Holiday reading

Borrowing from local libraries that aren’t your own?  Rural Libraries Queensland Tourist Card users tell us what they think of the service……

The Australia Council’s Arts in Daily Life – Australian Participation in the Arts survey found that, ‘Literature remains the most popular artform for Australians and 87 percent of people read some kind of literary work in the 12 months before the survey.’

It seems obvious that we would continue this engagement with literature while on holidays or travelling.  The sharing economy has been embraced by libraries for some time and recently this embrace has been extended to Queensland tourists seeking to use library services and collections.

Judy Coulthard of Douglas Libraries discussed the Rural Libraries Queensland (RLQ) Tourist Card, a partnership between local governments and the State Library of Queensland.  Available in 67 rural libraries the RLQ Tourist Card enables its user to borrow books and other items while traveling in and around Queensland.

Over 860 individual cards have been issued since the inception of the service, resulting in more than 4,500 loans of print and electronic resources. At less than 30 cents per card the total direct cost of the service to date is less than $300, with the minimal administrative overheads absorbed into existing operational activities. With more tourist members using the eresources available, particularly the emagazine platform, the on-going cost of offering the service is minimal.

Here is what some of the travelling card users think about the service…….

Lisa and Jake are from Sydney NSW. Lisa says:

We have travelled around Australia, via Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, finally visiting Queensland. On our first visit to Mossman Library we let the staff know that we were only stopping for a while in Mossman on our way home to Sydney. The Librarian then informed us of the facilities available. Within an hour of visiting the library we were signed up with our tourist card, advised of the ability for us to borrow and use the computer an hour for free each visit. The best part was it is available in 67 libraries throughout Queensland. My son and I have visited libraries throughout Australia at least 1 a week. We have never been offered a tourist card to borrow books or DVDs etc. Infact we are only allowed to use/read books in the library, “Not Allowed To Borrow AT ALL!” Thankyou Mossman and Queensland for setting up such a wonderful system and thank you to the fantastic staff at Mossman Library for bringing it to our attention and allowing my family to keep on reading throughout our travels.

Carol is from the Lake Macquarie area of NSW and says:

I come up to Newell Beach each winter and stay for about 4 months. I really appreciate the opening up of the library services to tourists as I am a prolific reader and books are my passion. Maybe the library system will reward returning tourist members with being able to reserve books in the future.

Jack from Sydney, NSW says:

I’m visiting from Sydney and staying until the end of October. The tourist card allows me a great opportunity to learn on a low budget about a wide range of subjects from gardening and sustainable living to glow in the dark fungi. The tourist card has contributed greatly to my visit giving me access to knowledge quickly and easily.

Steve travelling with Fiona and their son Angus from Tasmania says:

Having a four year old who consumes many books a day it is impossible to carry books during holidays. For our family the tourist card concept and service provided was exceptional. The variety of children’s books at such a small facility was exceptional. We have been borrowing children’s books and children’s audio books. The tourist card has contributed very much to our holiday experience and would be a significant factor in returning to holiday in Queensland.

Have you used library services while travelling away from home?  Are there other ways in which cultural institutions could be catering for tourists?  Please share your thoughts in the comments box.

This article was originally published on the Arts Queensland, Arts for all Queenslanders blog.

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