In September this year, staff from the State Library of Western Australia delivered the Ideas Box to the Yungngora Aboriginal Community near Fitzroy Crossing in the West Kimberley. The Ideas Box is a revolutionary portable library which provides access to information, cultural heritage and education. The project is delivered in collaboration with the Yungngora community and has enabled training and employment for two community based Aboriginal staff members. It includes multiple forms of literacy, from books and magazines, to digital cameras, laptops and tablets, as well as board games, and a TV for film screenings.
The Ideas Box is a national and international collaborative project between Bibliothèques Sans Frontières (Libraries Without Borders LWB ) based in France, and the State Libraries of Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia. The project commenced in 2012 when LWB a not for profit international organisation based in France which aims to promote access to information and culture for vulnerable populations, worked with designer Phillipe Starck on the concept of an innovative device to enable access to information for people emerging from humanitarian crisis. The box was first installed in African and Syrian refugee camps in Burundi, Rwanda, Jordan and Lebanon and since then has been installed all over the world including in Brooklyn and Paris, to provide information and learning access to vulnerable metropolitan populations.
LWB first presented the Ideas Box at the IFLA Conference in Lyon in 2014 where it sparked the interest and excitement of CEOs and staff from Australian state and public libraries who had the vision to see its potential for delivery in remote Indigenous communities, who face some of the same barriers in accessing information and learning. The implementation in Australia has focused on building literacy, digital literacy and access to cultural heritage, stories and creativity. In both Western Australia and Queensland community members have been trained and employed to manage and evaluate access to the box and its resources.
The Ideas Box program was presented again at the recent 2016 ALIA National Conference in Adelaide by Libraries Without Borders and State Library of Queensland, and was extremely well received, generating a large amount of conversation throughout the week. Conference delegates were particularly interested in talking to staff from Queensland and Western Australia about the specific challenges of installing the box in remote Australian Aboriginal communities.
The WA launch took place in the grounds of the Kukarriya Community School where the box will be located for the next six months. It was a great success, with many community members from young to old attending and enjoying what the Ideas Box had to offer. A lunch was provided by the community, and teachers struggled to tear the younger students away from the games, i pads, books and films. The Ideas Box will remain at the Yungngora Aboriginal Community for a period of approximately six months, followed by an evaluation of the pilot program and potential delivery into more communities.
For further information about this project please contact Elizabeth Spencer Acting Director Community Learning and Discovery on 08 9427 3238 firstname.lastname@example.org