Keeping Books Alive

On Friday, Jacquie and I attended the Keeping Books Alive seminar held at Dandenong Library. Some points of note follow.

Gary Crew was the key note speaker and talked about where inspiration comes from. Apparently he doesn’t get inspired by admiring the view out of his study window – that just makes him sleep. He said writing stories is laborious work. Authors need to research, prepare, develop their skills. He went on to talk about how important books and stories are to children and teachers.

Meredith Costain spoke about writing narrative non fiction and gave us an insight to how she runs narrative non fiction writing sessions for students. This included having a number of librarians crawling around the floor pretending to be cheetahs, antelopes, and hyeenas.

Tom Danby runs a business selling mainly non fiction books to school libraries and spoke about the state of ebooks in school libraries.

Leigh Hobbs talked a bit about his work and taught us how to draw his character Old Tom the way he does with students. Leigh was a fantastic, entertaining and engaging speaker. Here’s my effort at reproducing Old Tom:

sketch of Old Tom


Tristan Bancks then spoke about his writing methods and how he engages with students, including a site he developed at that helps you pull together images, notes, video, audio to help build your story research.

Aside from the speakers, we took a brief lunchtime wander through the new Dandenong Library. Lots of PCs there, including iPads for browsing council and library websites, large screen computers in small booths for collaborative work, computers with literacy/numeracy software in the children’s area and some games consoles near the teen area. Scattered around the library were staff only computers where staff were able to help library users.

There was a pretty decent crowd in the library for lunchtime on a Friday. And they had cloud-shaped lights in the kid’s area 🙂



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