I pause in the midst of my pre-Japan madness (visas! not visas! travellers’ cheques! cashcards! JapanRail passes! car rental! contact-making! research! endless, endless lists!) to bring you instalment #2 in the occasional series, Tales From Inner Libraria*, if only because if our esteemed government has its way, said Librarias may be unrecognisable in the not-so-fullness of time (40% funding cuts? Can you be serious? And if so, may I humbly suggest you begin with the plasma TVs and leave the books alone?).
Today’s library is a rather less humble establishment than that featured in Instalment #1. It has high ceilings, excellent natural lighting and an overall feeling of space and muted elegance.
It is not the kind of library where you raise your voice. Story time takes place in a dedicated room, behind closed doors and some kind of advanced soundproofing technology.
Although I work at home a lot, I don’t always work at home. Sometimes I take my laptop down to Fremantle and park myself in a cafe. Sometimes I head up to my local library. It helps to have a change of scenery, to avoid the many demands of an insistent house, and there’s something satisfying about writing surrounded by books and readers.
Because my house is currently an inviting combination of bomb-site, dust bowl and storage facility, I’ve been doing this more often lately. And because I’ve been doing it more, I’ve broadened my reach. In the last couple of months, I’ve sampled over a dozen libraries. And I can’t help noticing that although some features are common to most – from the expected (books!) to the less-expected (flat-screen TV!) – each also has its own idiosyncrasies, its own particular culture.
So I bring you the first in an occasional series: “Tales from Inner Libraria*”. Reading these entries, perhaps you’ll nod, because you recognise your library here. Perhaps you’ll shake your head because you think I’m making it up. I won’t be.
Over the last week I’ve visited libraries from Mandurah to Morley, with a Fremantle stopover closer to home, talking to kids about books and writing and the fantastic Premier’s Summer Reading Challenge. I love carrying my little box of bits and pieces into the cozy corners of libraries and seeing who’s waiting for me there, especially when they turn out to be as delightful and creative as the groups I met this year.
Thanks to everyone who came out on very hot days to hear me talk, and help me plot (in every sense!). I hope you were all inspired to take up the reading challenge, not just over summer, but always. Remember that you can keep reading until 8th February, but make sure your entries are in by the 15th. As well as reading some great books, you’ll have the chance to win some amazing prizes (just and don’t forget – that trip to Broome is mine!).
For as many years as I can remember, my daughter has done the WA Premier’s Summer Reading Challenge. Last year for the first time, there was a Parent Challenge too, where parents were also encouraged to read books and win prizes and that was a lot of fun, too. This year, they’ve upped the ante again, by making me a featured author. I wonder what they have in store for me next year?
As part of the Challenge, I’ll be appearing at libraries in Mandurah, Bayswater, and my home turf of Fremantle. Details can be found on the PSRC website. If you’re in the area, come along and say hello! And if you’re not in the area, join in the Challenge anyway. Your local library or school will have all the information you need and as well as the fun of reading itself, there are always some great prizes to be won.
Happy summer reading!