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Roses are red, libraries are not so blue

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As the year hurtles ahead, glossy pink greeting cards and red roses are crowding out the early hot cross buns in our supermarkets and your inbox is probably full of romance-related shopping sales pitches.  Where’s the real love to be found? In a good book, of course! Amplify brings you the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) quest to share true love to Valentines Day by reviving our romantic connection to stories. Read on to find out how you could get your service involved in a love match with your local public library this year, and tick off some important outcomes for children while you do so.

Love stories

neil gaimanThe Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) wants to capture the passionate feelings connected to a certain day in mid-February, and focus them on a love that truly lasts forever: the love of a good book. Or, if you prefer, a good specialist journal, or audiobook, or public storytime, or author reading. There are any number of things to love in a public library, and no need to swipe right to find them.

While last year you were asked to write a love letter to your local library, this year the request for Library Lovers’ Day is to try your hands at ‘flash fiction’ – a form of extremely short story which could definitely be attempted by small groups of children and educators.

Flash fiction

The story should be no more than 200 words and begin with the phrase, there was love to be found in the library. Where could the children’s imaginations take you after that? The family love found in stories like Grandma Poss and Hush? The love of foods like chocolate cake, swiss cheese, or a slice of watermelon? Or perhaps a completely new love, about a character the children create and a journey they take to their local library.

Read all about the flash fiction competition here.

Some of the shadow puppet samples from ALIA

Shadow puppetry

Or perhaps another aspect of the 2019 Library Lovers campaign is more to your team’s liking? ALIA has developed six different shadow puppet story kits to share different ways of telling stories.  You can download the free kits and instructions below, or use the general How-to advice to create your own shadow puppet shows with children at your service.

Getting out

Libraries offer excellent opportunities for supported excursions. Many services have a library in walking distance, but if you need public transport you can take a tip from this approach shared in the Out the Gate excursion and outings series.

Here’s an extract from Su Garret’s story on using buses and trains to reach excursion destinations:

We use public transport quite often, and we have designated routes that are part of our risk assessment. We mostly use buses, however occasionally we use the light rail to get into the city centre. Our bus stop to travel to the city is approximately 200 metres from our service, with a pedestrian crossing at one intersection along that road. Our other bus stop on return trips is approximately 100 metres from the service – a shorter walk back if the children are tired!

Tips for public transport:
when taking a full class, split into two smaller groups and catch separate buses
pre-pay tickets or purchase top-up public transport cards for your system, like Opal, Myki or Go Cards

Early years educational benefits

A trip to the library offers many benefits for the children at your service

Early Years Learning Framework outcomes include:

1.3.6 Child engages with local community members and elders.

2.1.4 Child broadens their understanding of the world they live in

5.2.7 Child actively uses, engages with and share the enjoyment of language and texts in a range of ways

OSHC learning outcomes

You could also consider an afternoon excursion for children at outside school hours care (OSHC, or add the library to your venues for your next vacation care program:

Framework for School Aged Care outcomes include:

From Outcome 1, Children have a strong sense of identity

Children develop their autonomy, inter-dependence, resilience and sense of agency; children develop knowledgeable and confident self identities; children learn to interact in relation to others with care, empathy and respect

From Outcome 2, Children are connected with and contribute to their world

Children develop a sense of belonging to groups and communities and an understanding of the reciprocal rights and responsibilities necessary for active community participation

From Outcome 3, Children are confident and engaged learners

Children develop dispositions such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity; children use a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, inquiry, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating

From Outcome 4, Children are effective communicators

Children engage with a range of texts and gain meaning from these texts; children collaborate with others, express ideas and make meaning using a range of media and communication technologies


Street libraries

With the focus on libraries and literacy, this is  also a great time to act on those plans to create a street library, or decorate your current street library. Rather than replacing community libraries, street libraries have been known to encourage families to visit their local bricks and mortar libraries more often.

You can read about how the ‘little libraries’ concept changed two communities when a long day care service in Queensland, and a community preschool in NSW, took on the challenge of sharing books.

Community engagement in a box at Acacia Ridge


An outback box inspired this Armidale street library

library armidale




Bec Lloyd is the founder and managing director of Bec & Call Communication, providing professional writing, editing and strategy services to the school and early childhood education sector since 2014. In 2018 she launched UnYucky mindset and menus for happier family mealtimes. Formerly the communications lead at ACECQA and BOS (now NESA), Bec is a journo and mother of three who produces Amplify for us at Community Early Learning Australia.

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