Hallowed Ground

Last Monday night found me chairing a panel at Sydney’s stunning Customs House Library. The event, Hallowed Ground: the future of the story book, was arranged by the Cty of Sydney Libraries, part of the Art and About Festival and partnered by ALIA (Australian Library and Information Association, Sydney). On the panel was my long time friend Heather Curdie who is now Senior Editor at Penguin books but in our previous lives we both had the most fantastic time when we worked together at Taronga Zoo. Speaking as well was Alex McDonald from We are Wheelbarrow (the wonderful crew who created Nick Bland‘s app for the Very Hungry Bear), and also Judith Ridge who I also have known for a long time. This night was focussed on Picture Books and how they are evolving in the traditional format as well as the digital creations and how the picture book is affecting the way kids interact with books.

It was terrific chairing the panel, introducing the panelists, directing the discussion and being able to intersperse the discussion with my thoughts. Some of the things we discussed included the evolution of the picture book;  the physical attachment and engagement that happens with both traditionally and digitally published books; the differing levels of engagement; the re-imagining off the paper picture book for the digital picture book; the possibilities with digitally created picture books; and the actions that are required to manipulate a digital book need to be appropriate for the age of the user/reader. And of course, the critical talking point included the fact that it really deosn’t matter what format the book is in because that adage is true – content is key. Lots of discussion and we even squeezed in a few questions from the audience. Of course one hour was way to short for such a fun event! We could have gone on for hours and hours!

Great to see David Legge and Ian Maclean attend the gathering as well. Thanks to the library crew who asked me to chair the event, Ali, Ellen and Beth, (it’s always fun doing events with the CofS crew) and to Kirsti from ALIA.

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