a difference. 
  • Raise awareness. This can be done on IDAHOBIT Day or at any time of the year, whether by inviting a guest speaker, hosting or attending an inclusion training session, or listening to those with lived-experience. 
  • Change the world with your generosity. Think about how you can help other LGBTQIA+ young people in need through organisations such as Minus18

Rare Bites: Sydney’s Chinese Ghosts

The Rare Books Library at the University of Sydney holds a copy of the 1891 NSW Royal Commission into Alleged Chinese Gambling and Immorality, a rare and valuable document which invites us to view life in 19th century Sydney through Chinese eyes.

The stated aim of the commission – as Shirley Fitzgerald explains – ‘was to establish the extent of bribery and extortion within the Chinese gambling community, and between gambling syndicates and the police.’ Ostensibly a tool of the state to enact surveillance on Chinese urban life at a time of heightened anti-Chinese xenophobia in the city.

Sophie invites us to read the Commission against the grain, excavating the Chinese lives evidenced in its pages. What can the Commission tell us about Sydney’s Chinese ghosts?

Speaker: Sophie Loy-Wilson is a lecturer in Australian history at the University of Sydney. She is the recipient of an ARC DECRA Grant for her project Chinese Business: social and economic survival in white Australia, 1870-1940.