With the help of the ILF Book Supply Program, Wanslea in WA has established the first lending library of its sort in Australia.
Based just south of Perth in WA, Wanslea is a not-for-profit organisation that has assisted in the fostering of children since 1943. The idea for the library came from one of the carers. About half of the children coming into foster care in WA are of Aboriginal background, and, realising the significance for these kids of having access to culturally appropriate books while they are in care, the carer had been buying books and other resources herself for the children she was fostering.
“Keeping connection to culture and language is so important,” says Fiona Turner, a Family Suppport Worker at Wanslea.
The library got off the ground in February 2017, and currently opens once a month. Carers and children in their care, many of whom speak Noongar or Wongi, can borrow not only books but also traditional instruments like didgeridoos, music CDs and jigsaw puzzles. All have been catalogued.
“The library is a valued resource for the carers who have accessed it. And it’s great for the kids to be able to pick up a book with words in language in it.”
The library’s collection is available to carers across WA and staff are hoping to soon have increased lending hours and be able to offer a mobile service, taking borrowed items to carers’ homes.
“We understand the importance of early literacy skills and couldn’t have got to where we are without the books from ILF.”