What’s Your Dewey? 320s or Politics and the art of distraction.

South Australian elections are just around the corner, the 17th of March to be precise – St Patrick’s Day. What do Australian politics and Irish saints have in common? Not a lot, although seven of our Prime Ministers have Irish heritage and we may need a touch of the shamrock to get through it all with our minds intact and our future looking positive.
Anyone with a vested interest in the Australian democratic process (aka the voter), could be forgiven for their confusion as a result of the theatrics and hyperbole surrounding the lead-up to elections.

Understanding how our unique, complex and hybrid political system works is within reach in Australian Politics For Dummies by Nick Economou and Zareh Ghazarian. The book works on the premise that politics is something everyone is part of and concerns everything in society ‘from who gets to run the country… to how often you can water your garden’ (Introduction). The book is both accessible and comprehensive and is divided into five parts: Politics: You’re in it; The Australian System of Government; Party Time! (aka Party politics) ; Citizen Power! (that’s us);  and The Part of Tens (or ten speeches worth listening to).
You can preview the book here: www.booktopia.com.au

Of course, post election rhetoric abounds. Election postmortems, where political analysts dissect the outcome, often centre on results in ‘key electorates’ and electoral boundaries, which are regularly manipulated soon after elections… but, what has geography got to do with politics?
Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics by Tim Marshall  uses maps and essays to explore the geopolitics of Russia; China; USA; Latin America; the Middle East; Africa; India & Pakistan; Europe; Japan & Korea; and the Arctic. It argues that all leaders, past and present, are constrained by geography, and that geography will continue to limit leaders well into the future. Highly recommended by many as being compelling and insightful, the book offers a different perspective on the machinations of today’s global leaders and suggests why some regions will remain hot spots for political unrest. Though not a new concept, the book reinforces the relationship between geography and politics – it’s all about security and resources, whether we are looking globally or locally.
Within this framework, ordinary voters can be forgiven for thinking that ultimately, their vote has little impact. What does that have to say about our system of  Democracy?

In Democracy and Its Crisis,  A. C. Grayling reviews the most pressing events of our times and how they challenge democratic functions. He talks about international unrest, misuse of Corporate power, Big Data and social media. Grayling surveys both past and present attempts to resolve what he calls the ‘dilemma of democracy’, which he describes as the tension between people’s right to self-determination and the need for a mechanism to ensure this right is protected and administered. While Grayling highlights many of the known issues with the Democratic process, he concludes that getting it right is still the best option for world governance. ‘With the advent of authoritarian leaders and the simultaneous rise of populism, representative democracy appears to be caught between a rock and a hard place, yet it is this space that it must occupy… if a civilized society, that looks after all its people, is to flourish’ (www.bookdepository.com).

Theory aside, it is clear that while politicians may promote the idea that the power of government lies within our vote, there is no doubt that there are big players in politics who arguably steer our election outcomes.

Game of Mates How Favours Bleed the Nation
 by Cameron K Murray
tells us how corporate and political sectors (groups of ‘Mates’) have come to dominate Australian wealth and power to ‘rob… the Australian majority of over half [their] wealth’. The fourteen chapters include discussions on property development, transport, superannuation, mining and banking. The well documented case studies included in the book, show how selected members of the above industries siphon billions from the Australian economy to further their own interests, at the expense of the community. This is a searing and satirical account of the machinations that underpin the big decisions in this  country. You can take a quick look here: www.booktopia.com.au
The ability to use satire to criticise our politicians and political processes, is a luxury Australians, living in our own version of Democracy, enjoy. It allows us to freely speak our concerns and opinions and there are many examples of this in the 320s.

Too Right, Politically incorrect opinions too dangerous to be published except that they were by Peter Chudd & James Colley, is a satirical ‘state of the union delivered by the most marginalised voice in Australian media: an angry, white male’.  Co-authored by  Peter Chudd ( one of Australia’s most controversial far-right columnists) and James Colley, the book tackles all topics where political correctness are often called for, unashamedly criticising any moderate or left-wing view. A book that is not for those who offend easily, it challenges conventional views and potentially puts many off-side.

Putting opinion off-side seems a by-product of election fever, but if you wish to explore the political underpinnings of our local elections, a browse through the 320s is simultaneously informative, confronting, perplexing and entertaining… it can also be very distracting.






What’s Your Dewey? – Sizzling Summer – A cool tour of Dewey.

It’s safe to say that Summer brings out our inventiveness, as we seek the best cooling options on offer. Many simply want instant relief – to get through the unbearably hot day (or night), while others take a long term view, acknowledging that the hot weather is here to stay. Anyone not convinced that extreme hot weather is here to stay, need only watch the global weather reports and browse the latest books in the 551.5s that chronicle the changes we are experiencing.

Rather than watch the thermometer rising (which never provides me with a cooling effect), I thought I’d see what cooling ideas are out there and where in Dewey I might find them. There are many ideas out there, from the obvious to the complex. Here are just a few…

Stay safe in the sun
While it may seem obvious, our summer fun-loving ways mean that we want to go to the beach, play tennis, watch cricket or have a barbie in the park. Clearly, not all of us are prepared to stay indoors, so if we venture out, how can we do it safely?
Dress Appropriately
This includes what we wear and what we put on our skin. For those who are handy with needle & thread, scissors or machine, 646 may be a good place to start.
Simply sewn : clothes for every season by  Michiyo Ito is just one example of titles that look at seasonal fashions for the budget conscious, handy seamstress or tailor.
Wear a hat
Still in the 646s but specifically, 646.5 will provide readers with excellent millinery ideas for those who think carefully about what goes on their head!
…and of course – wear sunscreen!
Find shade
Wherever you may be outdoors in summer, it is always a good idea to  find some shade (or bring it with you). If you choose to bring it with you, then camping equipment might meet your needs but if you seek a cool, shady spot to have your picnic, then you may find the 725s (public structures) useful.

Keep cool on the inside
What you put in your body is just as important as what you put on the outside. The 641s will provide many ways you can keep your insides cool, with recipes for cold soups, salads and cool deserts.
Summer treats! : cool snacks for warm days by Cherise Pagano is just one example of easy, cool recipes.
Stay out of the sun
Many of us have air-conditioned cars and air-conditioned homes. Our public buildings and commercial providers also operate from air-conditioned premises. Apart from the concerns this raises with relation to our community’s energy consumption (and therefore its impact on the environment and by implication, climate change), there are also concerns about the way this constructed environment impacts our health.
 636.7 is one area where this topic is explored and Losing our cool : uncomfortable truths about our air-conditioned world (and finding new ways to get through the summer) by Stan Cox suggests some ways in which we can ameliorate the problems raised by living in an over-conditioned world. One way to do this is to make your home as climate efficient as possible and there are may books out there that suggest simple and complex ways to do this – from creating shady gardens with water features (the 710s), for example; Glorious shade : dazzling plants, design ideas, and proven techniques for your shady garden by Jenny Rose Carey…

…to designing or retrofitting your home (with cooling and ventilation in mind) in the 697s.

The eco-home design guide : principles and practice for new-build and retrofit by Christopher Day is just one example.

There is of course the drive to be practical and concise so if you are after a go-to guide then the 613s or the 649s may provide just the right book! How to beat the summer heat: A family guide to having fun and staying safe in summer by Carolyn Stone and Jacinta Carey is an example that is also available on Kindle.
You can look inside here: How to Beat the Summer Heat
Whatever you may choose to do this summer,  just remember there are many cool Dewey places you can look to find suggestions and solutions… and of course, it doesn’t hurt to stay a while in the library and just browse and read!






How Does That Work? Tech Savvy 1on1 Help Sessions

So this week, by popular demand, we’ve relaunched our Tech Savvy 1on1 Help Sessions.  That’s excellent you say! So what are they and how do they work?
Well, have you been wanting to understand your device better?  Maybe you’d like to check out some of the eBooks and eAudiobooks that the library has available, but are unsure of the process?  That’s where we come in.  Every fortnight for eight weeks from Wednesday the 27th September, we will have three sessions available for our customers to book in to at the Evanston Gardens Library.  You will need your device/s, your app store login details and your library membership details, then we’ve got forty minutes to go through your queries!
Previous attendees have said they love the atmosphere in the library, the staff are patient, friendly and explain things clearly when going through the different processes. One lady had the Facebook app downloaded onto her tablet, but did not know how to post to create the conversations she saw happening among her family and friends.  We went through the process and what each part meant, culminating in a library selfie and her first Facebook post! That illustrates the reason these sessions exist.  We have heard from many community members and library customers that they want to participate in the digital world around them but lack the confidence and knowledge to progress with their devices.  
We hope to assist our attendees with; basic tablet and smartphone skills; accessing the library’s eCollection; understanding the security measures of your device; learning the steps to update your device’s operating system and using the WiFi.  
If any of these topics sound like something you’d be interested in, please give our library staff a call and book into one of the available sessions.  We have 12 forty minute sessions available on Wednesdays (27 September, 11 & 25 October and 08 November) at the Evanston Gardens Branch Library at 9:15am, 10:00am and 10:45am.  We’re looking forward to helping you get more out of your devices and the digital world around us.