There are many reasons to adore libraries on Library Lovers’ Day

Modern libraries can take the form of a local book exchange to a huge community centre, complete with roof gardens and cafes.

The reasons why Australians love them are just as diverse. From the smell of books to the friendly librarian, there are plenty of reasons to visit, and to love, our libraries.

To mark Library Lovers’ Day, here are some of the OUP Australia staff’s favourites.

Elisabeth

I did high school work experience at the library. I love books and so I spent a lot of time there; I wanted to see what it was like behind the scenes.

As a kid, I remember borrowing the Saddle Club books, or sitting in the kids’ section of my local library and reading.

Melpo

I love libraries. My sister works at a law library, so when we were in New York, we visited the legal library there. We also went to the New York library with the lions out the front, and we visited libraries in Washington DC and Beverly Hills. We also visited the Beast’s Library from Beauty and the Beast at Disneyland. Pure Magic!.

I love taking photos of the buildings. The library in Boston had beautiful study rooms, with green lamps and high ceilings – it was really picturesque.

I also regularly go to my local library in Carnegie to borrow books.

I remember my primary school library, and story time with the librarian. When I started work at here, I was excited to see some of the books that I read at that time, by Robin Klein and Alison Lester, were published by Oxford.

Boston1

Adriana

I remember going to the school library when I arrived in Australia from Italy when I was 11. I used to go to learn English and there was a great librarian there – she was enthusiastic and friendly, and spent time going through the books with me. I still have a copy of the Wizard of Oz that I read at the time. There were books about learning English, but I liked the novels the best.

Now, I often go to my local library to borrow books.

Jordan

I love my local library because I can go there to get all the new releases. It has great service and is nice and quiet. Usually, I reserve books and go there to pick them up, but sometimes, I go and browse or do some life admin or writing.

When I was at uni, I used to go to the State Library to study. There was a little nook in the Redmond Barry Reading Room that was nice and quiet, and it smelt good.

Alex

I’ve just joined the Bargoonga Nganjin North Fitzroy library. It’s in a beautiful, brand new building on St Georges Road. It has a roof top garden and a community centre, and hosts concerts and other events. It’s a really nice space.

I just borrowed my first book from it for book club – Extinctions by Josephine Wilson.

Fleur

I have strong memories of starting to read ‘proper’ novels in high school. I remember reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and S.E. Hinton’s books, and wondering how I was ever going to make a dent in all of the books along those huge shelves.

At uni, I loved the quiet and sense of studiousness at the library. It was a peaceful escape from the activity at the college where I lived.

As a mother, I reacquainted myself with libraries, taking my children to Rhyme Time. It was a happy surprise to see how libraries had become much more than just books – they were gathering places and learning spaces, with the books at their centre.

Parents need better support to ensure the health and well-being of children

Parents play a more important role than any choice of school in the mental health, well-being and even earning potential of children.

That is the belief of Matthew Sanders, the founder of the hugely successful Triple-P (Positive Parenting Program). The program, developed at the University of Queensland, has helped millions of families with the help of more than 30 years of research, becoming one of the Australia’s greatest social science exports.

Dr Sanders will launch The Power of Positive Parenting book, celebrating three decades of the program’s development, at the University of Queensland on Wednesday, 7 February.

As part of the release of the book, Dr Sanders is urging the Australian government to take a population-wide approach to parenting to improve the future of families, describing an emphasis on parenting as a major public health initiative.

“Statewide availability of The University of Queensland-developed Triple P – Positive Parenting Program in Queensland is an example of a forward-thinking, community health approach that supports parents to promote positive outcomes for children across the state,” he said.

“Unfortunately, there is not enough of this kind of thinking when it comes to government spending. Too often, when evidence-based or non-evidence parenting services are offered, support is limited to the most vulnerable, those who have been identified and targeted by agencies as needing help.

“While well-meaning, such an approach will never shift rates of children’s early onset mental health issues or child maltreatment. A mindset that views parents as the problem, rather than part of the solution and singles them out for attention is only going to send parents away from the very support we are trying to give them.”

Dr Sanders is concerned that parents’ about the outsourcing in public policy of parents’ responsibilities – of schools charged with improving children’s resilience and mental health and of the medical profession to deal with the common and everyday issues parents face in raising children.

He said that the way children are parented profoundly affects their long-term health, their ability to learn, their mental well-being and how they get on with others. Ultimately, it can determine their likelihood of ending up in jail, taking drugs, becoming violent, or alternatively, participating meaningfully in society.

“Evidence-based parenting programs can help parents and children regulate their emotions and behaviour, using competently trained and supervised staff, or robustly evaluated online interventions. They have an active coaching component and allow for the practice of skills as part of their core curriculum.”

Rather than blaming parents for society’s problems, Dr Sanders believes we needed to start supporting them with a public health approach informed by evidence.

Find out more about The Power of Positive Parenting  or listen to Dr Sanders speak about parenting on Talking Lifestyle

Power of positive parenting

Oxford Word of the Month: February – doing the doors

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noun: (of a politician) giving doorstop interviews to the media, especially at Parliament House.

 

THE STORY BEHIND THE WORD OF THE MONTH

A favourite tactic of journalists seeking comment from politicians is to conduct a brief interview with them as they enter or leave a building. In Australia this kind of interview has been known since the early 1980s as doorstopping or a doorstop (‘I doorstopped the Premier, who ruled out an early election’; ‘cabinet members didn’t hold the usual doorstops before their weekly meeting’). In theory the doorstop is an impromptu occasion, but it is often used as an opportunity for a party or government to deliver a scripted message. It is a familiar piece of theatre on the nightly news.

In the twenty-first century we find a new term for this activity: doing the doors (‘the Member for Barcoo is doing the doors today’). The term casts politicians as agents seeking to be interviewed, rather than as innocent victims of doorstopping. The earliest recorded evidence shows that the ‘impromptu’ interview is often planned:

A new Labor backbencher has admitted the federal Government has a roster of MPs primed and ready to deliver the message of the day to waiting media as they walk through the doors of Parliament House every morning.
Doing the doors’ gives politicians a chance to comment on the issues of the day, to turn round negative stories in the papers and breakfast radio and TV, or add to their opponents’ discomfort. (The Australian, 19 June 2008)

Doing the doors in the political sense is an Australian English term. An older meaning exists for the same expression in Australia and elsewhere; it describes the job of a bouncer, who controls the intake of patrons at clubs and pubs, or the job of a door person, who sells tickets at the door of an event or performance.

A sense of performance is certainly inherent in the Australian meaning, and critical reviews are not uncommon. One commentator referred to the politicians who ‘do the doors’ at the bidding of their leaders as ‘puppets reciting their prepared statements when allocated the task of “doing the doors” for the television grabs’. (Crikey, 10 June 2011) Another described doing the doors as ‘the cute ritual of pollies lining up at the main entrance on the Reps side of the building to deploy pithy one-liners for the assembled media hacks’. (West Australian, 1 December 2009)

But doing the doors continues to be an important ritual for media and politicians, and, despite cold winters and frosty mornings in the nation’s capital, the show must go on:

Frost lay on the ground. Hot air balloons hung in the sky. At 7.50am in the national capital, Eric Abetz was doing the doors. (Sydney Morning Herald, 2 June 2010)

 

Doing the doors will be considered for inclusion in the next edition of the Australian National Dictionary.

 

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