On Sunday 24 May, we went to the launch of the new children’s library at the State Library of WA. The new library is called ‘The Place’, and on Sunday it really was the place to be!
On our way in, we passed a butterfly stiltwalker. The three year old with us was mesmerised. (Later, the stiltwalker was her pick for ‘best part of the visit.’)
First we visited the music library – as part of the launch celebrations there were energetic music sessions run by Danielle Joynt (of Cantaris and Cottage Music fame). There were posters up to say we could find children’s music at the library, and borrow it too. So we walked along the shelves looking for books of folksongs (we’re rather partial to folksongs) – to the rhythm of Danielle’s maraccas, which were being shaken by an enthusiastic group of kids.
On another floor we came across a glass display case with the smallest book and the oldest book in the library. The smallest book was very very small. Someone nearby asked ‘how would you READ it? It’s so small you’d need a magnifying glass!’ One book on display had been munched by termites. The munching was actually done in a rather artistic way, but we all felt very sorry for that book (and its owner!).
We arrived at the mezzanine level (the children’s library itself), and found ourselves in the middle of a story-reading session. It was Harry by the Sea by Gene Zion, an old favourite of mine. All around us there were kids playing games and doing puzzles on the computers, reading books inside ‘book cubbies’, playing with large puppets, checking out the totem book sculpture, and reading the displays of certificates showing the favourite childhood books of some well-known Australians. (Enid Blyton was very popular. We were pleased to see the Bunyip of Berkeley’s Creek by Jenny Wagner got a mention too!) We looked up Paul Jennings and the Prime Minister’s favourite books among many others!
We also loved the exhibition of children’s picture book artwork, and a display with the puppet from Cat Balloon, on loan from Spare Parts Puppet Theatre.
There were balloons for everyone on the way out – and as we were leaving we ducked into the State Library shop to look at the pre-read library books which were so cheap. We love second-hand books!
‘The Place‘ is definitely worth visiting! There are heaps of books, and lots of space to find a comfy spot to read. And you can see the ‘favourite childhood books’ display until 19 July – so we won’t tell you what the Prime Minister’s favourite is, in case you want to find out for yourself! It’s very easy to get to by train, as the State Library is only a short walk from the train station. Check it out!