Library friends from around South Australia meet in Murray Bridge

Participating: Dr David Parker, Friends of Library Australia treasurer speaks at a recent forum held at the Murray Bridge Library.
Participating: Dr David Parker, Friends of Library Australia treasurer speaks at a recent forum held at the Murray Bridge Library.

Members of the Friends of the Murray Bridge Library hosted the Friends of Libraries Australia state forum on September 14.

This was a first for the group as most times the biennial event is held at libraries closer to Adelaide.

A lot of planning by the friends’ committee ensured the event’s success.

There were over 30 attendees with representatives from Goolwa, Stirling, Mt Barker, Prospect, and the Barossa as well as Daniel Ferguson, executive director of Friends of Libraries Australia (FOLA) as well as the organisation’streasurer Dr David Parker.

 After a tour of the library it was onto a morning tea then library manager, Tim Law, opened the day. Peggy Bennett, as president of the local friends group, provided a welcome on behalf of the members.

At the opening address Mr Ferguson spoke about how libraries would change in the future and how a firm foundation would provide long term success and survival.

He spoke about utilising civic space to ensuring libraries were open to all and engaged people to participate.

He said targeting youth by making a greater impact on increasing and updating technology to expand access to information, provision of online educational opportunities was another facet.

Mr Ferguson said libraries would be come “theatres of knowledge” in which there would be every opportunity to provide global information.

There was also discussion on how Friends of Library groups could be part of the future direction of libraries.

Suggestions included support to library management, greater involvement by members in the operations of the library and offering a “friends scholarship” to  students to assist in further studies.

Like other ventures, members would look ahead for new ideas to draw the community into being part of the library and the many events available now and in the future.

Firm foundations will be key in providing long term success and survival for libraries

It was pleasing to have Georgina Trevorrow who has shared her involvement in the Murray Bridge Library and within the community.

The storybooks for Elders has already proved an asset to retaining the native language as well as the therapeutic value.

The jigsaws, storytelling at the Library, being involved in the school holiday activities and  the bookmaking demonstrated the value of involvement.

 The next presentation was by Ann Hughes who spoke on the program, Tapping into the Oldies.

The idea of interviewing older Murray Bridge citizens turned out to be quite a labour of love involving a small group of volunteers.

Following an oral history workshop in April 2009 some volunteers began contacting local participants in order to start the project.

Their stories were recorded initially on a memory card, re-processed onto individual compact discs at the State Library’s technology department and duly returned.

The next stage was the transcribing of each story from disc to the printed word which was an interesting but time-consuming exercise.

A total of 51 residents were interviewed and their supply of treasured photos were reproduced which were then transcribed into the printed word, with three copies of each bound with the interview CD attached in each booklet.  There is a full set in the Murray Bridge Library for in-house reading, as well as a set in the State Library collection.

A visual DVD of a cameo coverage of 24 stories is available for borrowing. 

After lunch, Ms Bennett, who was the principal librarian for almost 47 years, gave a detailed history of the Murray Bridge Library which detailed the numerous shifts from one venue to the next to find a suitable home.

The forum’s participants then formed groups for a discussion time to share good ideas as well those that did not perform well.