By making a bequest in your will to the State Library of Western Australia, you will leave a lasting legacy for future generations of Western Australians and State Library visitors.
Whether you are ready to make a bequest now, or are exploring potential options, we welcome the opportunity to meet you, answer your questions and help you achieve all that you hope for with your gift.
Email the Fundraising Coordinator or call on 08 9427 3111.
Portrait of a Benefactor - Leah Jane Cohen
Born in Leonora on 8 February 1913, Leah was the youngest of three children of Jewish immigrants from Poland and Russia. As a school student, Leah attended Perth Modern School, before going on to study at the University of Western Australia, gaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1934, and a Law degree in 1937. She was one of the first ten women in Western Australia to study law. Leah Jane Cohen died on 30 October 2005.
Her love of art and music inspired Leah Jane Cohen to leave a significant bequest to the arts in Western Australia. The State Library of Western Australia, Art Gallery of Western Australia along with the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery and the School of Music at the University of Western Australia shared equally in her bequest.
The bequest was given to support the preservation and conservation of rare items within the Library's collections, for the purchase of equipment to support the conservation work and for the publication of items relating to Western Australia's cultural heritage.
A lasting legacy
Established through the Leah Jane Cohen Bequest, the fellowship aims to enhance understanding of Western Australia through research and publication based on the State Library’s heritage collections.
The Battye Fellowships provide a supportive environment enabling the researchers to delve into the rich range of material within the heritage collections with support from specialist staff, the space to work within the J.S. Battye Library of West Australian History and assistance with publication of the research outcomes.
The State Library’s collection includes much more than what is available on the shelves in the public areas. A large proportion of the collections are held in storage areas known as ‘stacks’. These items can only be retrieved by a staff member. Retrievals are done every 30 minutes during opening hours and delivered to Level 3. Private archives, rare, old and valuable items are delivered to the Leah Jane Cohen Reading Room on Level 3 for secure viewing overseen by Library staff.
The Reading Room was named in honour of Leah Jane Cohen and her generous bequest to the Library Board.
Specialised equipment, conservation tools and digitised publishing
Equipment to enable the meticulous conservation and preservation of the State Library’s heritage collections has been funded from the Bequest including:
- Laboratory oven and pump - used for the treatment of magnetic audio reels. Treating these reels enables them to be digitised and thus preserve the content that was recorded on the reel.
- Large format scanner - used for the capture of maps, drawings and posters. For example, the scanner has been used to digitise part of the Western Australian heritage town site plans collection.
- Motorised film winder - used for the preservation of film, reducing the rate of decomposition.
- Cutting board machine - The State Library conservation team is running a boxing program to house all rare heritage materials for the protection. This machine has cut over 10,000 boxes so far.
- Digitisation of unique and irreplaceable motion picture film and videos of Western Australian material.
- Digitisation of Walmajarri language stories created by children of the Kadjina community.
- Digitisation of early WA newspapers now available through Trove.