Friday, 27 September 2013

The Libraries Board tours the north of the State

Last Friday (19 September) members of the Libraries Board started their annual 2 day country tour of public libraries.  As per the Board's schedule this year took us back to the far north of the State.

Knowing that the Board was coming, Roxby Downs decided to time the formal opening of their new Roxby Link library with the Board's attendance.

We flew into Roxby Downs & picked up hire cars to then travel to Andamooka, Woomera and back to Roxby Downs.

Board members from left Jan-Claire Wisdom, Andrew Luckhurst-Smith, Helen Nichols, Lynn Spurling SLSA Director Alan Smith, Vini Ciccarello, Chair - James Bruce, Fiona Adler & Deputy Chair - Ann Short - at Roxby Downs waiting to collect hire cards
 Andamooka students were all at Woomera for the day, but we were welcomed by staff & got to visit the library & see their One Card system working.  Since our last visit 6 years ago the library has shifted into the new building you see on the right of Board members as they make their way towards it.

Members of the public told us that they get temperatures of up to 52 degrees, when the road melts & shoes get stuck on it!!  So of course almost everything, including the school and its library is air-conditioned.  However there is also a lovely covered outdoor play area.  And on a day when it was cold wet & windy in Adelaide, it was lovely to be here.

We drove down to Woomera to be met with library staff, the principal and community members.  The library has lots of space, so has spread out to use the space they have.  However they have recently done a significant cull of their collection - supported by PLS staff, getting ready for joining the One Card network. The library now has a very good looking, modern collection.  The library is now part of the consortium & because of their relatively large collection appear to be net lenders to other libraries at present.

Woomera is a Department of Defence town, so only people who are working for Defence, or directly supporting this effort can live in the town.  However they attract significant tourist numbers because of their long history of rockets, space exploration and weapons testing.  Currently the fact that the library is available to the public is not obvious from the road, so some new large signage has been commissioned & will soon be installed (see below).  

On the way back to Roxby Downs we saw a number of Sturt Desert Pea plants on the side of the road & as a number of Board members had not seen them before we stopped & took a few photos.

After a late afternoon Board meeting we then had an opportunity to participate in the official opening of the new Library.  Speeches were delivered by the Council CEO Bill Boehm, local State member of parliament Lyn Breuer and Libraries Board Chairman who also did the formal opening and ribbon / paper chain cutting.

Lyn Breuer made the interesting point that while Whyalla (her home town) 100 years to get a new, purpose built modern library, Roxby Downs is opening their new library in its 25th year.

The Library is being called the Roxby Link, partly because it was built in a void between two buildings, and now connects them, but also because the two buildings it links together are the town's cultural and leisure centres, however it also has its own purpose built features, purpose and features.  And that seems like a perfect metaphor for a public library.  Libraries link together culture & leisure in a unique way, adding an overlay of information & lifelong learning to create a new community space.  This library achieves this connection.  And it is pleasing to see that the library is a blend of collections, study spaces, technology and relaxed meeting spaces - with really interesting furniture and great finishes.  Below are a series of photos which are good, but as we know photos can't do total justice to many subjects.

Flexible study space which can be closed off as a meeting room

Interesting library couch

Great use of a library front desk - an instant bar!

Library Manager Kimberley Hargreaves (left) & Council CEO Bill Boehm (Centre) with library staff and chefs get ready to cut the cakes!

After a night's rest we were up an off to Coober Pedy on a charter plane.  This plane would also take us on to Leigh Creek, Port Augusta & home to Adelaide.

Everyone gets a window view!

So on to Coober Pedy - the most northerly public library in the State.  Here we were met by the School Bus to take us to the library.  Note the red earth, blue sky, white mullock heaps (left side on the horizon), very flat horizon & absence of vegetation.

We didn't take any good photos of the people at Coober Pedy, which is disappointing, as we had a delightful time with a group of very interesting, lively community members.  However we did capture an interesting display showing the diversity of the origins of the community, which is seen below.

A great chart demonstrating the diversity of the local community

So it was off to Leigh Creek where we were met by school students and transported on the school bus to the library.  Although the library has been open for more than 10 years it continues to look great & provide a great service to the local community and outlying settlements such as Lyndhurst and regional stations.

Our final stop was at Port Augusta.  Every time the Board visits Port Augusta there are major changes underway.  Last visit occurred at a time when plans for the foreshore upgrade were on display & this visit saw plans for a totally revamped sporting complex.  

The library has also gone through a face lift, with the 1970s brown bricks being clad and painted to provide a much lighter and colourful feel.  Sadly we were so distracted looking around that we didn't take any pics in the library.  The picture below is in the council chambers where we had a great opportunity to meet with and talk to councillors & the newly elected mayor.

Library Manager Tina Dunneman telling the Board and local council about the Library's achievements


No comments:

Post a Comment