“SLQ is a destination for learning” – Carl’s Story

I’m Carl. I’m originally from the United States but I’ve been in Australia since 1968. I have resided in Brisbane for the last 30 years and now I’m retired.

Carl – State Library Member

What brought me here? I was trekking off on my own after my university course was finished and I decided to come to an English speaking country. Once I came to Australia I more or less never left. I became a citizen as soon as I could, in 1973 perhaps, and I had to renounce my American citizenship. You had to do that in those days. But it doesn’t matter, my home is in Australia and it has been ever since I’ve arrived. Here in Australia there’s a more relaxed life style without the guns, with minimal racial tension and that sort of thing. What appealed to me most was that I discovered it and I made it my own, it was my own little adventure and I succeeded. It’s really what I made of it that was the important thing.

View of Brisbane from the city looking across the river to South Brisbane, 1970. John Oxley Library, Ref: 261208

Brisbane was a very different place at the time but urban living has become so much better over the years. I’ve changed, the city has changed…  most major cities have grown and become more pleasant and more sophisticated. I don’t mind the changes.

I’ve never been to the old State Library in the city, but I’ve been here when it was the first part of the cultural centre in the 80s. I guess I came to SLQ because I had always used library facilities, and because a library is a place of refuge. I suppose in those days it was more about the use of the computers for 3 hours. But I remember also doing the tour of the JOL as part of the tours that they did, and I was always interested in the exhibitions that took place here.

Model of the Cultural Centre in Brisbane 1985. John Oxley Library, Ref: 286147

I come once a week to use the computer resources as part of my routine, to put my time to productive use. Increasing knowledge is my main motivation. I don’t waste my time looking at cat videos on YouTube! The big treat for me is to come here and see some of the exhibits, like the Digital Futures Lab with the virtual reality. I have to make a completely separate visit to see the exhibits. You see, I live a sort of disciplined life. I only make an exception for the APDL. That area it’s a little treat for me! Even if I’m here to study, sometimes I go there and spend a maximum of an hour looking at some beautiful architectural books!

The library has been great. It got me excited about knowledge and provided me with the most beautiful atmosphere to use my time productively. I put my time here to really good use and it’s different from home  where I guess I’m more lazy and laid back. The building it’s just beautiful and it’s a joy to come here. I can walk from home, a very pleasant walk that that’s also one of the joys. The library is a very exciting place, I mean, it’s a destination for learning!


As told to State Library Staff

Fed Pani

Visitor and Information Services