Surprise book of the month

Beautiful Goats cover.docxBeautiful Goats: Portraits of Classic Breeds

Written by Felicity Stockwell  and photographed by Andrew Perris

I have noticed that Library staff love putting Beautiful Goats: Portraits of Classic Breeds on display and it always gets borrowed. So what is so appealing about this unusual title?

I asked myself “Why do we love goats?” They eat almost everything and can butt you in the backside, then appear to laugh about it.  However, goats are also sweet natured and have pretty faces. They have personality. Maybe they are endeared to us from childhood, when we listen to the story of the brave Billy Goats Gruff outwitting the vile troll on the bridge. One of my colleagues also told me that goats have become nearly as popular as cats on the Internet.

In the first few pages of Beautiful Goats: Portraits of Classic Breeds, Felicity Stockwell looks at the history and cultural significance of goats. She writes about the agricultural products derived from goats, goats as pets, wild goats and show competitions. However, the greatest part of this book is devoted to showcasing 40 breeds of goats. Photographs are accompanied by specific information about each breed that is featured.

These goats are simply photogenic and definitely beautiful. Each goat is photographed against a simple grey background, which reflects the colour of the book’s covers.  They do not require any other artifices. Andrew Perris skilfully manages to capture so much expression on each of these animal’s faces.  The goats look proud and happy to be photographed on set. They raise their heads in regal poses as if to say “This is my good side”.

The final section of the book ‘Reportage’ takes a fun look inside a goat show, where black and white snapshots are posted billboard style, accompanied by cute captions.

It is worth browsing through this lovely book, whether you have an interest in agriculture, you would like a cheeky pet or even if you just enjoy clever photography. You can reserve Beautiful Goats: Portraits of Classic Breeds. Or enquire next time you visit the Library.



Book Review

Cats & Lions

Cats & Lions by Mitsuaki Iwago

Ailurophobia is the persistent, irrational fear of cats. Doubtless, a former colleague of mine suffered from this condition, for when looking at a photograph of a reclining cat, she exclaimed in horror “It’s just like a wee lion!”

Remembering this incident, I was drawn to reading Cats & Lions by award winning wildlife and nature photographer Mitsuaki Iwago.

Iwago tells us that “Cats are small lions. Lions are big cats.” In a series of beautiful and distinctive photographs, Iwago cleverly sets out the lives of domestic cats in urban areas and African lions in the wild, side by side. He reveals the similarities between the two species and captures the natural beauty of the different environments in which they live.

He compares these cats’ musculature and movement, when walking, feeding and hunting. We see them when they are at rest or gazing into the distance, thinking who knows what and scenting the air. Other outstanding photographs focus on the close bonds between feline families – parents with kittens or cubs, grooming each other and playing together.

Iwago’s work is atmospheric, which is partly due to the amount of detail the he captures in both the subjects and backgrounds of his photographs. Colours are intense and the lighting stunning. You can almost feel the snow falling, hear the murmur of the wind moving through the grass of the savannah, or anticipate the sound of thunder in the distance, preceding the rain.

I think that Iwago aims to create an emotional response from the reader. His photos invoke happiness, especially if you like cats.  They will make you happy but also perhaps, a little sad.  Iwago explains in his introduction to Cats & Lions that “The Lion is a wild animal and does not have an easy life.” His images show us that while lions are supremely adapted to their environment, they must compete and hunt for food. Their only shelter from danger and the harsh elements of heat, drought and driving rain is the long grass and some sparse acacia trees.

You can reserve Cats & Lions through the One Card Network library catalogue, or enquire when you visit the Library. Mitsuaki Iwago is also the author of Curious Cats, In the Lion’s Den and Mitsuaki Iwago’s Whales which are available through the One Card Library Network.

Christmas trees and School groups

Christmas is creeping up on us with ever-increasing speed and the main Library focus for school groups in 4th term was Christmas trees, along with a smattering of launches into outer space for the International Year of Astronomy.

Several classes from local schools and kindergartens visited the Library to hear about the history of Christmas trees, read stories and participate in the creation of our Community Christmas trees.

The aim of the Community Christmas trees was for children to create a leaf on the tree using a tracing of their hand. Each leaf was decorated and the children wrote their message for the community. Some of the messages included “Be nice”, “Be peaceful and kind”, “Enjoy Christmas everyone”, “Love, share, care and have a Merry Christmas” and many more.

Come into the Library to see the trees, or view our flickr pages (just click on the link on the lower right of this page)  to see more images of the children’s trees.

He’s mad, and he’s mean…

He’s the Bunyip!

36 classes from local primary schools visited the Library to see our children’s living book performance of Emily and the Big Bad Bunyip, based on the book by Jackie French, illustrated by Bruce Whatley and published by Harper Collins. (Thanks to them all for giving permission to perform the work!)

You can see photos of the cast and performances on our flickr site (just click on the link on the lower right of this page). There are also photos of the fabulous thank you letters sent to us from students at Modbury West,  who saw a performance.

There will be another chance to meet Emily the Emu, the Bunyip and their friends during the school holidays – book your space now for the Christmas Living Book Performance.

Photos from Library events

Photos from several of the events in the library over recent months have been uploaded to the blog.  Simply click on the ‘More Photos’ link under the three photos on the right hand side of the blog page.

You can see pics from author and poet visits, including Jill Wherry, Jeannette Rowe, Ken Vincent and Stephen M Irwin. There are also images from Children’s Book Week, which had a Safari theme this year. Many of the posters designed by school classes are able to be viewed. A highlight is the photos from the Living Book performance by our Childrens and Youth Services team, of Captain Crabclaw’s Crew…aaarrrgh me hearties!

19th Century Photographs

19century_2Did you know photography was not made commercially available until 1841? It is commonly believed that the photography process has been around for much longer, but Graham Jaunay was at the library last Wednesday to tell us otherwise.

An experienced family historian and lecturer in genealogy, Graham conducted a workshop in the Learning Centre to explain some of the best ways to find out when the photos in 19th century albums were taken. Many people think that the best way to determine the date is to examine the subjects of the photograph, but it actually proves more accurate to look at what form the photo is in and how it has been presented. Using the correct methods,  it is possible to narrow the date down to a particular decade or even year.

As well as learning the difference between their daguerreotypes and calotypes, the group of budding genealogists who attended the workshop also left with an understanding of how to best protect old photos from damage. The four main types of damage that cause deterioration are environmental, chemical, physical and biological. If stored appropriately, photos will be protected from all damage and will last for many years to come.

Interested in finding out more? Try these titles available in our collection…

Preserving your family photographs by Maureen A. Taylor

Photography: An illustrated history by Martin W. Sandler

Dating nineteenth century photographs by Robert Pols

Better Photographs

man20taking20picturesLocal resident and retired professional photographer Howard Cuffe is giving a workshop on the basics of taking better photographs. The workshop aims to cover some of those industryhints and tips which result in more professional looking photos! It doesn’t matter if you own a digital or film camera as Howard will talk about angles, perspective, the rule of threes, lighting and a range of other photo taking skills. Monday May 4th in the evening, details and booking info is available from the website.

Spy kids … October school holidays



Love to share some piccies of some of the many local children who participated in our Spies and Detective theme activities in October.

 Joel Haydon


 Making spy identikits, magnifiying glasses, torches, and dressing up for character photo shoots.



James Bond, Inspector Gadget, Maxwell Smart and ’99’ all made an appearance too!












Summer school holidays will be just as fun, with prizes to be won and games to play.