Well, as the Super Secret London Project (more on that later) winds down after a near-perfect summer, it’s time for me to pack my bags one more time. I’m heading Down Under for a brief visit.
From September to December, I’ll be back with my friends at Parkes Shire Library, NSW, building on our legacy of play-based learning and community outreach.
Since I first got to know the Parkes gang, we’ve battled zombies on two occasions, travelled in time, used robots to fight off monsters, and entered the world of cinema and urban myth. We’ve also run teen book publishing workshops with professionals from Australia and the US, and hosted Australia’s first rural comics festival. The team have demonstrated the sustainability of these projects by creating immersive activities like Paint Like Michelangelo, which then inspired Wellington Libraries in New Zealand, and carrying out the long-term Coffee Cup Stories project.
(That’s not even to mention the ninjas, werewolves, and Angry Birds. Or Barbra Streisand).
In the forthcoming season, beginning with Parkes’ READtember festival of literacy, we’ll be seeking to challenge ourselves further and reach out to new communities within our territory. After all, it’s important to practice what you preach.
If you want to know more about the Parkes way of doing things, a good place to start is the 2015 Library as Innovation Toolkit from ALA editions, which you can preorder today. I co-wrote the chapter on youth outreach with Parkes’ Tracie Mauro.