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Happy Birthday JV Barry Library

CrimBrief The Official Blog of the AIC

24 February 2014

Last week at the Australian Institute of Criminology, a birthday party was held for the JV Barry Library, 40 years after it was officially opened by the Hon Mr Justice McClemens on 12 February 1974.

The Library sits at the heart of the Institute and maintains a strong reputation as Australia’s major criminal justice information resource and knowledge centre. Today, it houses nearly 30,000 books and reports, and 14,000 journals in both print and online formats. The CINCH database, developed from the beginning, has grown to over 60,000 entries, many with links to full text.

The Library is named after Sir John Vincent Barry an eminent criminologist and jurist who, with others, pressed the Australian Government to set up the Institute in the late 1960’s, a proposal which was championed by then Attorney-General Tom Hughes QC during the time of the Gorton Government.

Two men and JV Barry at the 1933 Royal Commission into Corrupt Practices at the Milk Board

JV Barry in his heyday at the 1933 Royal Commission into Corrupt Practices at the Milk Board.

Of Sir John’s many achievements, he was foundation chairman of the Department of Criminology at the University of Melbourne, as well as a the founding Chair of the Victorian Parole Board. Sadly, Sir John died just four years shy of the establishment of the AIC, and five years before the opening of the Library.

The Library was a purpose built facility, tasked with developing a specialised collection of books, reports, indexes and would form the foundation of a national knowledge and resource centre on Australasian crime and criminal justice.

From the start, the JV Barry Library was designed to cater to the needs of all stakeholders - from international delegations, to policymakers, advisors, crime and justice agencies, researchers, students and the wider community. Based on the material in the Library, in 1975 staff created the Australian Criminal Database – and in 1977, this became CINCH (or Computerised Information from National Criminological Holdings). The library has always changed to meet new information needs and to take advantage of new and emerging technologies. As a result CINCH has developed into an internationally recognised online resource.

Despite changes resulting as technology has improved, we still maintain core services. The library still caters to the needs of our research staff, academics, policymakers, students and the cj sector. In the digital world the library’s outreach service continues to grow via 16 themed subject alerts which keeps thousands of subscribers updated on criminological publications from around the world. Our staff respond to more than 1200 reference queries each year, and support  AIC researchers and external stakeholders, along with the media and public.

If you want to subscribe to any of of the subject alerts, go to: and choose from the alphabetical list of topic areas may that interest you–from Alcohol and Violence, through to Victims of Crime–for a regular RSS feed of alerts.

Our 40th birthday high tea was attended by AIC staff and former Librarians John Myrtle and Karen Collier and was addressed by AIC Director, Dr Adam Tomison.

Janine Chandler,
AIC Library Manager

Posted: 24 February 2014 | | | | | |

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