Valuable tips on how to get the most out of Gold Coast Library
At the Gold Coast Writers Association meeting in November, one of the most exciting guest speakers, Timothy Ferguson, shared some valuable tips on how to get the most out of the Gold Coast Library which has 13 branches and a mobile library service.
Right at the beginning he stated: “If there is a book you want to read and you don’t want to buy it – ask us to buy it! Most of the purchases by the library are now done on request. Save money and get us to buy the book, then you can borrow it.”
We learnt that in the reference section, the library has ‘The Australian writer’s marketplace: every contact you will ever need to succeed in the writing business’ (ISSN 1448-5699) which is a fantastic book for any writer. Instead of browsing through the web and searching for the publishers, editors or Australian literary agents, writers can find these contacts in one single book. In addition, a great amount of priceless information, tips and hints is also included. The physical version is there for us to use and the electronic version will possibly be purchased soon.
The Gold Coast Library has available the UK’s bestselling magazine ‘Writing Magazine’ which covers every genre and provides a lot of information about writing and the publishing industry.
One specific resource which Timothy Ferguson found helpful for writing his books is audiobooks. He discovered that audiobooks are helping him to overcome ‘writers block’. He believes that ‘writers block’ occurs when a writer doesn’t read enough, listening to audiobooks helps him to ‘read’ more books. The Gold Coast Library now has a great range of audiobooks that can be downloaded online on many different devices. He downloads audiobooks on his mobile phone, which enables him to listen to these audiobooks while he is driving, washing the dishes, mowing the grass, vacuuming, playing computer games, writing other things or even watching television.
On the Cold Coast Library website you can find a number of sources for audiobook titles. One source is OverDrive which is a full-service digital distributor of eBooks, audiobooks, music and video worldwide. OverDrive has supplied Gold Coast libraries with about 10,000 different titles. The other main source is Bolinda which is the Largest Online Audio Bookstore in the Southern hemisphere.
Timothy Ferguson also listens to free public domain audiobooks on LibriVox where you can find free public domain audiobooks read by volunteers from around the world. This community group has recorded about 6,000 books and Timothy believes that this is a brilliant source for any writer. The LibriVox catalog also includes many interesting non-fiction books.
Timothy Ferguson gave us a great example of how many books we can listen to during just one week. He works six days per week. He spends an hour a day driving to and from work. Therefore he listens to audiobooks for at least six hours per week which means that he is able to get through one book every two weeks. Because he also listens to downloaded audiobooks during different activities – he is able to consume about 104 audiobooks per year. “As a writer to writers – that is the big tip I would suggest to you – listen to audiobooks” concluded Timothy.
Another great thing that Gold Coast libraries offers is free training. In addition to their own programs, the library can also organise training for groups of people who are interested in the same topic. You can contact your local librarian to request a specific training session; they will organise the training workshop and even write the training material for the group. For information on scheduled training sessions, events and activities visit the Gold Coast Libraries website.
“Next year we will have massive open online courses (MOOC) available from different universities. Universities all over the world are experimenting with a new format where a lecturer, on a regular basis, places video-lectures online. These lecturers can be viewed, learnt from and discussed with others. One that I am doing at the moment is The Future Of Storytelling. It is a series of video material, lessons, interviews and tasks on how to structure stories for radio, television, theatre or games and so on.” Timothy explained with passion.
Another well-established online learning platform that some of the librarians are using to study online, is called Coursera. It has free online classes from more than 80 universities and organizations and the Gold Coast Library may support this platform next year. However, right now we can use it by simply signing-in online. Some of the courses provided on Coursera are accredited but the majority are not. As a free source to gain knowledge and improve your skills – Coursera is simply brilliant.
Timothy also explained why so many universities and organisations are providing free learning courses online. They are experimenting with the flipped classroom model which is a form of blended learning where students learn online by watching video lectures, and then what used to be done as homework is now done in class with teacher offering more personalised guidance and interaction with students, instead of giving a lecture in the classroom.
The Gold Coast Library also provides access to academic and non-academic training online, including an online typing tutor, language courses and computer training.
Timothy reminded us about the opportunities for writers that libraries can provide like book launches at local branches. He said that librarians like it very much when local writers launch their books at library branches because it brings people into the library.
He pointed out a significant fact that all other libraries in Australia charge a fee for inter-library loans but the Gold Coast Library does it for free. You can find any book you need by searching the database of Trove –National Library of Australia and request the Gold Coast Library ‘borrow’ the book for you.
Once a year the Gold Coast Library conducts a training session in Podcasting. They may plan to offer these sessions more often now since the new Helensvale Cultural Centre, which is located in the same building as the Helensvale Branch Library, has a recording studio.
Timothy Ferguson’s valuable talk on tips for getting the most out of Gold Coast Libraries touched on a wide range of benefits for writers from the Gold Coast Writers Association and the general public.
Thank you Timothy Ferguson! Thank you very much!