We’ve all been coming up with new, safe ways of doing things during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the Library Services Team Leader in Cunnamulla, Tammy Hickey, has really thought outside the square to ensure that books from our Book Supply program are still reaching kids in Paroo Shire, Queensland.
“The books have meant so much to our families,” Tammy explains.
With strict distancing regulations in place throughout the Shire, all the library’s usual programs are on indefinite hold. This means no storytime sessions for toddlers and pre-schoolers on Mondays, no reading club for school kids on Thursdays, and no coming into the library anytime for anyone – no matter how old they are – to choose an ILF book to take home.
Last week, as soon as our partner Australia Post delivered the cartons of books to the library, Tammy set to work unpacking and sorting the picture and board books into bags for direct distribution to families in the town.
The library was extremely fortunate in being able to call upon help from Cunnamulla Aboriginal Corporation for Health (CACH). With a car well loaded up, within days CACH staff had delivered the books to every household in Cunnamulla with kids under five, making sure the drop-offs were contact-free.
“We’re so thankful to CACH,” Tammy says. “What they’ve done has really been outstanding.”
Tammy set aside a separate box of books for families in the small township of Eulo, about 50 km from Cunnamulla, and CACH staff delivered those too.
And the books for older readers were placed outside the library so kids could drop by after school on Wednesday and – with some supervision at 1.5 metres – choose a book or two to take home and keep. Hoping these would provide a much-needed boost to current home-based school activities, Tammy let both schools in town know these books were available, and she also spread the word on Facebook. It didn’t take long for the books to be making their way into more homes!
To date there have been no cases of COVID-19 in Cunnamulla, which is great news. But knowing that restrictions may be in place until spring, Tammy has already started thinking about how the library might be able to safely celebrate Indigenous Literacy Day on Wednesday 2 September. A Great Book Swap might not be possible, but a fundraising cake stall in the middle of town might be!
“We are always super grateful to ILF for the books. We couldn’t function like we do without them.”
We’d love to hear how your community is getting the books we send to kids in this time of COVID-19. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org