“The only way there are books in homes in our community is because of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation,” says Tammy Hickey, the librarian at Cunnamulla Library.
The library first began ordering books from our Foundation back in 2008 and it has placed several orders since.
“A colleague at the State Library of Queensland put me in touch with ILF and it was the best thing ever!” says Tammy.
Now books have been distributed to nearly every Indigenous home in Cunnamulla, and families have commented on “how lucky and appreciative they are to receive such beautiful books”.
When the boxes of the new, culturally appropriate books arrive, library staff put some aside for the library to use in organised activities, such as the Monday Music and Playtime sessions which are part of First 5 Forever, an initiative of the State Library of Queensland. This program for 0- to 5-year-olds acknowledges that parents and primary caregivers are a child’s first and most important educators, and aims to offer support and facilitate school readiness.
Other books are used in the After School Reading Club, which has won several prestigious awards. A few of the books go to local schools to be presented on speech day; a sticker inside each one states that it’s been gifted by ILF.
But most of the books are spread out on a big table in the library. Parents are encouraged to choose a book for their young child to take home and keep, as are older kids who come into the library after school.
“Our community is overwhelmed by the beautiful books — and that they get to keep them,” says Tammy. “We’re all just gobsmacked by the program.”