Tactile books have been around for a long time. They’re fantastic objects for introducing the magical world of books to very young children who are blind or visually impaired. You can read about the Tactile Book Advancement Group here, and about how to make fabric tactile books here. You can also find out more here about Vision Australia’s Feelix Library. It’s a great Braille book library for children who are blind or have low vision.
(Members of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are respectfully advised that a person in a photograph in this post has passed away.)
Researching online can be a bit like taking off on a magic carpet ride.
There’s that sense of wonder at clicking on a website and easily navigating your way to a masterpiece. You can zoom in on the details of brushstrokes, handwriting, gesture. You get to see works that you may never see otherwise.
More prosaically, it certainly helps me to look at artworks closely when I’m editing a text describing them!
Do you ever get used to visiting a digitised treasure chest? I still feel like a genie’s spread the wishes of the world before me: a wealth of treasures … famed works at my fingertips … the power of creativity, right there on screen …
Last week I was in an inner-city cafe, gathering my thoughts before an important meeting. Without thinking, I did what I always do to calm down. I quietly began studying everyone and everything else around me.
There were the guys behind the counter; the people lining up for coffee; local office-workers at other tables, having meetings over laptops; two young men hovering around out the front, smoking quick ciggies; the hints of traffic movement and light in the busy street outside.
It was a small, noisy place. My eyes lingered on the delicious food on display. But what really stood out was the wall beside me.
It’d been completely covered with wallpaper depicting trompe-l’oeil shelves filled with old-style hard-back books, from floor to high ceiling. Continue reading →
Thousands of children (and more than a few adults) have looked at the Mitchell Library with awe: what is that place, alive with the vistas, whispers and magic of books? It’s the library that all libraries lead to, in New South Wales.
So it seems entirely appropriate that the person who grew up to become an emeritus curator at the State Library of New South Wales found his passion for books as a nine-year-old in his local suburban library. Continue reading →
Paul is well known for his talks. He has a natural gift for telling history so vividly that the characters seem to burst free from their letters and journals, suddenly alive in the room, brushing page, ink and the ages from their clothes.
‘I’m flattered and honoured when people comment on it,’ he says, ‘but I’m not conscious of doing it.
‘My parents influenced me in my love of history. They seemed to know a lot when not a lot of Australian history was really known.