Monday, March 28, 2011

What is your library garden?

The Cato Crest Public Library in Durban, South Africa has a garden behind it. I can hear you thinking, what is so special about that as lots of libraries have gardens. That is true, but this one is unusual because it is a vegetable garden which is managed by two of the women from the informal settlement around the library. The profits from the vegetable garden are split between the library and the women.

The library is also the site of another small business enterprise. There are several sewing machines in a room underneath the library. It is a nice room, with excellent light. This room and these sewing machines contribute to local businesses run by women from the informal settlement. They aid in income generation for individuals within this community.

Like other South African public libraries there is a large information display on HIV/AIDS prevention but in many other respects this is a public library like many you would find all around the world with a colourful children’s area, pcs for public access, and well selected book stock for loan. It has a large long hours study space, also in a well lit area underneath the main library. This study space, which is open even after the library is closed, has security so people can study here safely, rather than in their tiny homes in the informal settlement. The garden and the sewing machines set this library apart, because it was designed to be responsive to the community needs. It is a library, but is also helps with to local business development. They needed a different kind of small business assistance, information as well as garden space or sewing machines. This exact model is not going to be appropriate for every public library, but you might want to think what is your equivalent of a library garden?

What demonstrates the unique responses your library is making to the community around it? What is your library garden?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


  The second theme for #readit2011 was #heartreads.  I started several books which I decided not to finish, one for reasons of cruelty between the characters and one because it was an action book without enough action.  I also have a few books underway that I will comment on in March, when I finish them. Several of these titles were read as e-books.
  • Jennifer Crusie The Cinderella deal – academic meets artist
  • Jennifer Crusie Trust me on this – a series of misunderstandings, scams and HEA
  • Gil McNeil The beach street knitting society and yarn club – woman starting life in smaller town after husband was killed in car crash, just after he asked for a divorce.  Quirky characters and knitting.
  • Gil McNeil Needles and pearls- continuation of the above, not HEA but happy and hopeful
  • Garth Nix Drowned Wednesday
  • Garth Nix Sir Thursday
  • Garth Nix Lady Friday
  • Gath Nix Superior Saturday
  • Garth Nix Lord Sunday This was a very interesting series as working through the days of the week, the story builds with reality and fantasy coming together.  It is quite a dark series, but with wonderful humour around the naming of some characters as well.
  • Eli Neiburger Gamers…in the library  This is a solid introduction to mainly games tournaments in public libraries.  
  • Jamie Oliver Jamie’s 30 minute meals – what’s not to like?  They work and are interesting
  • Matthew Reilly Contact (as downloadable audiobook).  I have read this before, but it is still a fun read, and a reminder of why libraries need a good digitisation program with excellent offsite backup
  • Georgette Heyer The convenient wife – not a good one, characters not likeable and story a very long bow
  • Georgette Heyer The devil’s cub – this was a fun romp
Also reading New Scientist, Games informer, Jamie