Jun 9, 2017

An underutilised resource for military history: RUSI Library

Yesterday I was lucky enough to be part of a tour of the Royal United Services Institute Library at Victoria Barracks, right here in Melbourne. The RUSI Library is a wonderful place that I must admit I knew nothing about, but I will be recommending it in future as a great resource for those researching topics relating to Victorian military history.

The collection at the RUSI Library is extensive, deep and includes many rare, even unique, items of relevance to Victoria's military history. Of course there are numerous published books such as military histories, unit histories and the like, but also maps (including some amazing silk maps from World War II), manuscripts, pamphlets, posters, sheet music and diaries. They also make a particular point of sourcing hard-to-find rare publications put out by individuals or organisations that haven't made them widely available whenever they can, making sure these rare documents will be available for use and research by others.

Unfortunately their catalogue of holdings is not yet online (they are working on it), but you can arrange to visit to check their computerised database which is accessible onsite. As the RUSI Library is at Victoria Barracks which is a Defense Establishment, they cannot accommodate casual visits to their library, but they are happy to welcome visitors with appointments (with at least 24 hours notice). And if you are looking for a particular title, and especially if you have an ISBN, get in contact with RUSI Library for them to check for you.

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