At Cherbourg State School, books from the ILF’s Book Supply program are providing much-needed new stock to a previously languishing school library.
When school librarian Lisa Hansen arrived in Cherbourg, about three and a half hours drive north-west of Brisbane, and took over the running of the library, the shelves were full of “really old” books, some published as far back as the 1970s and 1980s.
“They were very outdated. Some were books I’d read when I was at primary school!” Lisa explains. “Like the Dick and Dora series and The Swiss Family Robinson.”
All of the students at Cherbourg are from Aboriginal families in the community, and such titles were not really capturing either their interest or their imagination. There was “zero budget” for ordering enticing new books but once the books from our Foundation arrived, were accessioned and became available for loan there was a noticeable shift in awareness and excitement among the children about what the library could offer.
“The books we get from ILF are predominantly Indigenous tales, the sorts of books the kids don’t normally see. And they are illustrated in vibrant colours.”
The graphic novels in the Yarning Strong series (Laguna Bay Publishing), all written by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander authors and featuring Indigenous characters, have proven especially popular.
Other favourites include “anything about Rugby League” although, somewhat surprisingly deep in League country, the kids have become entranced by Shock ‘Em! Stories of the Big River Hawks. This lively collection about eight players’ passion for AFL was produced in a writing workshop run in Katherine in the NT by our Foundation’s lifetime ambassador Dr Anita Heiss along with Dr Sandra Phillips.
“The ILF does awesome work!” says Lisa. “Their books are definitely my pick for what to stock in our school library.”