The Ballarat Library is named after Sir Bernard Callinan (1913-1995), a distinguished soldier, engineer and contributor to the common good. He began his career in engineering before joining the AIF in 1939. Sir Bernard was a leader in his profession and the Catholic Church. From 1977-1984 he was a member of the Pontifical Commission for Justice and Peace in Rome. He became Chairman of the Institute of Catholic Education in 1974 and guided that body to become part of Australian Catholic University in 1991.
Sir Bernard has been described as a distinguished Australian who provided leadership and inspiration in many capacities. Sir Bernard received the Companion of the Distinguished Service Order in 1946, Commander of the British Empire in 1972, Knight Bachelor in 1977 for services to engineering, and a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1986.