La Trobe Reading Room


Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison
Presented in partnership with State Library Victoria
4th August – 26th November, 2017
La Trobe Reading Room
State Library Victoria

Open a book and forget the world.

From E. B. White, at the request of librarian Marguerite Hart, one of 97 Letters to the Children of Troy, to mark the opening of the new Troy Public Library on 510 West Big Beaver, Michigan, USA, in 1971.


April 14, 1971

Dear Children of Troy:

Your librarian has asked me to write, telling you what a library can mean to you.

A library is many things. It’s a place to go, to get in out of the rain. It’s a place to go if you want to sit and think. But particularly it is a place where books live, and where you can get in touch with other people, and other thoughts, through books. If you want to find out about something, the information is in the reference books—the dictionaries, the encyclopedias, the atlases. If you like to be told a story, the library is the place to go. Books hold most of the secrets of the world, most of the thoughts that men and women have had. And when you are reading a book, you and the author are alone together—just the two of you. A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort. A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book, you may have your question answered. Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people—people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.

(Signed, ‘EB White’)

And Dr. Seuss, why, “Read! Read! Read! Read! Read! Read!”, written in a stack so as to form a pyramid upon the page.

With libraries uppermost in my mind, let’s take a closer look at Louise and my work created especially for, and presented in partnership with State Library Victoria, Looped, in the La Trobe Reading Room.

Treating each cabinet as if it were a page, our five artists’ books extend their wings across large-scale collages. Weaving a fable beneath glass, together, they read as one. Walk (or scroll, below) and see I think all the world is falling, No longer six feet under, Disrupted and rumpled, Dim wood, spark bright, and A warmed pebble in my hand (as recently unfurled on instagram).

When you are done, you are welcome to download our accompanying Looped zine, which includes the tale, A whisker lighter, and a complete list of works (16 page pdf). Or, perhaps better still, swing by the library, and collect a copy in person. Because: books.

Open a book and rewrite the world.


(These photos were taken in the deep hush of the library early before it opened its doors. Thank-you Bridie Fleming.)


With A warmed pebble in my hand, you may also be interested to see our work created for BLINDSIDE’s forthcoming fundraiser exhibition, B-SIDE. Our A-SIDE print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm, With your hand on my cheek, I looked up at the sky, 2017, together with ‘our’ B-SIDE, Theo Strasser’s (beautiful) work, will be available for a song on the opening night.

Launching Thursday 2nd November from 6pm
Friday 3rd – Friday 10th November, 2017
Room 14, Level 7, 37 Swanston Street, Melbourne

We hope to see you there.


Image credit: Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison, Looped, 2017, on display at State Library Victoria