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Making a difference

Annie receiveing the Making a Difference Award on behalf of the Bindoon Library. Photo by Fahmfoto.

When people think of public libraries most people think of nothing more than a place you can borrow books, maybe DVDs, and somewhere you can go to print out important documents when your own printer is on the blink. I’ve touched on before, way back in the beginning, about how important libraries are, but now I’m going to be biased a little and talk about how special the Bindoon Library is.

When I first came on board in 2016 the library only offered the most basic of services: issues, returns, and inter library loans. It had been many years since the library had an officer solely dedicated to library services (we’re a small Shire so everyone wears multiple hats). I was bought on board part time and my only focus was the library. She was my baby, to do with what I liked, and I essentially had a blank slate.

I began purging our stock, getting rid of dry, dusty titles that had sat on the shelf for years without moving. This in turn gave me more shelf space to expand our categories that were most used (adult fiction, audio books, and DVDs), and within those categories to ensure adequate stock of the most popular genres. I put out a call for donations and as they came pouring in I skimmed the cream off the top, adding to our collection and passing the rest on via our free book shelf.

On top of the basic library services, the project I implemented that has had the most impact is my theme months. I wrote about them back in November of 2020 so I won’t delve in too deeply, but they have given me the chance to turn the Bindoon Library into a genuine community hub through activities, workshops, seminars, and good old fashioned morning teas. Social isolation is a great concern in rural areas and these events provide a supportive, safe place for people to gather and interact with others. It gives them the opportunity to meet new people who perhaps share an interest, or simply for them to participate in a group activity and feel a sense of belonging.

In 2020 the Bindoon Library was nominated for the Department of Local Government, Sport, and Cultural Industries Making A Difference Award as part of the Western Australian Regional Achievement and Community Awards. The Making a Difference Award ‘recognises local shires, councils and or government that are driving activities, programs, and initiatives that promote positive outcomes and make a difference in regional communities. The Making a Difference Award acknowledges and celebrates the commitment that these governments make in achieving or participating in positive activities that empower positive change in their local community.’

In early December of 2020 I attended the Awards ceremony at the Hyatt in Perth and was absolutely delighted to discover that the Bindoon Library had won the award. Simply being considered amongst the other amazing nominees was a great honour and to win was overwhelming. It’s humbling to know that my efforts are not only appreciated by the local community but the services here at the Bindoon Library are considered by many to be ‘essential’. At the end of the day though, no matter how hard I’ve worked here, it wouldn’t mean anything without the support of my members and the Chittering community. You’ve embraced me as your own and I hope you all know, you’re not getting rid of me anytime soon!