Thinking outside the box: State Library launches Australia’s first Ideas Box in Mapoon

State Library of Queensland today launched Australia’s first Ideas Box in the remote community of Mapoon, enabling access to technology, and creative and learning opportunities.

The Ideas Box is a revolutionary, portable media centre conceived by international NGO Libraries Without Borders (Bibliothèques Sans Frontières), to provide vulnerable and isolated populations access to books, technology, and information.

Designed by renowned French designer Philippe Starck, the Ideas Box fits on two pallets, is a robust library in a box, can be tailored to different communities, and can be installed in less than 30 minutes in any environment, so long as there is a roof and 100 square metres floor space.

Minister for Science and Innovation Leeanne Enoch said the Ideas Box presented the opportunity for the 350 people living in Mapoon to experience a state-of-the-art library service.

“Libraries play an important role in communities today, and are often used as community hubs for creative opportunities and skills development,” Ms Enoch said.

“The Ideas Box will provide a place where community members can come together for social activities, to pursue personal interests and continue on their path of lifelong learning,” she said.

State Librarian Janette Wright said this was the first time an Ideas Box had been deployed in the southern hemisphere.

“State Library is committed to enhancing Queenslanders’ access to information, resources and programs that inspire learning, creativity, curiosity and innovation, in partnership with over 325 public libraries and 25 Indigenous Knowledge Centres,” Ms Wright said.

“Remote communities like Mapoon face unique challenges, and it can be difficult for them to access new technology, cultural and learning resources and opportunities, that many Queenslanders take for granted.

“State Library has been working closely with Libraries Without Borders, Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council, Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council, and State Library of Western Australia to introduce the first Ideas Box in Australia, to give these communities currently without an Indigenous Knowledge Centre an opportunity to experience state-of-the-art library services,” she said.

Libraries Without Borders Chairman Patrick Weil said each Ideas Box unfolds to create a customised library and media centre, with internet access and its own power source. It includes a library module, an IT module with internet connection, a cinema module, and administration module, as well as contents such as tablet devices, books and games that have been selected in consultation with the Mapoon community.

“The Ideas Box is a remarkable toolbox that empowers children and adults alike to pave foundations for a self-reliant future,” Mr Weil said.

The Ideas Box will remain in Mapoon for six months, and will then be relocated to the Kowanyama community for six months. The program will also be rolled-out to remote Indigenous communities in Western Australia in 2016.

Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council Mayor, Peter Guivarra, said he was thrilled that the Mapoon community will be host to the first Ideas Box in Australia.

“Through the implementation of the Ideas Box, the Council is aiming to: create a culture of learning in the community; engage our young people in a style of learning that suits them; and provide wider community access for skills development,” Mr Guivarra said.

“The employment of a local Ideas Box Coordinator will help us ensure this social legacy lives on, long after the Ideas Box moves on.

“The collection of books selected by the community for the Ideas Box will stay with the community after the Ideas Box leaves Mapoon, along with the learning and knowledge gained from the Ideas Box which will assist Council in transitioning to ongoing library services,” he said.

The Ideas Box rollout in Australia is being led by State Library of Queensland in partnership with Libraries Without Borders (Bibliothèques Sans Frontières), Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council and Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council, and with the support of the Puma Energy Foundation, Tim Fairfax Family Foundation and Queensland Library Foundation.

For more information about the Ideas Box see

Interview opportunities

State Library of Queensland
Director Regional Access and Public Libraries
Ross Duncan

Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council
Peter Guivarra

Libraries Without Borders
Ideas Box International Program Manager
Pierre Chevalier

Images available upon request.

Media enquiries

Stephanie Birch, SLQ Communications
07 3840 7784 |

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