Responding to Book Supply requests from Communities is one of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation’s (ILF) key priorities and an important part of Australia Post’s partnership with the ILF that began in 2020.
To be able to support this program and share books - many that are written by First Nations authors and in a First Language and English - is incredibly rewarding and speaks to Australia Post’s commitments to both literacy and striving for greater reconciliation and recognition of First Nations peoples.
Yet getting these books to Communities is not always easy.
Communities are often very remote and the last two years of hard lockdowns have reduced travel and access for many. Fortunately, Australia Post’s ‘essential service’ classification meant that we kept delivering throughout the pandemic – providing ongoing support and connection to the ILF and Communities.
Australia Post uses every part of its logistics network to support the ILF.
While city-folk see posties on bikes, electric vehicles and in vans, people in remote locations get their mail in all sorts of ways. Huge B-double trucks criss-cross the country, light aircrafts touch down on small landing strips and barges are used to cross waterways to deliver to islands in the Torres Strait and Northern Territory.
Since 2020, Australia Post has delivered 190,000 books for the ILF to 325 communities and by the end of 2022 we expect to reach the 300,000 mark!
Book packs are heavy and can be expensive to transport so our partnership means that ILF can redirect hundreds of thousands of dollars of delivery costs back into the business of supporting remote Communities with more new, quality and culturally relevant books and learning resources for babies, kids, teens and families.
The relationship we have built with the ILF is not only about deliveries. In November 2022 more than 700 Post Offices featured a special ILF fundraising decoration as part of its festive campaign. The decoration was a simple card that featured artwork by Whadjuk-Yuet-Balladong artist Kevin Bynder.
They were given to customers in return for a $2 donation to the ILF. Australia Post also accepted over-the-counter donations, invited customers of its Online Shop to make a donation, and encouraged customers to Round Up transactions in stores. In total $24,433.98 was raised for the ILF over the November-December period.
In May last year, Australia Post heroed the wonderful book, No Way Yirrikipayi, created by the children from Milikapiti School, Melville Island and Alison Lester, in its Post Offices. Customers were offered a glimpse of the story via bookmarks with a QR Code linked to an online reading of the story. The opportunity to enjoy this book was warmly received by Australia Post customers with around 4,000 people accessing the story.
As a follow-up, Australia Post is offering for sale copies of Moli det Bigibigi written by Karen Manbulloo and illustrated by the Binjari Buk Mob, in more than 400 Post Offices in February-March this year. This is the first time an ILF-published, bilingual book has been offered in Post Offices and we are excited to see how it goes.
We encourage you to look out for this and other exciting Australia Post/ILF collaborations throughout the year as we continually seek to bring our wonderful partnership to life.
To find out more about the ILF/Australia Post partnership visit auspost.com.au/literacy
Written by Emma McClements, Community Relationship & Partnership Manager, at Australia Post.