Category Archives: Staff Picks

What’s Your Dewey? The 020s All Things Library

There is much talk about the relevance of libraries in an age when the world’s information is readily accessible in digital form – but is it true that the sum total of the world’s knowledge can be had by all, on call?  Does Google give us a level playing field when it comes to access?

There are many texts on this topic and  BiblioTech : why libraries matter more than ever in the age of Google  by John Palfrey
is one example that argues ‘anyone seeking to participate in the 21st century needs to understand how to find and use the vast stores of information available online’ and libraries are best positioned to facilitate this within our communities.

Palfrey discusses the threats posed to libraries (and therefore society) through funding cuts and argues libraries must work toward digitising print material and ensuring all digital material is readily accessible. Contents include sections on how libraries are used; what defines library spaces; librarians as networks; education;  copyright and what’s at stake if we lose libraries. Although there is a distinct USA bias to the text, anyone aware of the fate of libraries across the world will find food for thought.

Anyone who has studied the history and philosophy of knowledge, education and libraries will understand that the notion of universal access to the world’s knowledge is not new. Our attempts to manage human intellectual output can be seen in ancient times (Alexandrian Library for example) through to modern times (for example the British Library).


Cataloging the world : Paul Otlet and the birth of the information age by Alex Wright looks at the often overlooked contributions of Belgian Paul Otlet who first progressed the catalogue card as a means of bringing together records for everything recorded on paper. Otlet worked on creating a universal bibliography and developing a network of ‘electric telescopes’ that would allow anyone, anywhere, access to ‘books, newspapers, photographs, and recordings, all linked together in what he termed a réseau mondial: a worldwide web.’ A pioneering visionary, Otlet’s ideas seemed likely to come to fruition until  the Nazis took Brussels and seized his work. Cataloguing the world is an unexpectedly interesting introduction to recent library history.

It is well documented that the Nazis were responsible for ransacking and destroying many of Europe’s Libraries but in The book thieves : the Nazi looting of Europe’s libraries and the race to return a literary inheritance by Anders Rydell ; translated by Henning Koch, Rydell tells the hidden story of the Nazi appropriation of books from the libraries of Jews, Communists, Liberals, Catholics, Freemasons, and many other opposition groups, to be used as intellectual weapons against their owners. These books were not destroyed at the end of the war but found their way into the public library system from where a small team of librarians hope, to locate and reunite books to the decedents of the original owners.

Reading The book thieves… reminds us that one of the things that defines libraries are the people who work in them. In This is what a librarian looks like : a celebration of libraries, communities, and access to information for all by Kyle Cassidy, readers are presented with portraits and thoughts of 220 librarians of all ages, all backgrounds, all personalities and styles, to show us that librarians are not what we may expect. Through these vignettes, readers are treated to many perspectives of libraries over time and the people who have been influential in the field. Also included are original essays by well known authors, journalists and commentators such as John Scalzi, Nancy Pearl and Neil Gaiman.

Librarians have been known to defend the right to read throughout their history.  True stories of censorship battles in America’s libraries  edited by Valerie Nye and Kathy Barco tells the stories of several American librarians who have championed intellectual freedom and access to sometimes controversial material.  While the book addresses topics such as age-appropriateness, censorship, crime and cultural expression, some examples depicted can only be considered skirmishes. That being said, it is interesting to see ways in which we deliberately or inadvertently cull our library collections, restrict their access and thus diminish our community knowledge-base.

In this collection of stories, The book lovers’ anthology : a compendium of writing about books, readers & libraries by Alex Wright, offers answers to questions regarding the impact of books on humans and human society: Do books corrupt? and Do badly written books damage intellect? are just two examples being addressed through the thoughts, excerpts and essays of well known authors. Authors include Chaucer, Austen, Shakespeare, Milton, Eliot and Ruskin. ‘A treasure trove of apt quotations from more than 250 authors’ (Sydney Morning Herald); a bibliophile’s ‘essential anthology’ (Bodleian Library).

Of course there is more to a bibliophile’s obsession than just books, there is all the things that surround books – the paraphernalia and ephemera.  Letter to a future lover : marginalia, errata, secrets, inscriptions, and other ephemera found in libraries by Ander Monson  finds meaning in the objects and notations found in books. According to Monson, everything we’ve read, written, collected noted or discarded, defines us. This of course has implications for how we should deal with this ephemera and how in collected form, it contributes to our bank of knowledge.

Seed libraries : and other means of keeping seeds in the hands of the people by Cindy Conner is a reminder that libraries are not just about books but can be collections of items for preservation and education. Seed Libraries is a practical guide to saving seeds through community programs and includes Step-by-step instructions for setting up a seed library and ways to maintain the collection and attract patrons. It also provides examples of existing libraries. (

Although Creepy libraries by Troy Taylor is aimed at children it provides an interesting view of 11 libraries around the world that are reputed to be haunted places. Readers ‘will discover one that is home to the spirit of a young girl who is depicted in its beautiful stained-glass window, one that is filled with ghosts who are distressed because it is built on top of their burial place, and one that has now turned into a bookstore yet is haunted by library patrons of the past—as well as a phantom cat. The creepy photographs and chilling nonfiction text will keep children turning the pages to discover more spooky stories’ (

 While Creepy Libraries looks at ‘other wordly’ library occupants, Staff-less Libraries: Innovative Staff Design by Carl Gustav Johannsen considers the recent trend toward unstaffed libraries as a way to meet the challenge of decreased funding and increased demand. The book considers the pros and cons of this model and presents international experiences and examples. Contents include definitions of the ‘Open Library’ concept, historical perspectives, community profiling and technological implications. An academic text, this book is aimed at professionals and managers.

Not overly convinced of the staff-less library approach,  Improbable libraries by Alex Johnson provided an inspiring account of how librarians around the world are undaunted in overcoming financial, geographic or political challenges to reach out to those in reading need. The book showcases the changing nature of library structures and functions, with insightful interviews and over 250 colour photographs. Open-air garden libraries, pop-up libraries, mobile libraries (using bikes or camels) and the Little Free Library phenomena are all included in this exploration of these communal spaces and places that bring us together. The simple truth is … people like going to libraries. Indeed, going to the library is like getting a pay rise, according to a survey conducted in 2014 by the UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport. (

Nola Cavallaro


A-Z Apps Series – Fun and Games

So in our A-Z of Apps series we’ve reached F and that can only mean FUN!  It’s time to look at the fun apps you can download on your device, of which there are literally hundreds, if not thousands! Some of the most popular that the staff here in the library can think of, are puzzle games like Solitaire, Hearts and Sudoku or more video game types like Fruit Ninja, Pokemon, and of course there’s Angry Birds in all it’s forms, Star Wars especially.

The Australian government have created many apps (, with a few that are for fun.  Although these are secretly educational, they are developed using historical data from Government bodies such as Australian Bureau of Statistics and Murray Darling Basin Authority, they’re actually quite fun! Run that Town (iOS iTunes App Store –, Run the River (iOS iTunes App Store & Google Play – and Triple Zero Kids Challenge (iOS iTunes App Store & Google Play – are all free apps.

Run that Town gives players the opportunity to try their hand at being the newly elected Mayor of your very own town.  Using real Australian Postal codes to play any town in Australia, you can make the decisions about whether you build a new skate park, cinema, statue, park or offices.  You get hundreds of projects to choose from and you will receive feedback from your constituents about how they feel regarding your leadership choices.  The game won’t keep you hooked forever but it is fun for awhile, especially when you get to see the regular newspaper articles and the amusing headlines.

Run the River is about an important river region and you have got to decide how to keep everyone from the plants and animals to the people, farms and towns that live along the banks thriving, despite challenges provided by historical data from the Murray Darling Basin Authority.  In Australia, water is a scarce commodity and when you’re trying to share this around, you still need to keep it flowing and connected to the ocean. This game also links with outcomes from the Australian Geography and Science Curricula, which means it can be used in classrooms for teaching in a fun way.

The Australian Government created the app; Triple Zero Challenge especially for young primary school children to help them understand emergency situations.  The Triple Zero Kids Challenge is available on mobile devices (iOS iTunes App Store & Google Play) and your desktop PC for free. It runs through a story with two characters showing the participants what to do in an emergency.

Puzzle games are plentiful on all the different app stores.  You can choose so many different ways to play your old favourites of Hearts, Solitaire, Sudoku and more.  There are iterations of our favourite puzzle apps created for words like; Words with Friends – a social version of scrabble (FREE iOS iTunes App Store & Google Play –;

Typeshift – letter-flipping word fun (FREE iOS iTunes App Store only –;

4 Pics 1 Word – find the hidden word in the four images (FREE iOS iTunes App Store & Google Play –; Word Searches and many, many more!

Some of the more video game type apps are; Angry Birds in all it’s forms from the original to Rio and Star Wars (FREE & Paid versions – iOS iTunes App Store & Google Play –;

Where’s My Water? and many others from Disney (FREE & Paid versions – iOS iTunes App Store & Google Play –;

Pokémon Go (FREE – iOS iTunes App Store –;

The Sims FreePlay (FREE & Paid versions – iOS iTunes App Store & Google Play –; not to mention the plethora of war and strategy games on offer.

There are endless choices from all the app stores for ways for you to have fun on your devices. What’s your guilty pleasure?  Have a favourite addiction you can’t stay away from?

Post Contributor: Melinda Kennedy

#AustralianEmergencyServices #AngryBirds #GameApps #Puzzles #FruitNinja #PokemonGo #RunThatTown #RunTheRiver #FunApps #iOS #Android


Tech Savvy – Library Digital Resources

So in a previous post we discussed the Online Library and ways you can use your library card from wherever you are.  In this post we will tell you more about the online digital subscriptions that Gawler Library and the Public Library Services of SA pay for, to allow free and easy online access for our customers.
Lynda Library – 
We have spoken about Lynda Library before, but we’ve just been told that you can now access the Lynda Library from your smartphone device via an app that’s just been added to our subscription.
 So whether you’re looking at learning about Marketing, Photography, Video, Web design, Audio+Music, Business topics, CAD or IT development this will make it even easier than before to get all the knowledge on your chosen subject! Once you’ve downloaded your app, go to the Organisation tab and enter then Log in.  This will redirect you to a browser window where you can enter your Library Barcode and PIN to authorise Lynda Library for your app.
Ancestry Library Edition – []
Here in the library, Ancestry is a popular resource that many family history buffs take advantage of.  This resource is great for people wanting to follow their family history from Australia, using our own records, then overseas through the United States and the United Kingdom. It gives you access to many genealogical resources from those countries with some Australian, Canadian and European coverage.  The types of records you can access are census, church, court, immigration and vital. You will however need to come into a library to use this resource as it is designated for our public use computers. For further answers about using this database click this link –
Carter’s Price Guide to Antiques –
This is a resource that the Gawler Public Library have organised for our customers to use.  A database containing over 90, 000 items including art antiquities, antiques, collectables, retro itemised, vintage and 20th century designs.  Do you have some items passed down from Great Granny?  Maybe a shed full of Grandpa’s childhood collectables?  This will be a great way to search through those little items and see what significance they have and if they have any value, apart from the sentimental, obviously!
Computer School is another resource that has been organised and paid for by the Gawler Public Library for our customers.  This works a little like Lynda Library but with a focus on IT skills.  There are two components of this resource, the Technology Training Directory and MyTECHlopedia.  The Technology Training Directory contains thousands of lessons and tutorials that cover many different topics for children to adults on various skill levels.  You only need to use your library barcode to access all these lessons whatever they happen to be. Maybe you’re looking for a a definition of a word you’ve heard or need to know for a school project or work. This is where the My TECHlopedia comes in handy.  This glossary of tech terms contains over 200,000 explanations and links for you to get your head around the ever changing vocabulary in the IT world. It is kept up to date regularly so you can be assured that you’re not using older jargon.
So go ahead and check out the links above to see how we can help you with our online subscriptions.
Post Contributor: Melinda Kennedy
#LyndaLibrary #ELearning  #GawlerPublicLibrary #ComputerSchool  #CartersPriceGuideToAntiques #Ancestry 


What’s Your Dewey? 573s – Senses (As I See It).

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, ‘sense’ is an ability to understand, recognize, value, or react to something, especially any of the five physical abilities to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. When we talk about our senses, we generally refer to the mechanisms by which our bodies react to internal or external stimuli which are many and varied within the animal kingdom. Most books that deal with the generally understood topic of the senses are to be found in the 573s – Specific physiological systems in animals, regional histology & physiology in animals.

There are many children’s books devoted to the 5 human senses. They are either sense organ specific (devoted to each of the ear, nose, eyes, skin or tongue) or general and refer to all of the 5 senses. While they are all very informative and a requisite topic for growing young minds, the ones that most intrigue are those which look at lesser known animal sensorial abilities.

Top 10 Super Senses by Virginia Loh-Hagan
This title includes many interesting facts about animals and their senses including the 15,000 taste buds of pigs, the tarsier’s exceptional night vision; and the 25,000 touch receptors in the star-nosed mole’s nose.  It is written with high interest, low complexity text and includes clear illustrations, glossary and simplified pronunciation. Preview here:

A Natural History of the Senses
  by Diane Ackerman
Ackerman’s book, variously described as inspiring, charming, intriguing, knowledgeable and even pure ecstasy, has received many accolades. Each of the 5 senses are presented as realms for discovery with unique takes. Smell is named the ‘mute’ sense  with a personality that can be mapped; the skin has ‘eyes’ in the section on Touch; earth calls us in Hearing; and the walls are round in Vision. The New York Times says of it ” Delightful . . . gives the reader the richest possible feeling of the worlds the senses take in.”
Quick Look:

A Tour of the Senses: How Your Brain Interprets the World by John M. Henshaw
A tour of the senses takes readers through the common understanding of the senses that help us interpret our surroundings, to the science behind the process underpinning Stimulus, Sensations and Perception. Henshaw explains how we see, feel, taste, touch, and smell. Making reference to Aristotle’s classification of the five main senses and examining sensory research today, Henshaw argues well for a reinterpretation of the number of senses available to living organisms. An interesting approach to the topic, well researched and easy to read.

We have the technology : how biohackers, foodies, physicians, and scientists are transforming human perception, one sense at a time by Kara Platoni.
Bioscience, metaperception, neurobiology, metasensory experiences, AI and augmented reality are all topics addressed in this witty, candid, intriguing and disturbing book by Platoni. An academic and science reporter, Platoni researches the ways we extend our ‘sensory experiences to make the world more real’. There is much food for thought to enlighten and challenge in this book.

Neurocomic by Matted Farinella & Hana Ros [graphic novel]
Farinella, graphic jounalist and scientific illustrator and Ros, neuroscientist  and documentary writer, introduce the complexities of the brain in graphic novel format.  ‘Neurocomic is a journey through the human brain: a place of neuron forests, memory caves, and castles of deception. Along the way, you’ll encounter Boschean beasts, giant squid, guitar-playing sea slugs, and the great pioneers of neuroscience. Hana Roš and Matteo Farinella provide an insight into the most complex thing in the universe.’ (

Meet The Award Winning Authors Tricia Stringer and Meredith Appleyard

Spend the morning with two of South Australia’s winning authors. Wednesday May 3, 10am – 12noon. Details below.