A good library collection is one that all the community finds valuable, and that celebrates the vibrancy and diversity of all peoples and cultures. A library is often the first place people go to learn about new things, discover new skills, and build their social networks.
At the ILF, we know that books and reading are some of the most important and influential parts of children’s lives, which is why we’ve put together a new Register Your Library campaign to help diversify your library’s book collection.
Featuring a number of Indigenous titles, as well as teaching and learning resources, this pack is a great way to add to your collection, and begin conversations with children about Indigenous peoples, cultures and languages. We recently sat down with Tricia Genat, former President of Australian Libraries Information Association (ALIA), to chat about why diversity in libraries is of paramount importance.
“Librarians work hard to make absolutely sure that anyone who walks through their door feels comfortable,” Tricia tells us. “Diversity in library collections is essential, not only because libraries often have diverse audiences, but also so that anybody who comes to the library feels that their culture, language and beliefs are recognised as an appropriate part of the community.”
Our new Register Your Library pack includes four Indigenous authored or illustrated books, Moli det bigibigi, No Way, Yirrikipayi!, Hello, Hello, and I Saw, We Saw, from a number of different remote Aboriginal communities throughout Australia. These books are a fantastic starting point for building the Indigenous titles within your library collection.
“Books like Moli det bigibigi and No Way, Yirrikipayi!, really stand on their own as good trade books that should be in every library, regardless - they’re beautiful books,” says Tricia, “And they also work as a specialised collection that can be brought out to celebrate occasions like NAIDOC Week or Indigenous Literacy Day.”
Along with the books, we also provide teaching and learning resources to help begin conversations about Indigenous languages, cultures and stories.
“We know there’s no one Indigenous language, but there is certainly a wonderful sense of community and shared learning,” says Tricia. “Teaching resources provide a good starting space for lessons or activities, before moving onto exploring other aspects of Indigenous cultures and stories.”
“It is important that all Australians embrace the sense of Indigenous cultures, and one of the best ways that children learn is through print and books - by sharing these stories.”
If you’re interested in learning more about this program or getting involved, you can register your library here.