As a former librarian, Mary Novak Walsh knows that navigating your way through a library can be hard, particularly if you’re a child.
So, she turned to what she knows best – books and words – to teach children how libraries work and how to find what they’re looking for in a library.
The 69-year-old Claremont resident teamed up with illustrator Kate Boyes to create Libraries: let’s find books! having been inspired to do so while she was volunteering with the NPO, help2read which at the time was working with the pupils at Rosmead Central Primary School.
“Years ago when I worked at City libraries, I use to think, I wish there was a book that explains how a library works and this idea came to me that it could be written as a story book,” said Ms Novak Walsh.
At primary school level, she said, many pupils were taught about the Dewey decimal system and the reference section in the library, which could get quite academic. So Ms Novak Walsh set about writing a book that made libraries more accessible and understandable to young users, explaining everything in a fun story aimed at children aged 8 to 12 years.
Ms Novak Walsh would like this book to be made available in schools and has contacted City libraries to make her book available there too. As she lives nearby Claremont library, she has interacted with the staff there who have reacted positively to her book.
“I think it’s fantastic because a lot of children are shy to talk to librarians and this is a good start because they can find out exactly how to negotiate their way through the library without having to talk to anyone, so it’s very useful,” said Claremont librarian Robyn de Villiers.
For more information you can email Ms Novak Walsh at firstname.lastname@example.org