Way back when, Wednesdays

A leisurely Sunday at your library

Sunday at the Library

Bestselling author Amy Tan has been quoted as saying that “Libraries are the pride of the City.” http://www.azquotes.com/author/14434-Amy_Tan There is also a proverb that says that a Sunday well spent brings a week of content. Sundays can be a chance to relax, read, put on some music, spend time with family and just enjoy yourself. Which is why many people visit their local library. On 7 February 1979, the North East Leader, a Messenger Newspaper, printed an article that focused on the success of opening the City of Tea Tree Gully Library on Sunday. We also learn from the article about the popularity of the library at North East Road and how much it had to offer patrons.  The Messenger story provides modern readers with a snapshot of this era and we can see how some things have changed.

In 1979 the Library was situated at 1020 North East Road, which is now the site of the Tea Tree Plus shopping centre. The Library was housed in a modern building, which opened in 1975, adjacent to, and constructed in the same mid-century modern architectural style as the Tea Tree Gully Civic Centre. The Council building had opened in 1967.

 

PH03979 Facade of Library

The Library at 1020 North East Road Modbury. Image: Community History Photograph Collection, Tea Tree Gully Library. PH03979

 

Most public libraries in South Australia did not open on Sundays until the late 1980s/early 1990s. In the Messenger article the Chief Council Librarian Felicity Langeveldt stated that opening Sundays had been successful because it was a convenient days for residents to use the Library service but also that many of them took advantage of using the listening posts.

In an era where listening to your favourite songs was not simply a matter of downloading music from iTunes or Google Play, the residents of the City of Tea Tree Gully congregated at the Library to put on headphones and sit around a listening station. It would be interesting to find out if you played vinyl records or audio cassettes. Now we can borrow CDs to play at home or in the car. Or you can login to a computer at the Library to play CDs or listen to UTube.

 

 

PH01012 Official opening of the Library at North East Road.

Opening of the Library on North East Road, Modbury in 1975,
photograph PH01012.

 

Sundays continue to be a popular time to visit the Library. In 2017 there was an average of 521 people coming through the door each Sunday (door counts varied from 395 to 625). Our members still love reading and using the City of Tea Tree Gully Library service. The Library remains a community hub and our collections have grown considerably in size and type since 1979! We have approximately 64,000 books for adults, 25000 for children and adolescents, 4,500 magazines and 17,000 audio visual materials (this includes DVDs, CDs and audiobooks). You can now also access audio and ebooks and take advantage of approximately 4 million items through the SA Public Libraries One Card Network.

In 2017 the Library lent out an average of 73,210 items per month. In December loans totalled 53,273, December being our quietest month and the Civic Centre was closed over the Christmas holiday period. Today, most people search for information online as well as going to a public library. Or they can stream web based entertainment.
Thirty-nine years have elapsed since the date of the Messenger article. So if you think about it, the Tea Tree Gully Library must have been a very busy place, lending out 46,624 items way back in December 1979!
#waybackwhenwednesdays

 

Way back when, Wednesdays

Scary Santa!

Everybody seems to have heard a story about a child who was terrified of visiting Father Christmas.  Or when some people get out their own Santa photos, they realise they look decidedly uncomfortable sitting on the weird looking man’s knee, surrounded by red satin and masses of snowy hair and beard.

The Leader Messenger printed a photograph of two little cuties visiting Santa at the Clovercrest Shopping Centre, on the cover of the edition of 7 December 1966.  The girl on the left of the photo looks quite apprehensive, while the younger child on the right could be wondering “What are you?”  And who is the ‘intruder’ peering out from behind Santa, is she a sibling or just a girl wanting to be in the local paper?

Nevertheless, Clovercrest Shopping Centre must have deemed the girls photogenic enough to reuse the image in a full page advertisement, on page 2 of the Messenger on 14 December.  If you were one of the children pictured, we would love to know!

scary-santa-cropped

 

Jigsaw puzzles: erasing mental cobwebs since 1760

Jigsaws are good for your head. Fact.

When you put together a jigsaw puzzle, you harness both sides of the brain: the left side of the brain which deals with logic and sequence, and the right side of the brain that deals with emotions and performs tasks holistically. When you use both sides of the brain, it intensely exercises your brain cells and increases brain capacity.

DSC_8996

Staff tackling one of the library’s communal jigsaw puzzles.

The process of completing a jigsaw puzzle is also a form of meditation. Focusing on the same image for a long period can induce calmness and peace in your mind, as your concentration eludes everything else around you.

Chipping away at a jigsaw on a regular basis sharpens your memory and improves your clarity of thought, clearing away mental cobwebs. You can really lose yourself in a jigsaw, just like you do when you read a page turning novel.

London cartographer John Splisbury, is credited with commercialising jigsaw puzzles around 1760 and they have been a hit ever since. Not long afterwards they had the approval from the British royal family, being used in geography lessons for their children. The word jigsaw seems to be a misnomer, as they were meant to be named ‘fretsaws’, after the tools that cut the wooden pieces.

Tea Tree Gully Library has in excess of 200 different jigsaw puzzles. They are all available for customers to take home, without having to formally check them out on their card.

Our jigsaw collection features a range of graphics, including foreign cities, nature panoramas, cartoons and more. There are jigsaws with 100 pieces, and some with 3000. Make your selection on the challenge you’re up for!

You can always contribute to the library’s communal jigsaw table, which is right next to the collection.

 

Go behind the scenes at the Library

Megan Behind the Scenes tour

Have you ever wondered where library staff go when they tell you they need to search “out the back”?   Or thought about how everything you borrow mysteriously gets labels on the covers and put onto the Library’s computer system?

Come on the Library’s Behind the scenes tour to find out the answers to these questions and others that you may have.  You will certainly be surprised!

Date and time:   Thursday 26 May,11am – noon

Cost:  Free. Bookings are essential.  Places are limited.  Tours start at the Ask Here Desk. 

  • Follow the life of a book from purchase to debit.
  • See how a book gets from the supplier to the shelf.
  • Learn about some of the backroom tasks that library staff perform.
  • Discover what happen when you return at item in the chute. 
  • Gain a greater awareness of the volume of resources available for use.

Book online or telephone 8397 7333.

What’s it like to volunteer at the Library?

Last week Tea Tree Gully Library celebrated National Volunteer Week, and all of the good work they do. The Library simply could not function without the devotion and energy of our volunteers, who come from many different backgrounds and ages. One of our youngest volunteers is Sophie, who recently gave us some feedback on her experience helping with the Library’s Digital Hub. We would like to encourage anyone interested in volunteering at the Library, or another council-run facility, to visit the Volunteer Vacancies website

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and how did you come to end up as a volunteer at the Tea Tree Gully Library?

Hi, I’m Sophie!  I spend my Tuesday afternoons volunteering at the Digital Hub in Tea Tree Gully library.  I’m originally from Canada but moved here from England where I lived for four years, after having lived in Upstate New York for 11 years!

While visiting the Tea Tree Gully website I saw an ad about volunteering at the Digital Hub, and after making a phone call, meeting up with some coordinators, and having an interview, I was in!

What kinds of things do you provide volunteer assistance with at the library?

I work at the Digital Hub, helping mostly seniors learn how to use technology more effectively on  iPads, laptops, computers, iPods, or phones.

You are one of our youngest volunteers at the library, and you work with some of our most elderly customers. Is the age gap an issue and are people shocked when they see how young you are? 

The age gap doesn’t seem to be a problem in the least!  I think the elderly people love seeing a young face.  Sometimes when someone arrives for a lesson, even though I am right there, they stand around and seem to be wondering where their teacher is!  I approach them with a smile and ask them, “Are you here for the Digital Hub?”  I sometimes receive a surprised look but they don’t seem to mind at all.

What is it about volunteering you enjoy – where do you get your moments of joy?

It is such a joy to be able to explain things and solve problems that have been such a pain to the customer.  I love seeing the excitement on their face when they understand how to navigate or use a certain product.  It is always fun to amaze them with handy new tricks like copy and pasting (my most popular one)! I love hearing positive reports from staff members about people who have really appreciated a session.

What are some of the challenges with volunteering?

I think the biggest challenge is thinking up solutions on the spot and figuring out how to explain them as clearly as I can.

You are so young and the world is your oyster. Why have you made the choice to volunteer at such a young age, rather than go out and party, enjoy your hobbies and friends?

I thought volunteering would be the perfect way to get a taste of what a job might be like.  And I am actually enjoying my hobbies at the hub by teaching and exploring technology!  I have even met some lovely new people whom I am getting to know. I enjoy my regular customers!

What would you say to someone who is interested in volunteering, but is slightly hesitant about giving it a go?

Don’t let an opportunity such as volunteering pass you by!  It is a perfect way to get some great experience and meet some lovely people along the way.  You will never regret doing something that is not just beneficial for yourself but also for the many people who you will be helping.  It doesn’t hurt to give volunteering a try but you will probably end up continuing once you’ve started!

Libraries in Art Galleries

Sometimes an art gallery’s library is just as interesting as the artwork.

Many contemporary art galleries often have a library on site, so visitors can sit and enjoy reading books about the artists and the permanent art collection in a particular gallery. An art gallery library also serves to provide a greater insight into featured artworks by hosting a strong collection of literature and relevant documentation.

On recent trip to Hobart one of our staff discovered a Library in the depths of the extraordinary MONA art museum; a collection of 5,000 books on art and ancient cultures housed in a quiet, beautiful modernist chamber. It wasn’t quite the lively hub that we have here at Tea Tree Gully, but goes to show that organisations everywhere still like to collect fascinating books for people to read.

MONA

Artworks at MONA in Hobart, Australia.

Across the world, many significant art galleries have amazing libraries as well. Naoshima Island, off the southern seaport of Oyama in Japan, is dotted with art galleries and their libraries. One of these galleries, Benesse House, features contemporary art works from artists like Andy Warhol and Yayoi Kusama, which dazzle in the mezzanine style layout that provides views of art and the surrounding seaside. In the middle of the gallery, right behind an unremarkable corner, is a library nook filled to the brim of Japanese and English books regarding artists’ work. It’s particularly helpful for those seeking a more detailed explanation of the art works they have seen, particularly when the captions are in a foreign language.

Naoshima

Benesse Museum on the Japanese island Naoshima

Benesse House

Benesse House – yes there is a library inside, which soaks up this amazing view.

History buffs can get lost in the books at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Library, which has items in its collection dating back to the 1300s. The Archive is also particularly rich in papers relating to art and artists in Scotland.

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Library

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Library

The National Art Library in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum is a major public reference library of fine and decorative arts of many countries and periods. It is a major source of reference for curators, journalists and artists worldwide.

National Art Gallery - Victoria and Albert Museum

Library in the National Art Gallery – Victoria and Albert Museum

Please see one of our staff if you would like to see our collection of art and craft books, which are located in the non-fiction 700s section in the Tea Tree Gully Library.

A tale of work experience at the Tea Tree Gully Library

It is a truth universally acknowledged that you can’t get a job without experience in the workplace and you can’t get experience in the workplace until someone gives you a job.

With this in mind, the clever people at UniSA insist that students of the Graduate Diploma in Library and Information Management undertake work placement in a library. I had previously volunteered for the Tea Tree Gully Radio Frequency ID (RFID) tagging volunteer program where I helped put new RFID tags into library items. This technology is what enables the easy scanning in the new self-checkout machines. I had enjoyed this volunteer program, so I used my volunteer contacts to organise my placement at Tea Tree Gully.

I was very excited. I showed up on my first day keen to do some serious library-ing, but I quickly discovered the other reason the clever people at UniSA want their students to get real word experience.

I didn’t know anything. At all.

And so began my journey.

Some tasks were simple once you knew the library layout and the codes for different sections. For example, the code for Adult Fiction is AF, Adult Non-Fiction is ANF and Adult Fiction Large Print is … AG. Completely logical.

Returns has recently become simpler by the introduction of RFID tags. Instead of precision-scanning each bar-code, the items simply have to be placed over the sensor pad just like the self-service borrowing machines.

Nevertheless, I met with challenges and overcame them with grace and dignity.

Other tasks might have taken time to learn, but my Gen Y status gave me an advantage.

The most difficult task was working on the Customer Service Desk (CSD). People would come up and ask me questions, but I didn’t know any of the answers yet. At first, I had to have help with every question, but before long  I could answer the more frequent questions on my own. By the end of my placement I only had to use my apologetic “I’m just a work experience student” disclaimer for one in three enquires, and usually I managed to answer those enquiries anyway.

But it was also the best task, because I liked talking with the customers. I tracked down books for people who only knew the name of the main character in them, not the title or the author. I helped photocopy university homework, information from books, and Australian citizenship applications. I registered new library patrons. I met people and talked to them about their pets, their degree, their families.

Everyone in the library was incredibly nice and welcoming and helped me out whenever I asked (which was often). I had a great time and learned a lot.