Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Thursday 7 July 2011

Notes From The President

Life Inside "The FAYZ" (Gone series - Michael Grant, Egmont, 2009)

Lana :
Lana read a lot now. There were still plenty of books in the FAYZ. Almost no music, no TV or movies. Plenty of books. She read everything from fun chick lit to heavy, boring books.

Astrid :
It wasn’t a book she’d ever have read back in the old days. She wouldn’t have been caught dead reading some silly teen romance. Back then she’d have read a classic, or some work of great literary merit. Or history.
Now she needed escape. Now she needed not to be in this world, this terrible world of the FAYZ. Books were the only way out.

I can’t make up my mind about this series – and I hear there are two more titles still to come! It’s definitely a ‘can’t-put-down’ story. But does the author have an overall plan, or does he just snatch ideas, each more horrible than the last, out of his imagination when things in the FAYZ might be approaching some sort of equilibrium? And I wonder if the series has been used in the classroom at all? A confident teacher might find it an interesting basis for philosophical or ethical or even economic discussion –but I don’t think I could!

Life Without Libraries?(Resurgence July / August 2011, Issue 267 and Philip Pullman)

I do some volunteer work at a little special library (see its catalogue at and was preparing the latest copy of this British journal for the shelves when I noticed it contained an article by Philip Pullman (remember His dark materials?).
There seem to be the same public service cuts scheduled in Britain as we are facing here – in Oxfordshire (Philip’s home area) the County Council has had the bright idea that libraries can stay open if they are staffed by volunteers, and their communities can bid against each other for the funds required to maintain the libraries. An interesting thought! Below are some of the paragraphs in his article which I found particularly noteworthy.

Does he [Keith Mitchell, leader of the County Council] think the job of a librarian is so simple that any old body can step up and do it for a nice thank you and a cup of tea? Does he think that all a librarian does is to tidy the shelves? And who are these volunteers? Who are all these people whose lives are so empty; whose time is so free, who have no families to look after, no paid jobs to do, no responsibilities and enough wealth that they can commit many hours of every week to working for nothing?’


..’one of the few things that make life more bearable for the young mother…..is a weekly story session in the local library, the one just down the road.

She can go there with the toddler and the baby and sit in the warmth, in a place that’s clean and safe and friendly, a place that makes her and the children welcome. But does she or any of the other mothers or any of the older people who all enjoy and use the library have the social confidence, political connections, administrative experience or even the spare time and energy to enable them to become the volunteers that will keep the library open?

Have a look at the complete article at http://www.resurgence.org/magazine/article3417.html - you’ll find it well worth reading.

- Patsy Jones

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