Those who know me I suspect feel I am nostalgic that I never managed to start my own bookshop.
I’d call it a biblio-bus, but it would not run like council vans that visit people on a regular basis. It wouldn’t drop books to a random telephone booth or letterbox on the streetside.
The project consists of a long-travel journey around Australia. It aims at delivering reading matter and library resources to remote and isolated centres or schools many of whom would be indigenous communities. I would stay several weeks building a profile of what each group chose as a theme of interest. Initially I would offer encyclopaedias or magazines to complement literary texts I had brought with me. If a community had a topic of interest, like starting their own business, I would commit, in writing, to a follow-up visit within a year. I would then source information on their selected theme.
A project outline would be to first consult with centres that a reasonable size four-wheel drive can access. Then I’d recruit a team of younger volunteers as resource persons to be rotated. If I obtained permission I would consult with indigenous reading experts like Dr Anita Heiss and publishers like Magabala Books for guidance and support. Finally I would distribute the books or packages recommended to various charity groups who rather than ask donors for cash requested hard copy resources to donate to those centres.
Although I regret that I haven’t planned this project yet, I believe I was not ready to implement an inclusive strategy in my earlier days. I used to encourage people to read in an abstract capacity. Providing literature for a project is a better model which can benefit from life experience.
The major drawback I suspect is the delay factor. However I think that even the younger people may well wait a few months for thorough resources. They may even pass their passion onto their siblings and form an elder-focused group to develop a plan of action for their project.
Am I nostalgic? I am more of an optimist. I believe now is a good time for me to make this dream come true. From the people’s viewpoint it may be it’s never too late to make things happen.