Bookworms eating their own words

Funny how things change. A bookworm was once simply a collective noun for bugs like silverfish and linoleum beetles that inhabit and devour pages in books, but it became an idiom for someone who studies or reads them more than normal.

Some of the 450 people who walk into the City of Victor Harbor Public Library daily and cast their eyes over the 350-plus items – not to mention their access to the tens of thousands with their one library card that covers all across the state – fall into this category.

These days community libraries are internet and tech savvy, and they’re no longer run by the feared Broomhildas of this world demanding we ‘shush’. They’re incredibly friendly, and gawd, we heard someone laugh the other day, albeit quietly, gazing in the humour section, the third shelf, fourth aisle.

Another amusing change happening here on Friday, March 23 is, instead of reading a book, learning how to write one. The workshop – Secrets of Writing and Publishing – is presented by the Friends of the Victor Harbor Library.

One answer to the point is simply don’t expect to make a lot of money publishing a book.

Maryanne McGill, who is president of this group with a committee of 19 (some joke that at meetings it takes longer to write the ‘present and apologies’ than conducting the ‘general business’) agrees that the overwhelming reward for writing a book is being consumed by the passion for writing.

The workshop will feature Wendy Altschwager, a self-publisher, Phillip Ellison, who will deal with structuring a book, Joan Sanford, a publisher involved in local history, and Jeanette Squires, who will run a creative writing session. It costs $5 to meet costs including morning tea.

Importantly, the workshop again highlights the fact our biggest regional library, which last year celebrated its 10th anniversary since moving from the Coral St precinct is more that just a reading room.

According to Vicki Hutchinson, who six months ago assumed the role as library and records manager for the Citry of Victor Harbor, supports the fresh approach to modern-day libraries with the one-card-for-all system and a need for electronic and audio materials to support the traditional printed resources.

“Libraries all the state have moved into the modern era,” Vicki said. “People also come in and tell you stories from all walks of life. The learning is shared.”

Libraries were also renowned for having an older clientele, but according to Vicki there are more young families than ever accessing the facilities.

The Friends of the Victor Harbor Library group has made a significant contribution to the development of the library within the City of Victor Harbor Council complex. A key vision has always been raising funds for improvements, and relatively recent evidence of success is seen with a $10,000 refurbishment of the children’s play-reading section, and $7000 on enhancing the local history section.

Maryanne said a pending challenge was raising funds to create new resources for a family history or genealogy section.

“Part of our function is helping to fund what our library does, and physically helping and providing occasional needs for the members and the public to interact. The library tells us what it needs and we work closely together.

“Our library has become much more than a place of books; it’s a wonderful community centre. The numbers of toddlers here on a Wednesday morning is growing, and it’s an ideal opportunity for young parents to interact.

“And yes, the term bookworm is still relevant even though our library has numerous audio, iPad and DVD resources.”

Among the most dedicated bookworms are, of course, the Friends of the Victor Harbor Library, which has raised more than $100,000 over the past decade. Much of the income has come from the two-day sales of hardly-used books offered in the council chambers.

You are welcome to discover what’s happening at your library 9.30am-5pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, from 10am-6pm Wednesdays, and 9am-noon Saturdays. Maybe there is a book on why they don’t open 9.30am-5pm every weekday.