Library News

LIBRARY NEWS ITEMS

DECEMBER 2023

The library has a number of books that have until recently been classified as ‘Not for Loan’. A few months ago we began the slow process of reviewing these books and updating records to make as many as possible more accessible to our members. Observant visitors to the library may have noticed that a set of shelves, which have for some time been labelled ‘Work in Progress’, are now nearly cleared. Yes! We found time for a blitz of work. On these shelves, we were excited to find books devoted to letters from the Australian colonial era and beyond. They include a gem published in 1979 entitled Advice to a young lady in the colonies which is the reproduction of a letter sent to Maria Macarthur (married to John Macarthur’s nephew, Hannibal) by ‘Mrs E’ who is believed to have been her godmother. Another, Life lines (1992) is a collection of women’s letters and diaries written between 1788 and 1840. Edited by Patricia Clarke and Dale Spender, the letters are by women from all walks of colonial life. My dear Betsy (1993) is a compilation by Warwick Hirst of letters arranged chronologically from 1771 to 1944 written by well-known figures such as William Bligh, Elizabeth Macarthur, Banjo Paterson, Miles Franklin and Lloyd Rees. Then there is the beautifully presented book In her own words by Robyn Walsh, which is a collection of the writings of Elizabeth Macquarie from 1801 to 1835 accompanied by sumptuous photos and other illustrations. Finally, there are two copies of Letters from Victorian pioneers by Thomas Francis Bride, which contains 50 letters from squatters and other early settlers carried to England by Charles Joseph La Trobe in 1854. The earlier publication will be kept in the Reserve Collection but the later edition is available for borrowing. All five of these recently ’liberated’ books can now be found in our Essays, Letters and Diaries Collection. They are sure to delight anyone interested in a personal, historical or social insight into the lives of convicts, settlers and their colonial masters.

NOVEMBER 2023

In a recent online report several people were asked if they had read a book in the past 12 months and what it was that they like most about book reading. They gave a host of reasons that ranged from the highly practical to the sublime.

26% of those who had read a book in the past 12 months said that what they enjoyed most was learning, gaining knowledge, and discovering information.

15% cited the pleasures of escaping reality, becoming immersed in another world, and the enjoyment they got from using their imaginations.

12% said they liked the entertainment value of reading, the drama of good stories, the suspense of watching a good plot unfold.

12% said they enjoyed relaxing while reading and having quiet time.

6% liked the variety of topics they could access via reading and how they could find books that particularly interested them.

4% said they enjoy finding spiritual enrichment through reading and expanding their worldview.

3% said they like being mentally challenged by books.

2% cited the physical properties of books – their feel and smell – as a primary pleasure.

In their own words, respondents were eloquent and touching. One respondent noted “I read to save my sanity” Others said it was a way of being able to experience so many times, places, people, and events, and all in the comfort of their home.


World Children’s Day – November 20th, 2023

World Children’s Day is UNICEF’s annual day of action for children and by children, marking the adoption by the UN General Assembly, of the Declaration and the Convention on Children’s Rights.

Here at the MAL we are very much concerned with a child’s right to rest, relax and play.  We also want to support children’s literacy development through providing access to a rich source of books and activities such as rhyme time and story time. The development of our library as a child-friendly space has been generously supported by a Community Grant from the Mount Alexander Shire Council.

Some of the funding has been put towards improving the environment of the Children’s Library and to put a change table into our toilet to more adequately meet the needs of parents/ carers with babies and toddlers who are using the library. We have also been able to purchase more books especially for the Babies to 5 year old age groups and hope that in the near future we can have a Rhyme Time program up and running.

I thought I would share with readers some of the new purchases as well as some recent donations that are sure to delight our younger readers.

Fiona Farley

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Library News

National Novel Writing Month at the Library

Throughout November, writers, both experienced and inexperienced, are gathering in the library as part of National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, in a companionable writing group facilitated by local resident and writer, Peggy Aeschlimann. You don’t have to be at the start of your novel to take part in this event, you can be part-way though or even nearly finished. Peggy herself, is writing a detective novel called ‘The Cherry Tree Murder Mystery’ that she ONLY works on during NaNoWriMo when she takes a break from the bio-fiction of Anne Fraser Bonn that she’s been working on for some time. The idea is to write 5000 words in the month. It’s an ambitious target but Peggy says it’s amazing how much you can write when sitting with a group who are all focused on the same thing. The format is loose, it’s not a workshop and there’s no requirement to discuss your work or read it aloud for feedback. The purpose of the coming together is companionship in what can otherwise be lonely process. There’s a website too that gives you tools and encouragement and helps you keep track of your achievements. Check it out on www.nanowrimo.org or just come along to the library on any Monday, Wednesday or Friday afternoon in November between 2pm and 4pm (library open hours) to meet and write with Peggy and others.

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Recently, Joy Leneaux-Gale, former President of the Athenaeum’s Committee of Management, has been trawling the TROVE digitised newspaper site (trove.nla.gov.au) to draft a brief history of the library. The newspapers reveal that settling on a name was not easy. On the 16th of November 1860 ‘The Tarrangower Times & Maldon District Advertiser’ informed its readers that ‘a meeting to consider the advisability of establishing a Mechanics’ Institute in Maldon took place on Wednesday evening, at the Royal Hotel’ where it was agreed that ‘the formation of a Literary and Scientific Institution in Maldon is desirable and necessary’. So that’s two names. The following Tuesday, the paper ran an article titled ‘Literary Institute’, in which other names were mooted. The article said, ‘We may be permitted here to observe that the title of “Mechanics’ Institute” is hardly applicable to the establishment in question at Maldon. For in our district very few of the class from whom this title is derived … are to be found, and in all probability the institute would not number amongst its members at the most five of that class. The designation of “Miners’ Institute” would be more appropriate, but it would still be preferable to select a title which would not imply that the establishment was designated for the benefit of any particular class but of the whole community. No error could be committed in conferring upon it the simple title of “Literary and Scientific Institute;” or if a more ambitious one be desired that of “Athenaeum” might be applied.’ So, within a few days, five different names had been suggested. But wait! In Feb 1872, ‘The Tarrangower Times and Maldon and Newstead Advertiser’ referred to it as the Maldon Athenaeum and Mining Museum. Searching further might turn up other names. But perhaps, for now, we’ll stick with Maldon Athenaeum Library.

OCTOBER 2023

Children’s Week at the Library

This year from October 21st – 29th, communities around Victoria are celebrating Children’s Week where the theme is: Children have the right to relax, play and take part in the activities they enjoy.  At the Library I am sure children will enjoy the activities we have planned around our “Teddybears Sleepover” on Friday the 27th of October.

At the library we believe that reading is both a relaxing and fun activity that can be enjoyed almost anywhere.  We have some new books in our Children’s Library and a few months ago were gifted about 20 picture books from a sale at the Castlemaine Library. These books will be on display during Children’s Week. I hope that our young borrowers will enjoy curling up somewhere to read one of these books and borrow one or two to take home and share with the family.

I thought it would be a good idea to highlight some of our new not so new books that I think our young readers will enjoy and want to take home.

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Did you know we have an extensive collection of large print books? In fact, the nearly 1000 books fill five bookshelves running the length of a whole wall in our beautiful sun-lit back room. Beginning with Martin Amis’ Heavy Water and Other Stories, they range through authors as diverse as such as Charlotte Bronte, Angela Carter, Penelope Lively, Joan London, Tim Parks, Vikram Seth and Minette Walters before ending with Margaret Yorke’s Pieces of Justice. Housed in the same room as the general crime fiction, the large print collection also includes many thrillers, mysteries and detective novels including novels by Agatha Christie, Lawrence Block, John Grisham, Kerry Greenwood, P.D. James, Gabriel Lord, Martin Cruz smith and Ian Rankin, to name a few.  While the back room is a haven for lovers of crime fiction − in both large and regular print − our non-fiction true crime books are housed in the main room. Lovers of this genre will be pleased to know that three more books have recently been added to the shelves: The Murder on Easey St by Helen Thomas about Melbourne’s most notorious cold-case; The Lost Girls by Ava Benny-Morrison, which examines the case of a heinous mother and daughter murder; and The Stoccos by Nino Bucci about the eight-year man-hunt that captivated Australia. All three are bound to intrigue.

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Lament overheard the other day: “With the football season over and the cricket and tennis season yet to start, what are we armchair sports fans supposed to do?” Well, may I suggest that reading about sporting greats might fill the gap? Two recent donations will appeal to football fans: the self-titled autobiographies Jim Stynes for AFL fans, and Cameron Smith for Rugby League fans. Smith, captain of Melbourne Storm, is considered the greatest rugby player of all time. Stynes, not only played for Melbourne FC and won the Brownlow Medal but was also awarded the Order of Australia for his youth work off-field. He staunchly campaigned for cancer research during his own long battle with the illness. Other books on our shelves include Peter Lalor’s biography Barassi about the man who famously changed the way AFL was played after yelling ‘handball, handball, handball’ during the 1970 Grand Final. And let’s not forget the phenomenal success of the Matilda’s who this year reached the semi-finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. You can read about them, their journey and their struggles for equality and recognition in The Matilda Effect by Fiona Crawford. Moving away from football, you might like to read Ash Barty’s tennis memoir, My Dream Time, published last year. Looking further back in time, you could read Dawn, One Hell of a Life by Australia’s iconic swimmer Dawn Fraser; Cathy, by Cathy Freeman, who will be forever remembered for her gold-winning run at the Sydney Olympic Games; or Sir Vivian, the autobiography  of charismatic Caribbean cricketer, Viv Richards. You can find these books, and more, in our extensive Autobiography, Biography and Memoir collection in the Main Room, and on our Sport and Recreation shelf in the Hall. 

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For Seniors Week we talked to some of our older members about the library. Angela, a new-comer to Maldon, told us she joined to support the library because it’s wonderful to have one in a small town, especially one in such a beautiful building.  Juliete loves our library’s friendliness, “You can always have a conversation here and sometimes, even a piece of cake!” she said. Her favourite book is A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. Set in the 1920s, it’s about a man deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal and sentenced to house arrest in the Metropole Hotel.  “It’s beautifully written − I couldn’t put it down”, Juliete said. Fiona agreed, “It’s a heart-warming story and so intriguing − I wasn’t expecting the twist at the end”. Fiona’s own all-time favourite is Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet. As our children’s librarian, her favourite picture story book is John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat by Jenny Wagner with illustrations by Ron Brooks. It’s about Rose, an elderly women, her dog John Brown and a cat who arrives out of the blue and makes itself part of the family. Brenda’s favourite genre is science fiction, while Pete likes history and Jim comes in for the DVDs.  Another library member, Lynda, is working her way through the Irish writers and has now read all the Maggie O’Farrells and the Edna O’Briens. In the gardening collection, she has recently found Brickell and Joyce’s Pruning & Training a very handy reference. Hearing this, one of our local characters, who prefers to remain nameless, chipped in, “I borrow a lot of biographies and detective fiction but I’d never get a gardening book out, I hate gardening”. Each to their own − our eclectic collection has something for everyone.

SEPTEMBER 2023

Start of RHYME TIME sessions at the Maldon Athenaeum Library
At the MAL we are excited to announce trial sessions for Rhyme Time for Babies to 3 year olds. The sessions will include a selection of songs, rhymes and stories suitable for babies and toddlers.
We hope to offer one session per fortnight for the first month but can then hopefully offer them on a weekly basis.
We would like to start enrolment for the Opening Session which will hopefully be in the first week of October.
It looks as though there are two time slots for the sessions- Wednesday 2.30 – 3.10pm OR Friday 2.30 – 3.10 pm.
We have selected these times based on expression of interest forms received to date, although we are aware they may not suit all parents/caregivers.
The sessions are free and we are offering all parents who enrol for the sessions complementary membership of the library until the end of December 2023. This means that your family can borrow books from the library after the session and visit to read, play and borrow books at other times when the library is open.
Enrolment forms where you will need to indicate your preferred day, will be available at the Athenaeum Library and can be picked up on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons from 2- 4 pm and also Saturday mornings 9.30 – 12 .00.
For enquiries please contact Fiona Farley (MAL Children’s Library Coordinator)
Contact: Phone: 043 4628043 Email: fiona54farley@gmail.com
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World Animal Day aims to raise awareness of animal welfare issues and is celebrated annually on October 4, the feast day, in the Christian tradition, of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. Here at our (well-behaved) dog-friendly library, the shelves are packed with books about animals. The Animal Tales section in the main room, has true stories somewhat like biographies but of animals rather than people. There you’ll find book such as Emma Pearce’s Sophie, about her the blue cattle dog who was presumed lost at sea but turned up 5 months later after an incredible adventure. If cats are your preference, you could try Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper or Doris Lessing’s Particularly Cats. Or for something more unusual, how about Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk or John Lewis-Stemple’s The Running Hare?

On a sombre note, in the Environment and Sustainability section, A Gap in Nature is a coffee-table-sized book by Tim Flannery with breathtaking illustrations by Peter Scouten. It tells the tragic story of the extinction of animals through European exploration, over-zealous collectors, and the introduction of predators. Perhaps the most famous extinct animal is the dodo (dead as a dodo), which we learn was last recorded in about 1681 in Mauritius. The famous Thylacine (Tasmanian tiger), last recorded in 1936, is also in the book along with other now extinct Australian animals. Closer to home, on the Maldon and Surrounds shelves, there’s a slim undated volume published with the assistance of the Commonwealth Government’s Natural Heritage Trust. The book, Declining Woodland Animals in the Maldon−Castlemaine Area depicts local native species that are sadly endangered, vulnerable or declining as a result of vegetation clearance. The book provides guidelines and photos to help landholders regenerate suitable habitat for species such as the Lace Monitor lizard, the Brush-tailed Phascogale and the Diamond Firetail. On our shelves you’ll also find Connecting Country’s Healthy Landscapes; a more recently published and updated guideline for providing habitat for local threatened species.

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Recently we embarked on a project to identify books in the library written by local authors. And what a diversity of books we found! Local authors have written on antiques, Australian flora and fauna, gardening, history, the arts, and sustainable practices. They have written biographies, memoirs, poetry, diaries and novels. Acclaimed novelist, Henry Handel Richardson lived in Maldon in the 1880s, albeit for six years as a child. Current resident Anita Sinclair’s work contributes to our Performing Arts Collection, Autobiography Collection and our Poetry shelves.  Our library is enriched by Ron Ferguson’s books on military history and Peter Cuffley’s books on, amongst other things, heritage cottages, furniture and gardens. A number of Maldon authors have written about the history of the town, for example, Maldon and the Tarrangower Diggings by A.J. Williams, and A Rich Vein: the early days of Maldon’s north and the area known as Eaglehawk by Christopher Creek. Still on the goldmining theme, but a little further afield we have Marjorie Theobald’s book about Castlemaine, The Accidental Town. Currently living and writing in Castlemaine are well-known authors Carmel Bird and Alex Miller, whose many works of fiction can be found on our shelves, as can their more occasional non-fiction books. Further afield again, we have Dunolly: story of an old gold digging by James Flett, who was born in – yes, you guessed it – Dunolly. Another book, this time about the history we share with the First Nations People of this region, is Footprints across the Loddon Plains by Boort residents Paul Haw and Margaret Munro. We have space here to talk about only some of the local talent and their diversity of books. But when this project is completed, you’ll be able to search for local authors via our online catalogue (maldonlibrary.org.au). And on the title page of each book you’ll find stamped ‘Local author: Maldon/Dja Dja Wurrung Country’ in acknowledgement that we live and work, write and read on the traditional lands of the Dja Dja Wurrung people.

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Do you like browsing antique shops? Do you want to know more about that interesting piece you picked up a few years ago? You might find the information you need in the library’s books about antiques that range from guns to dolls to furniture. If you’re interested in the weapons of colonial Australia, then In defence of lives and property by Edgar Penzig could be just the book for you. Or perhaps you’re wondering about that old bottle you found in an overgrown corner of your garden? Look no further than The Victorian thirst by local author Ken Arnold. Other books by local authors include A survey of Australiana 1790−1940 by Bendigo antiques dealers Kevin Carney, Willi Carney and Paul McKenna. Kevin Carney also co-authored The catalogue and history of cottage chairs in Australia with another local author, Peter Cuffley. You’ll find all these books, and more, in their new home in the Hall.

Talking of new homes, the Maldon Collection has begun what we hope will be its final move to the other side of the Main Room where it can be better housed on shelves that accommodate its many tall books. But we are beginning to think ‘Maldon Collection’ is a misnomer. Yes, there are many books about our town and its people − books such as Maldon: Australia’s first notable town by Grant Blackman and John Larkin; Maldon: a new history 1853 −1928 by Brian Rhule; and Maldon and the Tarrangower Diggings by local man A.J. Williams. But there are also books about gold diggings and towns further afield, for example, The accidental town: Castlemaine 1851−1861 by Marjorie Theobald, and Dunolly: story of an old gold digging by James Flett. Should the collection perhaps be called ‘Maldon and the Goldfields’? But then there are books about the region such as Along the Coliban by Brian Coman with its superb photos by Henry Oldmeadows. So would ‘Maldon and the Region’ be a more fitting name? Or ‘History and Geography: Maldon & Surrounds’? Or should the name acknowledge the Dja Dja Wurrung, the traditional owners of the land through which the Coliban flows, where the diggings took place and where these towns now stand?

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International Literacy Day (September 8) was first proclaimed by UNESCO in 1966 to remind people about how important literacy is for individuals, communities and societies. Literacy empowers people and improves their self-esteem, creativity, and critical thinking. It enables us to acquire the knowledge and skills to effectively conduct our daily life, get promotions at work, read to our children and carry out our civic responsibilities such as voting. And let’s not forget the joy of curling up with a good book to just relax!

The foundations of literacy are laid down in childhood through the enjoyment of good books. Here at the library we are committed to helping promote inquisitive, creative minds and to fostering the pleasures of reading and writing though our excellent range of new books and old favourites in our Children’s Library. Among them you’ll find the winners of this year’s Children’s Book Week awards: Where the Lyrebird Lives, by Vikki Conley; Dirt by Sea by Michael Wagner; Snap by Anna Walker, and Runt by Craig Silvey.

At the other end of the literacy scale, it is said that all adults have at least one book inside them. Is this you? Perhaps you want to write your memoirs for the grandchildren? Or is it a novel? Short stories? For you, we have a small but excellent selection of books aimed at developing or refreshing your creative writing skills. You’ll find Kate Grenville’s The writing book: a practical guide for fiction writers in our Writing/Communication section. There you’ll also find local author Carmel Bird’s classic guide to writing fiction, Dear writer revisited; and Jen Storer’s See me jump: 20 things I’ve learned about writing for children. So don’t hesitate, come on in, bring the littlies, borrow a book and celebrate our good fortune at having the Athenaeum library here in Maldon.

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There has been a gratifying renewal of interest in the library’s Maldon Collection since we moved it to a more accessible location in the Main Room. Rarely a day goes by without members browsing the shelves and taking a few books for perusal while sitting at the long table or in the armchair in front of the stained glass window. Of particular interest are books about the history of Maldon and surrounds: books such as Malcom Crick’s fascinating Maldon Memories, a compilation of recollections told by Maldonians who grew up here in the 1930s; A Rich Vein, Christopher Creek’s history of the area known as Eagle Hawk; and The Essential Maldon by Miles Lewis with its beautiful illustrations by G.H. (Mick) Morton. While these books will always be its core, in order to better display this unique collection, we are in the process of sifting, sorting and rearranging. Many books have previously been shelved in the Maldon collection because they were written by local authors, but they aren’t about Maldon and the surrounding areas, instead being on topics as far ranging as gardening, interior design and military history. We plan on moving these out to be shelved along with others of their kind where they will be more easily found by people interested in each book’s particular topic. Not only will this make them more accessible, but their relocation will allow us to better showcase the Maldon Collection itself. And we’ll showcase our talented local authors by stamping the inside cover of their books with a custom-made ‘Local Author’ stamp.

AUGUST 2023

Children’s Book Week 2023 (19th – 25th August)

A child

A book

A read

A chat

This is the way the mind grows

Not with a test but a tale.

Michael Rosen, 2021

Michael Rosen, author of that much loved book “We’re Going on Bear Hunt” wrote this poem to highlight the very significant and important value of quality literature on young people’s lives.

This year’s theme for Book Week was Read, Grow, Inspire and the selected books on the shortlists provided plenty of opportunities for readers to do just that.

On display in our Children’s Library are the following Shortlist Winners/ Honour Books;

Book of the Year: Younger Readers (Books in this category are suitable for readers in Middle to Upper Primary School ( 7 -12 Years)                                                                                                                                                                                            The winner this year was the heart-warming story Runt written by Craig Silvey with illustrations by Sara Acton and published by Allen and Unwin. We featured this wonderful story in a previous Times post for the library a few weeks ago.

Book of the Year: Early Childhood (Books in this category are suitable for children 0 – 6 years)

The winner this year was “Where the Lyrebird Lives “written by Vikki Conley and illustrated by Max Hamilton, published by Windy Hollow Books.    Vikki Conley shared with the CBCA that she was “delighted to see Where the Lyrebird Lives resonating with readers, inspiring them to connect with nature…”

Chosen as an Honour Book was the delightful “Snap!” written and illustrated by Anna Walker and published by Scribble Kids Books.

Commenting to the CBCA Anna said, “Frogs have made me smile ever since I was a child. Frog’s personality reflects the way a child is curious about the world and enjoys finding friends.”

Book of the Year: Picture Book (Books in this category can be for readers from O – 18 years)

Chosen as an Honour Book was “Dirt by Sea” written by Michael Wagner and illustrated by Tom Jellett, published by Penguin Random House

Michael Wagner shared with the CBCA that the “main inspiration for the book was “a little family – a father and daughter and their Instagram photos. It was Alison Lester’s book Are we There Yet? about a family travelling around Australia that inspired the road trip aspect of the book.”

Please visit the library to take a look at these wonderful books that reflect the very high quality of literature available for young readers in Australia.  

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We thought this week we would share with you the Vision and Purpose we have for the Maldon Athenaeum Library.

Our Vision

To celebrate the joy of reading by continuing to provide and support a place where all members of our community can access books to read on a variety of topics.

To explore together with our community new ideas about literature, and to consider new perspectives on the written word.

To be innovative and ensure that the library reflects the changing and diverse needs and interests of our community.

To continue our long-established tradition of providing ongoing volunteer opportunities that enhance a sense of belonging to place by contributing and supporting a library service to our local community.

To maintain the unique heritage of the Athenaeum library, established in 1863, and continue its living history as part of the Maldon township.

Our Purpose

We are a community lending library, as a library we are about more than just gaining information and knowledge, seeking personal improvement, and building on our literacy skills. We are also about relaxing, just sitting and reflecting, reading a book, listening to a story or even sometimes, making a noise. Libraries are about making connections between, people, exploring and sharing ideas and developing friendships through these interests.

We want our library to:

  • help support literacy,
  • encourage the joy of reading,
  • provide a collection that assists with supporting a healthy and informed community,
  • provide access to information in a range of forms.
  • celebrate local stories to enhance the sense of place and pride.
  • be sustainable and relevant.

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This week we have a great selection of newly acquired books for you to come in and
borrow. Thanks to the generous donations from our local members and supporters
we are able to regularly buy new titles for the library collection. We are also very
grateful for the books that are regularly donated to us by local folk. Of course, to
make room for the new books some of the old ones have to be removed. The
cataloguing team very carefully reviews the collection looking for books that are
rarely if ever borrowed, titles that are no longer ‘in vogue’ and perhaps dated and no
longer relevant. This is a meticulous and slow process. Where we can, we offer
these deleted books for sale in the library’s front foyer area and at our popular book
sales. Following this we take books to op shops and second-hand book sellers; we
try everything to give the books a second chance. Come in and say hello have a
browse, you are bound to find something to interest you.

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Human Library: Saturday August 5th 10am−2pm

On Saturday 5 you can drop into the Athenaeum in the morning and borrow a book and drop in again in the afternoon to ‘borrow’ a person when we host the ‘Human Library’ as part of the Goldfields Gothic Festival of Dark Ideas.  Maybe you’d like to borrow Bethany Knight who is a spiritual medium and paranormal investigator; or Kelly Anne Blake, a Wadawurrung woman with a spiritual connection to country; or Catherine Tait, an artist who taps into her dark side to find her inner creativity. No matter who you borrow, you’re sure to be enthralled, and you never know what dark secrets may be revealed. Check out all the Human Library borrowing possibilities on www.goldfieldsgothic.com/humanlibrary. The conventional library, of course, has a number of Gothic novels available for loan, from classics tales of haunting and mystery like Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights and Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca as well as non-fiction publications such as Haunted, John Pickney’s book of Australian modern day eerie encounters. Or you could borrow a spooky DVD – perhaps the 1943 classic horror film, I Walked with a Zombie or the more recent Katherine Bigelow film, Near Dark with its blurb that promises, ‘They can only kill you once but they can terrify you forever’.

JULY 2023

Human Library: Saturday August 5th 10am−2pm

Hard on the heels of the success of the recent play readings held at the Athenaeum, we have another terrific event coming up. On Saturday August 5, we’ll be hosting a Human Library as part of the Goldfields Gothic Festival. The concept of a Human Library began in Denmark in 2000 and is now organised all over the world. In a Human Library, real people are ‘on loan’, giving the ‘borrowers’ the opportunity to listen to stories first-hand and ask questions of people they may not ordinarily get the chance to interact with. Here in Maldon, an interesting and diverse group have signed up to be ‘books’; to tell their own stories and share their knowledge about our past, the history of Maldon and of the wider Goldfields region. Come along on the day and, for only a $5 donation, borrow a human book for 20 minutes to listen and chat, learn and enjoy. To check out who the books are and who you might like to borrow go to www.goldfieldsgothic.com/humanlibrary.

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Two recent book donations by local authors illustrate the wealth of expertise and diversity of interests here in Maldon. R. Francis Ferguson (Ron to his friends) has lived in Maldon for 25 years. In 2020 he published Heinkel He 219, an illustrated history of the Third Reich’s home defence night fighter plane. The aircraft, which resembled a praying mantis, was unique for its tricycle undercarriage at a time when tail draggers were common, and was the world’s first to be fitted with an ejection seat. Ron’s book is the result of extensive research, and with around 230 photos is probably the most complete archive to date. It’s sure to be well received by our members with an interest in military history. Another welcome addition to our collection is long-time resident Anita Sinclair’s latest publication, A Wild Surmise. In this memoir of her family’s migration to Australia as ‘ten pound poms’ when she was eleven years old, Anita explores the idea that those who spent their formative years elsewhere will always have a sense of ‘split nationality’: at home here but with roots elsewhere. Insightful and revelatory, the memoir is the fourth publication by Anita held at the library. It joins her renowned The Puppetry Handbook and The Mask Handbook, both of which borrowers will find in our Performing Arts Collection, and A Crowded Solitude in the Poetry Collection. We thank Ron and Anita for their generosity.

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The library’s stained glass windows and dark wood cabinets provided the perfect atmosphere for the recent readings of Arson at the Athenaeum. Custom-written by Kyneton playwright, Helen Gramberg, the play is based on a real fire that engulfed Maldon’s quiet library and adjoining rowdy billiard saloon in 1933. Arson was suspected although never proven, but in Helen’s intriguing version, a private eye calls together suspects, potential witnesses, and local law enforcement officers to flush out the culprit. After a glass of welcoming sherry, participants drew the name of their character from a hat. And what characters they were! Miss Eagle, the private eye was read by Helen herself while participants, enhanced by costume of the era, took on roles such as Mr MacArthur the town baker in a tall white bakers hat; Constable Hogan the town’s solo policeman equipped with a set of handcuffs; the town toff in top hat and cravat; a miner named Doug Down; the local floosie; and of course the librarian and the billiard hall manager. The reading took off with gusto and flair as grudges were aired, fingers pointed and allegations rebuffed. Intermission came with an afternoon tea of dainty club sandwiches and profiteroles made and served by library volunteers. Thus fortified, participants resumed their places at the table and after a number of accusations, evasions, fibs and a document hunt, the arsonist was finally revealed – along with a well-kept secret or two. This is the first time a play reading has been held at the Athenaeum, but judging by the enthusiastic response, we are hopeful of another at next year’s Maldon in Winter Festival.

 

JUNE 2023

Recently, FOCAL (Friends of the Castlemaine Library) held a fund-raising book sale but before opening it to the public, they invited our president, Tina Fratta, to choose books as a donation to our collection. Tina and our children’s library specialist, Fiona Farley, selected books that were not already in our collection and were either by popular authors, recently published or of a genre we are developing and expanding. Here’s a sample:

Children’s books. Through FOCAL’s generosity, the children’s collection has expanded by 20 books, including Runt by Craig Silvey with illustrations by Sara Acton, which is shortlisted for this year’s Book of the Year Awards. Some of the great read-aloud picture story books donated include The Little Dragon by Mem Fox with illustrations by Roland Harvey; and One Keen Koala by Margaret Wild − a counting book with Australian animals delightfully illustrated by Bruce Whitely.

Adult Fiction. Among the books chosen for this collection are three by hugely popular writers of crime novels: The Colours of All the Cattle by Alexander McCall Smith; In a House of Lies by Ian Rankin; and The Closers by Michael Connelly.

Non-Fiction. The Australian History section has been enhanced by the addition of People of the River by Grace Karskens, which looks at the lost worlds of Early Australia; Rob Mundle’s Great South Land about how Dutch sailors found Australia and an English pirate almost beat Captain Cook; and Eureka by Peter FitzSimons. In addition, Blackout, an examination of resources-rich Australia’s electricity crisis by Mathew Warren makes a great contribution to the development of our Environment and Sustainability section.

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Arson at the Athenaeum.

As part of this year’s Mid-Winter Festival the Maldon library hosted Arson at the Athenaeum, an interactive play reading. Thirteen good souls donned various characters and costumes to take on local personas from the 1930s. Detective sleuth Miss Eagle, performed by the play’s author Helen Gramberg, conducted the investigation into the mysterious fire that burnt down the original library and billiards room in 1932. Great fun was had, unearthing hidden clues and secrets and, all helped along with sherry and a scrumptious afternoon tea. The play has a second performance on July 8th and is sure to become a regular Mid-Winter Festival event.

The cast and characters from Arson at the Athenaeum.

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This coming Sunday is the start of NAIDOC Week (July 2−July 9) celebrating the oldest, continuous living culture on earth with the theme ‘For Our Elders’−those revered ‘cultural knowledge holders, trailblazers, nurturers, advocates, teachers, survivors, leaders, hard workers and … loved ones’ (www.naidoc.org.au). In the last year, we have sadly lost three nationally revered Elders. Most recently we saw the passing of Dr Yunupingu, a Yolŋu leader who spent a lifetime fighting for the rights of his people, from the Yirrkala bark petition of 1963 to the current Voice to Parliament. He was Australian of the Year in 1978 and awarded the Order of Australia in 1985. Last year saw the passing of Jack Charles, a Bunurong and Wiradjuri man, actor, playwright, activist, advocate and member of the Stolen Generations. In 2015 he was the Victorian Senior of the Year, and last year’s NAIDOC Week Awards named him Male Elder of the Year. In his autobiography, Born-again Blakfella, he tells his story with his customary wit and candour. Another widely loved Elder who recently passed away is Gunditjmara singer-songwriter Archie Roach. Who can forget his hauntingly poignant ‘They took the Children Away’ telling of his own pain and that of many others? Among his numerous awards, he received a ‘Deadly’ for a ‘Lifetime Contribution to Healing the Stolen Generations’. His autobiography, Tell me Why (reviewed this week) and Jack Charles’ autobiography (reviewed earlier this year) are in our Indigenous and Reconciliation Collection.

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With the Winter Solstice just passed, we can now look forward to the days getting longer. But the grey skies and cold nights of late will likely continue for a while yet, so what could be better than curling up in the warm with a good book? You could, for example, do some armchair travelling with a book from our Travel Tales Collection; perhaps touring The Best Gardens in Italy with Kirsty Mcleod, The City of Djinns with William Dalrymple or The Bush with Don Watson. If glimpsing other people’s lives interests you, our Autobiography, Biography and Memoir Collection takes up one whole wall of the Main Room, and we’re always adding to it. But if you prefer fiction, then browse our Middle Room with its newly released novels, such as Pip William’s The Bookbinder of Jericho, as well as classics such as Tirra Lirra by the River by Australian author Jessica Anderson. If you’re a lover of Detectives and Thrillers then our Back Room is the place for you because there you’ll find three whole walls lined with the books of your favourite authors. Most people prefer to physically peruse the shelves (and we love to see you), but if you want to browse without leaving your cosy armchair, then try a Keyword, Subject or Author search in our on-line catalogue (maldonlibrary.org.au). For more details, click on individual books in the list that comes up. You could then Reserve your choice by clicking ‘Request’. After that, all you have to do is come in to pick it up!

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This coming Sunday is the start of Refugee Week (June 18−24), which this year has the theme Finding Freedom. Australia has long been a signatory to the United Nations Refugee Convention whereby it pledges to offer asylum to those forced to flee persecution in their own country. At the time of signing (1954) Australia gave refuge to thousands of European displaced persons after World War 2, and for the next few decades focussed on British and European migration. But in 1976 the first ‘boat people’ arrived on our shores fleeing the aftermath of the war in Vietnam. Among them was Anh Do, who went on to become the acclaimed author, actor, comedian and painter many will recognise from his most recent television show Anh’s Brush with Fame. We have Do’s moving, amusing and inspiring memoir, The Happiest Refugee, in our Autobiography Collection and also as a Talking Book. In the Children’s Library, we have a number of his hugely popular children’s books including WeirDo, Ninja Kid and the Wolf Girl adventure series. Like Anh Do, many refugees have made significant contributions to our country economically, scholastically and culturally. In recent times, however, many have waited years for a decision to be made about their claim to need asylum; living in limbo unable to contribute in any way. Amongst them was the Kurdish-Iranian journalist and scholar Behrouz Boochani, who, after 6 years imprisoned in off-shore detention, was welcomed by New Zealand. Once free, he became a Professor in Social Sciences at the University of NSW. We recently added his latest book Freedom, Only Freedom to our Essays, Letters and Diaries Collection.

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Do you like mysteries? Whodunits? Would you like to take part in a play reading? Then Arson at the Athenaeum is the event for you! Part of the Maldon in Winter Festival, Arson at the Athenaeum was written by Kyneton-based playwright and actor Helen Gramberg, and inspired by the real-life fire that engulfed the Athenaeum Library and billiard room in 1934. The play, which has twelve characters, will be led by Helen herself taking on the role of the detective, while the other eleven roles will be read by participants – perhaps the town policeman, the librarian, the showgirl or the miner (after all it is 1934). Participants will be given their character, some props and a script. They can read their part in any way they see fit, using their own voice or a ‘borrowed’ one as they prefer. But who was the arsonist? Clues in the script and hidden in the library will lead participants to their own conclusions and to eventually exposing the culprit. Much fun, name calling, finger pointing and possibly mayhem will occur along the way! Secrets will be revealed. But after all the intrigue, participants can doff their characters, ditch their scripts, drop their props and relax over an amicable and well deserved afternoon tea.  

Arson at the Athenaeum, followed by afternoon tea, will be held at the Athenaeum Library on July 1 and July 8 from 2−4 pm. Don’t miss out! To participate, book now on 0437 094 469. Only $20.

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ARSON AT THE ATHENAEUM – An interactive play reading.
Join us for an afternoon of intrigue and deception. Take part as a character in a 1934 mystery whodunnit. Put on your detective hat, pocket your magnifier and enjoy some sleuthing fun. Discover who did the dastardly deed that burnt down the library and why!
July 1 and July 8, 2-4pm Cost $20 includes an Afternoon Tea.
Limited places so BOOK EARLY on 0437 094 469
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World Environment Day (June 5) has been held annually since 1973 making this its 50th anniversary. This year, the focus is on solutions to plastic pollution with a reminder that people’s actions make a difference: simple actions such as avoiding single-use plastics, using our own bags for shopping, avoiding buying over-packaged products, and reusing or repurposing plastic items that we already have. Millie Ross, in her book The Thrifty Gardener (in our Gardening Collection), has some interesting ideas on repurposing plastics for use in the garden as furniture or pots. For a good overview of the problems with plastic, and advice on how to avoid it, try The Australian Green Consumer Guide by Tanya Ha, which you’ll find in our Environment & Sustainability Collection. Although published 15 years ago, it remains relevant today and packed with useful information about, as the subtitle tells us, ‘choosing products for a healthier planet, home and bank balance’.

As for new books, we have recently added three that were requested by members: Saga Land by Richard Fidler and Kari Gislason − a memoir/travel tale/collection of sagas that takes readers on a journey across Iceland and through time; Keith Payne’s memoir No One Left Behind about his military service, for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross, and his ‘life beyond the battlefield’; and Matt Haig’s novel The Midnight Library, described as a ‘celebration of life’s possibilities’. If you are a member and have a request or suggestion for a book, come into the library and let us know.

MAY 2023

This week is National Reconciliation Week so what better time to browse our Indigenous and Reconciliation Collection? Newly established this year in the main room near the borrowing desk, this eclectic collection has books ranging from histories and biographies to art and culture. One of the most frequently borrowed is The Good Country: The Djadja Wurung, the Settlers and their Protectors by Bain Attwood. Because it deals with the local people and history of our specific region, it hardly has time to settle back on the shelf before it is borrowed again. Also popular is They Rescued Us: Aboriginal Heroes on Country by Fred Cahir, which tells of historical instances of, for example, Aboriginal people rescuing shipwreck victims, rescuing people by managing fire, and rescuing people by guiding them safely through Country. Or perhaps you’d be interested in two new additions to this collection − Bush Food: Aboriginal Food and Herbal Medicine by Jennifer Isaacs with its sumptuous photographs, and Duane Hamacher’s The First Astronomers: How Indigenous Elders Read the Stars, written in collaboration with Elders and traditional knowledge holders.

Talking of new acquisitions, lovers of crime fiction will be pleased that we have also recently added Alexander McCall Smith’s latest novel The Private Lives of Spies, Chris Hammer’s The Tilt, Garry Disher’s Day’s End, and four Anthony Horowitz detective novels: A line to kill; The twist of a knife; The Word is Murder; and The sentence is Death. You could put these, or any other books, on reserve by going to our website at maldonlibrary.org.au.

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To celebrate World Baking Day (May 21), we have ordered The Sourdough Loaf by John Downes. John, originally from Adelaide, via Melbourne and various other parts of the country, now lives locally. He is regarded by many as the guru of sourdough baking and the father of the Australian sourdough bread movement. He named the ‘casalinga’, now found in most sourdough bakeries. Many of us have on our shelves his Natural Tucker Bread Book, first published in 1983 and still in print. Having set up several iconic artisanal bakeries, John helped get the newly reopened Maldon Bakery started before handing over to a younger cohort of bakers. Remember his scrumptious Irish barmbrack fruit loaf? You’ll find the recipe in the The Sourdough Loaf along with over 40 other recipes for both beginners and experienced bakers. It’ll be in our Cooking Collection very soon. Fittingly, World Bee Day is also celebrated this week. ‘Fittingly’, because without bees there would be no flour and without flour, no bread. The day is held to remind us that we all depend on the survival of bees. The United Nations website (www.un.org) suggests that individuals can help by such things as planting a diverse set of native plants, which flower at different times of the year; avoiding pesticides, fungicides and herbicides in our gardens; by simply leaving a water bowl outside in dry times; and by helping to sustain forest ecosystems. You’ll find ideas to help your endeavours in our Gardening Collection. You might also look in Sustainability & Environment or Australian Flora & Fauna. 

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This week four of our volunteers share their thoughts on books and borrowing. Of all the books in the library, Judy’s favourite is Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, which she came across when reshelving books last year. She says, ‘I was unaware of the writer, an American novelist who won a Pulitzer Prize for Gilead. I have now read all her books and believe her to be one of the finest and important writers of our era’. Eirwen borrows biographies and novels, especially detective fiction and books by Australian women. Her favourite recently-borrowed book is La’s orchestra saves the world by Alexander McCall Smith, a historical novel set in WW2. Desiree, who mainly borrows detective novels but also biographies, history and travel tales, found it difficult to name a favourite as she has many. But she loved Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel, a story about the aftermath of a devastating pandemic. She assures us it isn’t as horrifying or depressing as she had feared it might be, in fact, she couldn’t put it down. Science fiction is Brenda’s preferred genre but if she had to choose a favourite book, it would have to be the non-fiction Diary of a Welsh Swagman, recording an itinerant worker’s time in this region. In May 1883 he noted that, ‘Nearly one third of the population of Maldon is affected by typhoid fever’. But, more happily in May 1886, ‘The Beehive Reefs … retrieved one piece of quartz which contained gold worth over £300’. How times change!

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Our Gardening Collection has been pruned! Gone is the dead wood of damaged, duplicate and redundant books. The collection is now grouped into categories to make it easier to find what you’re looking for. If you want something on gardening with native plants, go straight to the shelf labelled ‘Australian Natives’. If it’s a book about roses you’re after, you no longer need to trawl all the shelves, you’ll find it in ‘Roses and Specialty’ along with other ‘specialty’ books devoted to fuchsias or succulents, or hellebores. In ‘Sustainable Gardening’ you’ll find books on organic gardening, permaculture, soil biodiversity and companion planting. Joining that category this week is a new book, Sustainable garden (2022) by Marian Boswall which has ‘projects, insights and advice for the eco-conscious gardener’. Garden pests, diseases & good bugs (2015) by Denis Crawford joins the Pests & Diseases category. Pruning and Training (2017) by Bricknell and Joyce joins Pruning and Propagating. With a dozen different categories, including Garden Design and Gardening Memoirs, there’s something for every garden-lover. Come and check out the new look.

APRIL 2023

Recent purchases

The Bookbinder of Jericho (2023), Pip Walker’s second novel, is now available for borrowing. Readers who loved The Dictionary of Lost words will be delighted.

The Good Life: How to grow a better world (2021) by Hannah Moloney, a regular presenter on Gardening Australia, makes a terrific addition to our Environment and Sustainability section.

Recent donations

Our thanks go to some generous members who recently donated a number of high quality books. Here’s a small selection to whet your appetite:

The Ink Black Heart (2022) by Robert Galbraith (AKA J.K. Rowling); for lovers of crime fiction.

How to Kill Your Husband (2012) by Kathy Lette; a caustic and hilarious novel of marriage, murder and plot twists.

The Secrets of the Fire King (2007) by Kim Edwards; a collection of short stories by the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, also available in the library. 

When all is Said and Done (2020) by Neale Daniher; the inspiring memoir of a football great and his courage in the face of Motor Neurone Disease.

Fifteen Young Men: Australia’s untold football tragedy (2016) by Paul Kennedy tells the true story of a maritime tragedy off the Mornington Peninsula in 1892.

Killer Caldwell (2006) by Jeffrey Watson; the biography of a man acknowledged to be Australia’s greatest fighter pilot will appeal to those interested in military history. 

 

Recent work at the library coincides with two significant days commemorated this week: ANZAC Day and Earth Day. We began with a review of the Military Collection, which was put together many years ago for a particular borrowing audience. We selected the books most relevant to our current members and moved them into separate locations where they will be more accessible. Novels from the old collection are now rehoused with other works of fiction, and browsers in the Biography Section will now find gems such as The White Mouse, the autobiography of Australian nurse and journalist Nancy Wake who joined the French Resistance in WW2. Browsers of the non-fiction Animal Tales Section will come across the intriguingly named Bill the Bastard, Roland Perry’s true story of a war horse hero. A new Military History Section has been established alongside Australian History in the hall, where borrowers will also find a selection of military memoirs. This leads us to Earth Day because the shelves vacated by the old Military Collection now house the new Environment and Sustainability Collection with its range of books addressing one of the most pressing concerns of our time. Two new titles in this collection − Safer Gardens: Plant flammability and planning for fire by Lesley Corbett; and Futureproof Your Garden: Environmentally sustainable ways to grow more with less by Angus Stewart and Emma Stewart are reviewed this week. 

Scrabble Club

Well, well, would you believe it, there’s actually a National Scrabble Day in April each year? We asked some of our Saturday Morning Scrabble Club players what they like about it. Woody (11 years old) and his dad Paul are regulars. Woody says that the first time they played together Paul won so they kept coming back because he wanted beat to him (and serendipitously, the day we spoke to them, he did!). They like playing here because playing amongst others creates a nice atmosphere. Paul says that Scrabble is expanding Woody’s vocabulary, and avid-reader Woody likes it that every week, after a game or two, he borrows a book from the Young Adult section. Jill and her friend Cheryll-Lee are also regulars. For them, the game is fun, good exercise for the brain and also a good way to meet people. Jill says that when she first came she didn’t know how to play but others taught her and now she regularly gets high scores. Oh, and there’s snacks and tea or coffee available too.

Athenaeum Library

Newsletter

Dear Library Members,                                                      

The Maldon Athenaeum, your local community library, thanks you for your membership support throughout the last couple of years. We are slowly emerging and recovering from the impact of 2 years of COVID, which saw a sad 50% decline in library membership. However, we are gradually seeing the return of previous members and an increase of new members which is very heartening.

As an independent not-for-profit community library, membership subscriptions are our only primary source of income, unlike public libraries we do not receive any State or Federal Government funding or support. We must raise all our own income via membership subscriptions, fundraising, book sales, donations, and occasional grants. We are proud to say that we are self-sustaining and self-sufficient due to many years of good governance by past and present volunteer committees.

ANNUAL 2023 MEMBERSHIP SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE DUE NOW

To help us maintain this independent tradition we need our members to pay their 2023 annual subscriptions now, (they are due each January). The library has approximately 200-230 members of which only around 100 have paid their 2023 membership subscription for this year. If you are one of those who have paid, we thank you, if you have not yet paid, we humbly ask that you do so at your earliest convenience. You can now pay by EFT online via Bendigo Bank:

Acc. Name: Maldon Athenaeum Library

Acc. Number: BSB:633 000 Acc: 109 829 333

Please use your name to identify your deposit.

The annual membership fee is $30.

You can of course still pay in person at the library during opening hours.

The Athenaeum is a Registered Charity and Incorporated Association, all donations over $2 can be receipted for tax purposes.

As you may know the library has been operating in Maldon for 160 years. It has always been run and managed by local dedicated volunteers who between them give 30+ hours each week to support and maintain the library, without them Maldon would not have this unique and valuable service.

Thanks to the generous donations of books from locals, friends and members, the library has a collection of approximately 18,000 books including fiction, non-fiction, and a children’s section. The collection is under constant review by our cataloguing team, who assess, classify and review the collection ensuring it meets and reflects the diverse interests of our membership. New books are regularly purchased, and the entire collection can be viewed online via our website: www.maldonlibrary.org.au . Here you will see recently acquired titles, reviews and library news, books may also be reserved online.

The library loans an average of three thousand books a year, it has around 1200-1500 visits each year and a team of 25 wonderful volunteers who keep everything running ship-shape.

Maldon is very fortunate to have one of only 6 remaining independent community libraries in Victoria originally founded by the Mechanics Institute.

The Athenaeum library is an integral part of the living history of Maldon and its community, its collection is a part of our past, present, and future heritage. Some people say that they are not necessarily readers, or they already have a lot of their own books, and therefore do not need to become members, to these people we suggest that they might consider joining the library as a sponsor/friend, thereby supporting the continuity of a valued community service that would not otherwise be able to exist.

So, please renew your membership and encourage your friends and neighbours to join and support our Maldon Athenaeum library.

‘Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind,

 flight to the imagination, and life to everything.’

Attributed to Plato

With kind regards from the volunteers and management committee of the Maldon Athenaeum community library.

Tina Fratta, President

April 2023.

Dja Dja Wurrung Country

Easter Book Sale: Saturday & Monday mornings

Several stalls will be groaning under the weight of good quality, reasonably priced books outside the library on Saturday morning and again on Monday morning. This year, as well as novels and some children’s books, we have a large selection of gardening books, biographies and other non-fiction books. Our Easter Book Sale is always a popular event so don’t miss out, there’s sure to be a book or two that will appeal to you.

The library is closed on Good Friday but will be open for borrowing and browsing on both Saturday and Monday mornings at the same time as the book sales. Scrabble Club is on Saturday as usual.

MARCH 2023

Friday 31 March

We’re excited to announce that we’ve received a grant from the Mount Alexander Shire Council to enhance our Children’s Library and our facilities for babies, toddlers, younger people and carers. The children’s book collection is housed in a light-filled room with a carpeted floor and a large stain-glass window that has entranced many a child. Committee member Fiona, who took the lead on the grant application, says that with the funding we’ll add some snuggly places for small ones to sit while they read or listen to a story, and a comfy chair for an adult reading the story. There’ll be a toy box to keep the very small entertained while an older child chooses a book, and a change table in the library’s toilet for those times of need. Of course, we’ll also be building the book collection, particularly books aimed at 0−4 year olds, but across the whole age range too.

Library membership is free for children under 16 years, but a parent or other carer must be a member. So parents, grandparents, aunties, carers why not encourage a love of books and reading from an early age and bring your little one in to see what we’ve got? Read in or take away! 

Friday 24 March

Did you know we have an interesting range of DVDs available for borrowing? You can select from world movies both in English and subtitled, TV shows, documentaries and filmed versions of live theatre, musicals and operas. The original collection was first donated to the Maldon Golden Movies film group and was stored for a while at the house of MGM President Graham Pitts. Then he decided that the library was a better location for sharing the collection with the wider community and so it came to us. Over time more DVDs have been added but the original generous donation remains the core. Ross, who probably knows the collection better than anyone, recommends Fellini’s Intervisa about the magic of film making. Or you may be interested in the little-known film Till Human Voices Wake Us made in Maldon starring Guy Pearce and Helena Bonham Carter. Why not borrow one for World Theatre Day this week?

Wednesday 22 March

Did you know you can look for books in the library by checking our online catalogue at maldonlibrary.org.au? You can search by title, keyword, subject or author. Our library team did a keyword search recently to find books for World Water Day on March 22 and, in particular, to find books related to its theme of the sustainable management of fresh water resources. Our search revealed 65 books, most of them novels, with water as part of their title or content.

But the search also showed that we would find what we were looking for in our Environment and Sustainability Section and the Gardening Section. Talking Water: An Australian Guidebook for the 21st Century, commissioned by the Farmhand Foundation, looks at ‘the management of water, its source, its availability, its harvesting and the infrastructure needed to respond to the demands of both society and the environment’. The Gardening Section has four possibilities, including Correas: Australian Plants for Waterwise Gardens by Maria Hitchcock, a popular book that has been borrowed numerous times in the last few years. It takes the reader through the discovery of the genus by Joseph Banks, how to propagate correas, how to grow them and which birds they will attract to your garden (with illustrations by John Gould). Its largest section is devoted to the different types of correas, each one accompanied by a photograph, cultivation notes and a distribution map − including ‘Coliban River’ and ‘Inglewood Gold’ from our region.

Coincidently, while we were doing our search, a donation came in that fitted perfectly: The Waterwise Australian Native Garden by Angus Stewart and A.B. Bishop. With stunning photos, it focusses on garden design and plant selection for a more ‘reliable’ garden that is both practical and aesthetic. It’s a terrific new addition to the Gardening Section.

Monday 13 March

The library is closed on Monday 13 for the Labour Day Public Holiday which is now synonymous with Moomba, but was set up to celebrate the momentous achievement in 1856 of Victorian stonemasons who brought about the introduction of the eight-hour working day as part of the international union-led ‘eight-hour day’ movement ‘eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest’ was the slogan. Here at the library, we have been labouring away (but not for eight-hours a day) to get books ready for our garage sale stall, which was a great success. We’ve also made some headway in revamping the Hallway where we have set up a History and Geography section with Australian, World and Local subsections. The Cooking and Sport sections have had makeovers with displays to catch the eye as you come in the door. True Crimes, which was hiding on a bottom shelf in the Hallway, has moved into the Main Room where there are also three new sections: Indigenous and Reconciliation; Travel Tales and Animal Tales – all non-fictions. Ross is continuing to catalogue our rather impressive DVD collection, housed at the end of the Hallway, and Fiona is doing wonders with the children’s book collection and the Children’s Library Room itself. We’ll keep you posted. Talking of posting, our news and book reviews are now also being posted weekly on the website –http://maldonlibray.org.au – check it out!

BARGAIN BOOK SALE

Saturday 4 March: We’re participating in the Maldon Town-wide Garage Sale with several stalls outside the library. We’ll have some bric-a-brac but mostly we’ll have a range of good-quality fiction and non-fiction books for adults and children to appeal to a wide range of reading tastes. Be sure to come and check us out.  

Wednesday 8 March: We’re celebrating International Women’s Day with a display of books all written by or about women. To mark the occasion, we’re also reviewing two new books about remarkable Australian women, one who made her mark on this region in the last century and one who made her mark on the world very recently.

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MAY 2023

To celebrate World Baking Day (May 21), we have ordered The Sourdough Loaf by John Downes. John, originally from Adelaide, via Melbourne and various other parts of the country, now lives locally. He is regarded by many as the guru of sourdough baking and the father of the Australian sourdough bread movement. He named the ‘casalinga’, now found in most sourdough bakeries. Many of us have on our shelves his Natural Tucker Bread Book, first published in 1983 and still in print. Having set up several iconic artisanal bakeries, John helped get the newly reopened Maldon Bakery started before handing over to a younger cohort of bakers. Remember his scrumptious Irish barmbrack fruit loaf? You’ll find the recipe in the The Sourdough Loaf along with over 40 other recipes for both beginners and experienced bakers. It’ll be in our Cooking Collection very soon. Fittingly, World Bee Day is also celebrated this week. ‘Fittingly’, because without bees there would be no flour and without flour, no bread. The day is held to remind us that we all depend on the survival of bees. The United Nations website (www.un.org) suggests that individuals can help by such things as planting a diverse set of native plants, which flower at different times of the year; avoiding pesticides, fungicides and herbicides in our gardens; by simply leaving a water bowl outside in dry times; and by helping to sustain forest ecosystems. You’ll find ideas to help your endeavours in our Gardening Collection. You might also look in Sustainability & Environment or Australian Flora & Fauna. 

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This week four of our volunteers share their thoughts on books and borrowing. Of all the books in the library, Judy’s favourite is Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, which she came across when reshelving books last year. She says, ‘I was unaware of the writer, an American novelist who won a Pulitzer Prize for Gilead. I have now read all her books and believe her to be one of the finest and important writers of our era’. Eirwen borrows biographies and novels, especially detective fiction and books by Australian women. Her favourite recently-borrowed book is La’s orchestra saves the world by Alexander McCall Smith, a historical novel set in WW2. Desiree, who mainly borrows detective novels but also biographies, history and travel tales, found it difficult to name a favourite as she has many. But she loved Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel, a story about the aftermath of a devastating pandemic. She assures us it isn’t as horrifying or depressing as she had feared it might be, in fact, she couldn’t put it down. Science fiction is Brenda’s preferred genre but if she had to choose a favourite book, it would have to be the non-fiction Diary of a Welsh Swagman, recording an itinerant worker’s time in this region. In May 1883 he noted that, ‘Nearly one third of the population of Maldon is affected by typhoid fever’. But, more happily in May 1886, ‘The Beehive Reefs … retrieved one piece of quartz which contained gold worth over £300’. How times change!

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Our Gardening Collection has been pruned! Gone is the dead wood of damaged, duplicate and redundant books. The collection is now grouped into categories to make it easier to find what you’re looking for. If you want something on gardening with native plants, go straight to the shelf labelled ‘Australian Natives’. If it’s a book about roses you’re after, you no longer need to trawl all the shelves, you’ll find it in ‘Roses and Specialty’ along with other ‘specialty’ books devoted to fuchsias or succulents, or hellebores. In ‘Sustainable Gardening’ you’ll find books on organic gardening, permaculture, soil biodiversity and companion planting. Joining that category this week is a new book, Sustainable garden (2022) by Marian Boswall which has ‘projects, insights and advice for the eco-conscious gardener’. Garden pests, diseases & good bugs (2015) by Denis Crawford joins the Pests & Diseases category. Pruning and Training (2017) by Bricknell and Joyce joins Pruning and Propagating. With a dozen different categories, including Garden Design and Gardening Memoirs, there’s something for every garden-lover. Come and check out the new look.

APRIL 2023

Recent purchases

The Bookbinder of Jericho (2023), Pip Walker’s second novel, is now available for borrowing. Readers who loved The Dictionary of Lost words will be delighted.

The Good Life: How to grow a better world (2021) by Hannah Moloney, a regular presenter on Gardening Australia, makes a terrific addition to our Environment and Sustainability section.

Recent donations

Our thanks go to some generous members who recently donated a number of high quality books. Here’s a small selection to whet your appetite:

The Ink Black Heart (2022) by Robert Galbraith (AKA J.K. Rowling); for lovers of crime fiction.

How to Kill Your Husband (2012) by Kathy Lette; a caustic and hilarious novel of marriage, murder and plot twists.

The Secrets of the Fire King (2007) by Kim Edwards; a collection of short stories by the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, also available in the library. 

When all is Said and Done (2020) by Neale Daniher; the inspiring memoir of a football great and his courage in the face of Motor Neurone Disease.

Fifteen Young Men: Australia’s untold football tragedy (2016) by Paul Kennedy tells the true story of a maritime tragedy off the Mornington Peninsula in 1892.

Killer Caldwell (2006) by Jeffrey Watson; the biography of a man acknowledged to be Australia’s greatest fighter pilot will appeal to those interested in military history. 

 

Recent work at the library coincides with two significant days commemorated this week: ANZAC Day and Earth Day. We began with a review of the Military Collection, which was put together many years ago for a particular borrowing audience. We selected the books most relevant to our current members and moved them into separate locations where they will be more accessible. Novels from the old collection are now rehoused with other works of fiction, and browsers in the Biography Section will now find gems such as The White Mouse, the autobiography of Australian nurse and journalist Nancy Wake who joined the French Resistance in WW2. Browsers of the non-fiction Animal Tales Section will come across the intriguingly named Bill the Bastard, Roland Perry’s true story of a war horse hero. A new Military History Section has been established alongside Australian History in the hall, where borrowers will also find a selection of military memoirs. This leads us to Earth Day because the shelves vacated by the old Military Collection now house the new Environment and Sustainability Collection with its range of books addressing one of the most pressing concerns of our time. Two new titles in this collection − Safer Gardens: Plant flammability and planning for fire by Lesley Corbett; and Futureproof Your Garden: Environmentally sustainable ways to grow more with less by Angus Stewart and Emma Stewart are reviewed this week. 

Scrabble Club

Well, well, would you believe it, there’s actually a National Scrabble Day in April each year? We asked some of our Saturday Morning Scrabble Club players what they like about it. Woody (11 years old) and his dad Paul are regulars. Woody says that the first time they played together Paul won so they kept coming back because he wanted beat to him (and serendipitously, the day we spoke to them, he did!). They like playing here because playing amongst others creates a nice atmosphere. Paul says that Scrabble is expanding Woody’s vocabulary, and avid-reader Woody likes it that every week, after a game or two, he borrows a book from the Young Adult section. Jill and her friend Cheryll-Lee are also regulars. For them, the game is fun, good exercise for the brain and also a good way to meet people. Jill says that when she first came she didn’t know how to play but others taught her and now she regularly gets high scores. Oh, and there’s snacks and tea or coffee available too.

Athenaeum Library

Newsletter

Dear Library Members,                                                      

The Maldon Athenaeum, your local community library, thanks you for your membership support throughout the last couple of years. We are slowly emerging and recovering from the impact of 2 years of COVID, which saw a sad 50% decline in library membership. However, we are gradually seeing the return of previous members and an increase of new members which is very heartening.

As an independent not-for-profit community library, membership subscriptions are our only primary source of income, unlike public libraries we do not receive any State or Federal Government funding or support. We must raise all our own income via membership subscriptions, fundraising, book sales, donations, and occasional grants. We are proud to say that we are self-sustaining and self-sufficient due to many years of good governance by past and present volunteer committees.

ANNUAL 2023 MEMBERSHIP SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE DUE NOW

To help us maintain this independent tradition we need our members to pay their 2023 annual subscriptions now, (they are due each January). The library has approximately 200-230 members of which only around 100 have paid their 2023 membership subscription for this year. If you are one of those who have paid, we thank you, if you have not yet paid, we humbly ask that you do so at your earliest convenience. You can now pay by EFT online via Bendigo Bank:

Acc. Name: Maldon Athenaeum Library

Acc. Number: BSB:633 000 Acc: 109 829 333

Please use your name to identify your deposit.

The annual membership fee is $30.

You can of course still pay in person at the library during opening hours.

The Athenaeum is a Registered Charity and Incorporated Association, all donations over $2 can be receipted for tax purposes.

As you may know the library has been operating in Maldon for 160 years. It has always been run and managed by local dedicated volunteers who between them give 30+ hours each week to support and maintain the library, without them Maldon would not have this unique and valuable service.

Thanks to the generous donations of books from locals, friends and members, the library has a collection of approximately 18,000 books including fiction, non-fiction, and a children’s section. The collection is under constant review by our cataloguing team, who assess, classify and review the collection ensuring it meets and reflects the diverse interests of our membership. New books are regularly purchased, and the entire collection can be viewed online via our website: www.maldonlibrary.org.au . Here you will see recently acquired titles, reviews and library news, books may also be reserved online.

The library loans an average of three thousand books a year, it has around 1200-1500 visits each year and a team of 25 wonderful volunteers who keep everything running ship-shape.

Maldon is very fortunate to have one of only 6 remaining independent community libraries in Victoria originally founded by the Mechanics Institute.

The Athenaeum library is an integral part of the living history of Maldon and its community, its collection is a part of our past, present, and future heritage. Some people say that they are not necessarily readers, or they already have a lot of their own books, and therefore do not need to become members, to these people we suggest that they might consider joining the library as a sponsor/friend, thereby supporting the continuity of a valued community service that would not otherwise be able to exist.

So, please renew your membership and encourage your friends and neighbours to join and support our Maldon Athenaeum library.

‘Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind,

 flight to the imagination, and life to everything.’

Attributed to Plato

With kind regards from the volunteers and management committee of the Maldon Athenaeum community library.

Tina Fratta, President

April 2023.

Dja Dja Wurrung Country

Easter Book Sale: Saturday & Monday mornings

Several stalls will be groaning under the weight of good quality, reasonably priced books outside the library on Saturday morning and again on Monday morning. This year, as well as novels and some children’s books, we have a large selection of gardening books, biographies and other non-fiction books. Our Easter Book Sale is always a popular event so don’t miss out, there’s sure to be a book or two that will appeal to you.

The library is closed on Good Friday but will be open for borrowing and browsing on both Saturday and Monday mornings at the same time as the book sales. Scrabble Club is on Saturday as usual.

MARCH 2023

Friday 31 March

We’re excited to announce that we’ve received a grant from the Mount Alexander Shire Council to enhance our Children’s Library and our facilities for babies, toddlers, younger people and carers. The children’s book collection is housed in a light-filled room with a carpeted floor and a large stain-glass window that has entranced many a child. Committee member Fiona, who took the lead on the grant application, says that with the funding we’ll add some snuggly places for small ones to sit while they read or listen to a story, and a comfy chair for an adult reading the story. There’ll be a toy box to keep the very small entertained while an older child chooses a book, and a change table in the library’s toilet for those times of need. Of course, we’ll also be building the book collection, particularly books aimed at 0−4 year olds, but across the whole age range too.

Library membership is free for children under 16 years, but a parent or other carer must be a member. So parents, grandparents, aunties, carers why not encourage a love of books and reading from an early age and bring your little one in to see what we’ve got? Read in or take away! 

Friday 24 March

Did you know we have an interesting range of DVDs available for borrowing? You can select from world movies both in English and subtitled, TV shows, documentaries and filmed versions of live theatre, musicals and operas. The original collection was first donated to the Maldon Golden Movies film group and was stored for a while at the house of MGM President Graham Pitts. Then he decided that the library was a better location for sharing the collection with the wider community and so it came to us. Over time more DVDs have been added but the original generous donation remains the core. Ross, who probably knows the collection better than anyone, recommends Fellini’s Intervisa about the magic of film making. Or you may be interested in the little-known film Till Human Voices Wake Us made in Maldon starring Guy Pearce and Helena Bonham Carter. Why not borrow one for World Theatre Day this week?

Wednesday 22 March

Did you know you can look for books in the library by checking our online catalogue at maldonlibrary.org.au? You can search by title, keyword, subject or author. Our library team did a keyword search recently to find books for World Water Day on March 22 and, in particular, to find books related to its theme of the sustainable management of fresh water resources. Our search revealed 65 books, most of them novels, with water as part of their title or content.

But the search also showed that we would find what we were looking for in our Environment and Sustainability Section and the Gardening Section. Talking Water: An Australian Guidebook for the 21st Century, commissioned by the Farmhand Foundation, looks at ‘the management of water, its source, its availability, its harvesting and the infrastructure needed to respond to the demands of both society and the environment’. The Gardening Section has four possibilities, including Correas: Australian Plants for Waterwise Gardens by Maria Hitchcock, a popular book that has been borrowed numerous times in the last few years. It takes the reader through the discovery of the genus by Joseph Banks, how to propagate correas, how to grow them and which birds they will attract to your garden (with illustrations by John Gould). Its largest section is devoted to the different types of correas, each one accompanied by a photograph, cultivation notes and a distribution map − including ‘Coliban River’ and ‘Inglewood Gold’ from our region.

Coincidently, while we were doing our search, a donation came in that fitted perfectly: The Waterwise Australian Native Garden by Angus Stewart and A.B. Bishop. With stunning photos, it focusses on garden design and plant selection for a more ‘reliable’ garden that is both practical and aesthetic. It’s a terrific new addition to the Gardening Section.

Monday 13 March

The library is closed on Monday 13 for the Labour Day Public Holiday which is now synonymous with Moomba, but was set up to celebrate the momentous achievement in 1856 of Victorian stonemasons who brought about the introduction of the eight-hour working day as part of the international union-led ‘eight-hour day’ movement ‘eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest’ was the slogan. Here at the library, we have been labouring away (but not for eight-hours a day) to get books ready for our garage sale stall, which was a great success. We’ve also made some headway in revamping the Hallway where we have set up a History and Geography section with Australian, World and Local subsections. The Cooking and Sport sections have had makeovers with displays to catch the eye as you come in the door. True Crimes, which was hiding on a bottom shelf in the Hallway, has moved into the Main Room where there are also three new sections: Indigenous and Reconciliation; Travel Tales and Animal Tales – all non-fictions. Ross is continuing to catalogue our rather impressive DVD collection, housed at the end of the Hallway, and Fiona is doing wonders with the children’s book collection and the Children’s Library Room itself. We’ll keep you posted. Talking of posting, our news and book reviews are now also being posted weekly on the website –http://maldonlibray.org.au – check it out!

BARGAIN BOOK SALE

Saturday 4 March: We’re participating in the Maldon Town-wide Garage Sale with several stalls outside the library. We’ll have some bric-a-brac but mostly we’ll have a range of good-quality fiction and non-fiction books for adults and children to appeal to a wide range of reading tastes. Be sure to come and check us out.  

Wednesday 8 March: We’re celebrating International Women’s Day with a display of books all written by or about women. To mark the occasion, we’re also reviewing two new books about remarkable Australian women, one who made her mark on this region in the last century and one who made her mark on the world very recently.

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FEBRUARY NEWS 2023

BARGAIN BOOK SALE

THIS SATURDAY MARCH 4TH

MALDON ATHENAEUM LIBRARY

9AM TO 2PM

A HUGE RANGE OF GREAT BOOKS FOR SALE

FICTION, NON-FICTION, AND KID’S BOOKS

ALL BOOKS $3 OR 2 FOR $5

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Our new non-fiction section ‘Indigenous and Reconciliation’ is now set up in the Main Room for browsing and borrowing.

The Reconciliation Australia website, www.reconciliation.org.au, describes reconciliation as a involving all Australians, both indigenous and non-indigenous, in understanding and valuing each other’s cultures, rights and experiences and accepting our nation’s history. Our collection aims to contribute to this process through a diverse range of non-fiction genres by both indigenous and non-indigenous authors. For example, historian Henry Reynold’s book Truth Telling: History, Sovereignty and the Uluru Statement examines the legal and historical assumptions underpinning white settlement and sovereignty. Indigenous politician and Yawuru elder, Pat Dodson, described it as allowing ‘Australians to build a better more truthful Australia’. Closer to home, historian Bain Attwood’s The Good Country looks specifically at encounters between the Djadja Wurrung and white settlers, administrators and miners in our region. Memoirs such as Riding the Black Cockatoo by John Danalis and Wandering Girl by Glenyse Ward shine a light, in very different ways and from very different perspectives, on both history and culture. Browsers will also find books about Aboriginal myth, story and art as well as biographies of prominent indigenous people from Truganini, survivor of the Tasmanian massacres, to the recently departed Uncle Jack Charles.  This diverse collection is in its fledgling stages. We welcome suggestions or donations of books to enhance it.

 

AUGUST NEWS 2022

August 22nd to 27th is Children’s Book Week and the library is celebrating with a bumper BOOK SALE of children’s books. Come in and have a browse, lots to choose from.

SCRABBLE CLUB at the library starting Saturday September 2nd from 11am – 2pm. All welcome, tea, coffee and nibbles, gold coin donation.

Welcome to our news section. Over time we will be adding events and activities that we hope will be of interest to our library members and to the local community.

Today, July 10 2022  is the launch of our updated website where, for the first time you will be able to view the entire library collection online and make a book reservation via the internet. This will allow members to view our collection at their  leisure from home and choose from around 20,000 books covering many topicsi

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