Serendipity and my academic journey into teacher librarianship brought me to the State Library for a wonderful two week internship. As a high school teacher in South Western Sydney, if anyone had told me how much I would enjoy working during the school holidays I would have doubted them! However, what a wonderful way to spend two weeks - with an inspiring, dedicated team of librarians and educationalists passionate about developing ever more creative ways to bring our state’s incredible and eclectic collection to wider and younger audiences. The team seem to have the vision to not just bring the collection to life now , but also to ensure the enthusiasm and commitment of our future curators, librarians, creators and teachers who pass through the doors and who will inevitably inherit the collection in the future.
As an educationalist myself, seeing children and young people not just attending the library, but really engaging with such joy with the activities and the collection was uplifting. Already an enthusiastic participant of the fantastic curriculum linked school programs, it was great to gain an insight into the holiday programs and the wide appeal of the different elements of the programs on offer. From the playful and nostalgic celebration of 100 years since the publication of May GIbbs Gumnut babies and Gum-blossom babies, resplendent with a wonderful birthday cake and 1950s parlour games, to the inspiring interactive session with Aura Parker, fantastic children’s author and illustrator of Twig and My Magnificent Jellybean Tree, the programs were diverse, interactive and fun. My enduring image is of the broad smiles on the faces of every participant of all the programs as they left, young and not so young alike!
A highlight was a wonderful, immersive two hour digital art session which explored the current exhibition, Botanical Inspiration and featured the fusion of Ferdinand Bauer's extraordinary images and use of colour with contemporary and extraordinary technology at our fingertips in the form of online drawing apps. The young participants left with a much prized canvas bag adorned with the individual image they had created transferred onto it; a unique piece of take home creativity. It was lovely to see their faces as the iron lifted off and they saw their image transformed and revealed on the bag. Innovation was the key and it was inspiring to see traditional and contemporary technologies interwoven and the immense pleasure and creative potential that this offers.
After my wonderful, busy and varied two weeks with Learning Services I am left in awe at the amount of creativity and teamwork that is channeled into developing these engaging programs which are inspired by the Library collection. My time at the State Library, although short, has left me inspired to promote the Learning Services’ wonderful work and the diverse ways it is possible to access the collection and resources from school and home. I hope to remain a partner and friend of Learning Services and the Library, working in partnership to ensure we continue to bring the resources and creativity of the library to all young people and especially our student cohort in South Western Sydney.