Wednesday, November 25th, 2020

TinyCat’s November Library of the Month: The Australian Motorlife Library

To read more about TinyCat’s Library of the Month feature, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

We’re moving just west of our October Library of the Month in New Zealand to a library built for car lovers: congratulations to The Australian Motorlife Library! Volunteer Librarians Tracy Westall and Brian Wye were kind enough to field my questions this month:

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

The Australian Motorlife Library is housed in the Australian Motorlife Museum in New South Wales, Australia. It consists of 2,200 general motoring books, a motoring magazine collection of approximately 12,000 volumes, and around 3,000 ephemera items. The library material comprises contemporary and historic items, some of which are unique and rare. The collection integrates and supports the wider museum which consists of historic vehicles, automotive memorabilia, and social history.

Tell us some interesting things about how you support your community.

We provide books and material that is niche and usually not available in the public libraries. We have a large technical and reference selection which we make available to the community and car enthusiasts alike, especially to those who are restoring or researching vintage and collectable automobiles.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

Our library contains an extensive collection of early and rare motoring books—like the ones pictured above—car repair manuals, and collectable vintage magazines. This enables us to provide a unique service that encourages communication with patrons from all over Australia: equally interesting and enjoyable for us volunteer librarians.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

The library relies totally on donations of collectable material; we have no acquisitions budget which requires us to recycle resources and exercise our creativity and housekeeping skills. This has been the main challenge when establishing an online presence and an operational procedure: to enable the library’s resources to be accessed by the wider community. Another challenge has been to organise and upload our catalogue to TinyCat, for which the steps to achieve this has been further exacerbated due to COVID-19 and its restrictions.

What is your favorite thing about TinyCat, and what’s something you’d love to see implemented/developed?

One of our favourite things is the interface of TinyCat. As many of our patrons are seniors, the similarity of the interface to that of the public library makes it familiar and user-friendly. The online access to LibraryThing and TinyCat has enabled us to achieve our goal of uploading the catalogue in record time while working in isolation from home. The catalogue is easy to use and understand. As for improvements, the only thing that currently comes to mind is having more control over the content of the homepage’s animated cover display.

Want to learn more about The Australian Motorlife Library and Museum? Visit their website at and check out their TinyCat collection here.

To read up on TinyCat’s previous Libraries of the Month, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

Calling all TinyCat libraries: become TinyCat’s next Library of the Month—just send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat


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