On super libraries

So something really exciting had happened! Probably not exciting to anyone but me, but still…

I’ve always been a member of the ‘swap’ libraries in South Australia – a group of libraries that allow you to borrow from any one of the libraries in the group. This meant, if my local library didn’t have a book, I could potentially get it from another library. This was always great, but when I was looking for books of on the list of 1001 Children’s Books That You Must Read Before You Grow Up, there were plenty of gaps.

As of a couple of weeks ago, however, ‘swap’ libraries, along with a whole lot of other South Australian libraries, joined forced to form the ‘one card’ network – one, giant super library. Basically, I can now borrow and order books from practically every books in the state. I know, exciting!

Now, when looking through the online catalogue, I can see books from tiny little country libraries. And I have decided that I love these little country libraries. The ‘swap’ libraries have a great range of more recently published books, but these little country libraries have more obscure titles, many of while are part of the 1001 Children’s Books I am endeavouring to read. I spent a nerdy couple of hours yesterday just plugging in title after title from my book of 1001 Children’s Books, and was delighted that about half of the books I searched came up as available, either in one of my local libraries or to order from Naracoorte, or Millicent, or Willunga (for those of you that are not from South Australia, these are little towns spread across the state. Naracoorte in particular made me smile – this is the town where my grandparents lived and my mum grew up). I also discovered that Port Adelaide library must have an awesome range of children’s books, and am considering a trip down South just to browse the shelves.

Ben, my partner, who studies economics and law, considered the economic standpoint of all these libraries borrowing books from one another, and whether it would be financially beneficial, but I don’t really care. I think this is great for libraries in the area – you are much more likely to borrow books more regularly if you are ten times more likely to actually get the exact books you are after, even if you have to wait a few days to a week for them.

So now, my choosing books by lucky dip will be much easier, and more more diverse, since when I type a book’s title into my library catalogue, it will probably come up as available. My current lucky dips on order are ‘A Traveller in Time’ by Alison Utterly, ‘The Hundred Dresses’ by Eleanor Estes, ‘Stuart Little’ by E.B. White and ‘The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily’ by Dino Buzzati. Looking forward to that mixed bag!

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11 comments

  1. I remember reading “A Traveller in Time” by Alison Utterly as a child – her books were all fantastic. You’ll enjoy it…..I actually found my old copy when I was cleaning out my stored childhood bits and pieces this week at my parent’s house. I’m surprised that “Stuart Little” has been hard to come by – there was a movie out not that long ago, so thought they would have reissued it for the tie in?

    • I was surprised at how hard some books – which I was sure would be popular and plentiful – are to come by. ‘The Bridge to Terabithia’, which I thought was quite a popular classic, is only in one library in the whole of South Australia! Others that I had never heard of, and seemed likely to be hard to come by as they were originally published in the 1910s or 20s, happened to be in lots of libraries, like a book called ‘Nurse Mathilda’! I wonder how libraries choose which books to buy, and which books to keep on their shelves. I suppose it’s good for me – as long as there is one copy in the library network, that is enough for me, because I can get it!

      • How funny! I found “Bridge to Terabithia” in the same box last week. My sister (who was helping me to clear out the storage room) and I were both reminiscing about what a great book it was. My mother was a former Teacher Librarian, so we had fantastic books as children.

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  3. Oh I love your blog. Even living in a place where not that many books are available (Gaza), though at times frustrating, reading your writings just fills me with excitement about all these new books I have to acquire and smuggle into my little enclave.

    • I’m so glad you enjoy it! Hearing that people like reading it makes me feel like it is all worthwhile. I hope you have the chance to smuggle many, many books into your life! Are there any amazing children’s books you reckon I should read?

      • Well I feel a bit ridiculous suggesting anything to a book seller! But well, the obvious one is The Little Prince; the Wind in the Willows (I know you haven’t read yet – you should), Three Men in a Boat (not really a children’s book but I would put it on the list anyway) and The Alchemist (the only one I would bother reading by Coelho)…

      • I love The Little Prince! And I have read Wind in the Willows now… It’s the first book I read for the blog! It was excellent, very glad I have finally read it. I have been wanting to read ‘The Alchemist’ for a very long time… There are too many amazing books to read!

      • I know – If I was god I’d add one year of life for every book read… just a thought… and 10 years deducted to those who like 50 shades of grey lol

      • Oh and there is a wee book – very tiny – called Eric – by Shaun Tan – it’s one of those books-for-children-but-not-really that you wrote about in another post, I guess. I wrote a poem about Eric and Shaun Tan wrote back to say he liked it 🙂 … http://hopscotchrain.wordpress.com/?s=eric

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