Sunday, December 16, 2012

I’m grateful for library love!

As the National Year of Reading (NYR) draws to a close, I’m reflecting on the wonderfully warm receptions I’ve received in libraries in recent weeks. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it, in another life I’d be a librarian because of the inspiring environments in which they get to work every day, and also because increasingly libraries are becoming thriving community hubs for all their locals.

Today I just want to give shout-outs of gratitude to five libraries that overwhelmed me with their programs, collections, and locals who came along to events when I visited. I’ve done this alphabetically so there's no bias, because I loved each and every visit.

Campsie Library
I’d never been to Campsie Library before my recent visit, and what a hub of activity it proved to be on a Wednesday night when the gorgeous Debra Adelaide (pictured with me above) and I went along to celebrate the NYR. It was great to see such a community-centre feel with groups of kids doing homework, adultsreading newspapers in a range of languages and a vibrant group of readers there to talk books and writing.

Thank you to Paula Pfoeffer Library Coordinator who brought together the library’s Big Book Group for the night.

Cowra Library
It’s hard to believe that right in the heart of Wiradjuri country is Cowra Library  and this year was the first time I actually visited it. During my week there reading to the kids at Yalbillinga   as part of the Read With Me program, and running workshops with the students at Mulyan Public School, I managed an evening with the some literature-loving locals – which was also a blessing given it was stifling outside. Another great reason to hang out in libraries I reckon.

Big thanks to library staff for coordinating the visit and to Cowra Newsagency (above) for stocking my books. There’s something special about being back on country, sharing stories and enjoying the hospitality and support of locals.

Kogarah Library
It wasn’t my first visit to Kogarah Library  but I’m glad I got there this year because the entrance of the venue has a fantastic installation of books – not just books on shelves, but books forming chairs (how cool is that pic above?), books hanging from the ceilings, books with words literally being lifted off the page. Here’s a couple of pics above and below, but I do recommend you get out there soonish and check it the work for yourselves.

Big thanks to Linda Heald Coordinator, Collection & Cultural Services Team for the invitation and for hosting another fabulous group of readers who came along to hear about why I wrote Am I Black Enough for You? And again, thanks to – thank you to Miranda Fair Booksellers

Tamworth Library
Yes, I know when we think of Tamworth we think of the Country Music Festival,  and to be honest I was hoping to see some boot scooting along the main street while I was there. Alas, there were no fringes or cowboys in sight, but I did have a great coffee and cake at Addimi Expresso with local blogger Emma Gardiner who authors She Goes

There’s also plenty of other culture in the city aside from music, as proven by the ‘Maria’s Class: Tamworth Community College Art Students’ exhibition that I viewed at the Tamworth Regional Gallery. 
But of course the highlight of the visit was my time at Tamworth City Library
Where no less than 70 people came along on a Saturday afternoon to share in the story of Am I Black Enough for You?

Buckets of gratitude to Megan Pitt, Reader Services Librarian for coordinating, chauffeuring and being the perfect host for my visit.

Wodonga Library
Wow, wow, wow Wodonga. Not only did the town put on a stunning summer’s day for me but the library also introduced me to a new group of budding Australian writers. I ran a creative writing workshop with the Young Writers Group, which I’m told, started as a one-off event to coincide with National Young Writers Month as run by Express Media. There was apparently such a positive response from the teens that attended, that the request was made that the library host a regular group. 

Wodonga Library now hosts a fortnightly meet-up for high-school students with an interest in creative writing. Everyone involved is encouraged to share their work and socialise around the shared interest of writing. And the Young Writers are informed about the writing opportunities open to them both locally and nationally, as well as having resources and inspiration available for them to borrow- such as Voiceworks  magazine.

I got a small taste of the talent in the group and for that I am grateful (see how focused they were in pic above!).

Afterwards I had an absolute ball talking to locals – mostly readers and a few closet poets I’m sure – about my writing career and researching techniques. I also tried to recruit a couple of young women as ‘research assistants’ to head out with me that night, but no such luck!

I’m a huge fan of Heidi Stabb, Wodonga Library coordinator community and customer service for her efforts in bringing us all together that day /night, and I do hope to be able to return in the not too distant future. There’s a fabulous outdoor cinema experience to be had in the square near the library and quite frankly, I want to be part of whatever is going on there!

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