No, I wasn’t enamoured with the basketballing, overloud class clown, but with a sweet boy called Nick who would read with me on the beanbags in kindergarten. Together we would sit side by side and partake in the singular enjoyment of letting our childhood imaginations roam – exploring jungles, deserts, new countries and the ‘olden times’. My love of books (and intelligent boys!) has extended throughout my life, and there is a running joke in my family that you should fear for your life if you get between Kitty and a book!
I have also taken this ability to read and access to books for granted for a long time. Books would magically appear from libraries, bookstores, schools and parents, and I would ravenously pore over multiple offerings every week. So insatiable was my need for literature, my most excellent and generous grandparents arranged an account for me at a local bookstore. Each month, for the entirety of my high-school career, I could go and purchase two books and they would cover the cost. Maturation from a child, through adolescence and into young adulthood has been supported by books – from Narnia to Pern to Africa to outback Australia – I learnt about love, loss, desire, desperation, hope, grief and joy. I have been supremely fortunate to have had such resources available to me.
So. It breaks my heart that there are children, teenagers and adults in the world that not only can’t read, but even if they can, have no access to literature and the incredible gifts of imagination and education that this provides. There’s no wishing that they could go to Platform 9 and ¾ to be whisked away to Hogwarts. No reference material to gaze in awe at the amazing plant and animal life on this planet. No books about local culture, or country, or about culturally relevant heroes and heroines. The inability to get to a basic level of literacy because the entire sum of information available is only a handful of books shared between multiple classes or communities.
Library For All is going to change that. I met Rebecca and Tanyella when I was in New York for a few months last year – and their bold vision for a world where literacy is not determined by where you live bowled me away. I LOVE reading. It is one of the greatest joys in my life. I believe having access to books is a basic human right. So in a heartbeat I was convinced that this was what I was supposed to be doing. That Library For All can unlock a great joy and make education more accessible for developing communities. It’s as simple as that. And I want to bring that message to Australia.
Over the next few weeks we are asking our friends and supporters to help us by backing our Kickstarter campaign for the library platform. We also understand that there are multiple causes which are deserving of your attention, but what I put to you is this. In a world where access to information and a better education is available, many issues prevalent in developing communities are alleviated. Health can be improved with information on nutrition and causes of disease. Communities can be bettered by local information for business and trade. And better nations can ultimately be built when children have books for education and to fire the imagination – those children will grow up to be the leaders of tomorrow. And we NEED leaders in all fields, from all countries, that want (and have the ability) to build happier and healthier communities.