Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Nita Bernice Kibble (1879–1962)

by Jean F. Arnot

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Nita Bernice Kibble (1879-1962), librarian, was born on 8 June 1879 at Denman, New South Wales, younger daughter of George Augustus Frederick Kibble, Scottish postmaster, and his wife Eliza, née McDermott. Brought up as an Anglican, she was educated at Denman Public School and St Vincent's College, Potts Point, Sydney. For a short time she was a pupil-teacher at the Sacred Heart College, Darlinghurst.

On 3 October 1899 Nita Kibble successfully answered an advertisement for a junior assistant, Public Library of New South Wales, her signature having been taken for that of a male. Having the necessary educational qualifications and having topped the library test for forty-two candidates, she was appointed on probation junior attendant in the lending branch on 20 November at the male salary of £26 a year. In 1903 she became a library assistant and rose steadily, passing the various grades of Public Service Board examinations and undertaking special courses at the University of Sydney. In December 1915 she was promoted to the professional division.

With the appointment of W. H. Ifould as principal librarian in 1912, Kibble began a long and loyal association with him, first in the reorganization of the cataloguing department, of which she became senior cataloguer in July 1916, and later in the research department. In order to publicize the resources of the library, in 1919 she organized an exhibition of technical and commercial literature. Because of the success of this venture and the great expansion in secondary industries taking place, the research department of the library was established. Kibble was appointed principal research officer on 19 June. On her retirement in 1943, the trustees resolved: 'The establishment and development of the Research Department of the Library were largely due to her efforts, knowledge and skill … The industries of the State were particularly assisted in a formative period by the bibliographical research work done by her and under her direction'. This department became the prototype for similar services in libraries of other States.

During her long and outstanding career Kibble keenly participated in efforts to raise the status of the library profession; she was a foundation member of the Australian Institute of Librarians. She read widely, was a devotee of the theatre and collected period furniture, fine china and glass. Unmarried, she died on 4 February 1962 and was buried in the Church of England section of Northern Suburbs cemetery.

Select Bibliography

  • Library Record of Australasia, 1 (1901).

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Citation details

Jean F. Arnot, 'Kibble, Nita Bernice (1879–1962)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 18 May 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (Melbourne University Press), 1983

View the front pages for Volume 9

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Nita Kibble, 1927

Nita Kibble, 1927

State Library of New South Wales, 442818

Life Summary [details]


8 June, 1879
Denman, New South Wales, Australia


4 February, 1962 (aged 82)
New South Wales, Australia

Cultural Heritage

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