I love libraries. For me, libraries have always been a welcoming space to enjoy, learn and seek solace. Last week, I decided to browse Adelaide City Council’s relatively new “City Library” (opened in 2014). Libraries are a great way for children to explore and foster a life-long learning attitude.
So what does a blog on a library have to do with parenting children in the digital age?
In a time where digital screens appear to be disconnecting us from each other, a community space such a library is a free and accessible way for you to teach your child valuable attitudes towards their development.
I still get the same exciting feeling when I walk into a new library as I did as a young child, knowing that I had access to so many interesting books – for free! Note: I am not advocating for you as parents to force your child to go to the library to study, but I encourage you to let your child wander, discover and have fun!
A good library also caters for all ages and reading levels. I also wonder about the important effects of unwritten rules like “no speaking” in libraries on one’s ability to focus and sustain attention in a modern fast paced world.
My review of the Adelaide City Library
The City Library looks and feels like it was designed by Apple. Situated in the heart of Rundle Mall, it is tucked away in a laneway (where the old Axel Beers Menswear use to be) on the top floor. With low ceilings, it feels compact -like a pocket sized iLibrary. I was a bit confused as to whether I liked the concept (I have to admit, I am a bit of a library snob).
However, the City Library is innovative, with a strong focus on digital technology (approximately 25% of the floor space is dedicated to computers) and community programs and activities. One particular program they have at the moment is their poetry workshop run by their “poet-in-residence” Mr Gareth Roi.
Although the rest of the library was packed and all the computers occupied, it was a bit sad to see that people did not share the same enthusiasm for a face to face workshop, which I should add was free!
Other great free activities for children and adults at the City Library
ASO Junior Jams
Check out the programs and activities here.
My poetry workshop experience
So why poetry? In the spirit of #immerseyourself into new worlds, I wanted to explore my creative side and see if new poetry skills could be transferable in other aspects of my work, including this blog. It was also a great opportunity to connect with other people within the Adelaide community.
I was intrigued by Gareth’s welcoming manner towards wandering library goers and drop-ins to his workshop. So the following week (today) I decided to join in the fun. He certainly has a great way of making new comers feel at ease. At first, many feel intimidated that they must be a “poet” to write poetry. Today, there was one other attendee, a shy lady in her 60s who had a lovely smile and kept apologising for her perceived lack of poetry skill.
Gareth guided us through 3 phases to writing our poems:
He asked us to each go and get 6 books with covers that we liked and to put them on the table. He then gave us various exercises for various books:
1. Describe what you see on the cover
2. Describe how that cover makes you feel
3. Go to the first and last pages and pick a word that you like and do the same for pages 50, 100, 150 and so on.
4. Write a poem based on the above exercises.
5. Found poetry- where you find a poem within a page.
6. Write a poem based on the last sentence in a book.
I will remember a quote from Gareth today, “stealing from one author is plagiarism, stealing from many authors is research.” What I really enjoyed about today’s creative process was connecting together inspirations from different sources to create something new. Essentially, finding that common thread and linking together ideas.
2 poems that I wrote from today’s workshop:
“In The Dark”
by Dr Huu Kim Le
In the dark, her eyes spoke.
Symmetrical windows of anguish and lopsided memories.
Voila! A traumatic flashback once unspeakable now vividly familiar,
returning like a haunting zombie.
“Bleed Like Me”
By Dr Huu Kim Le
Bleed like me,
clots in my heart form.
Each word cutting deeper into my ventricles.
Each syllable beating down on me.
No valve can stop the flood of pain, streaming down my face.
When was the last time you went to your local library?
The City Library has many other great facilities including:
The Outdoor Reading Room – a place of reflection
The Digital Hub – a place of learning and discovery
The Media Lab – a place of productions
The Innovation Lab – a place of collaboration
To find out more go to the City Library link here.