September 5, 2019
As a child, I fondly remember participating in read-a-thons and looking forward to specially designated times my school teachers would set aside for free reading. That's why I was excited to learn about Australian Reading Hour, a nationally celebrated event, where all Australians are encouraged to set aside one hour for reading. The event was first held in 2012, and each year, it has gained more participation and sponsorship, allowing for better outreach to communities where literacy rates are lowest. This year, libraries and readers all over Australia are looking forward to Australian Reading Hour on September 19, 2019.
The goals of the program, as stated on their website: "We want Australians to either rediscover or introduce themselves to the benefits of reading. Take time to learn, escape and relax."
That's an important message for all ages. By setting aside time for reading, kids learn that it's a habit worth developing. And so often, adults feel too stressed and over-scheduled to allow themselves the luxury of free reading time. Australian Reading Hour gives everyone permission to do just that.
There are over 100 events happening in libraries all over Australia, including author visits, and even silent reading parties. Are you one of those libraries? LibraryAware customers have access to customizable templates, such as flyers, widgets, and social media posts, to advertise your event.
Australian Reading Hour chooses ambassadors each year who are sent out to libraries to promote the event, and who each create an affordable book in honor of the event. This year, there are seven ambassadors. Five specialize in youth literature: Mick Elliott, Anthony Field, Karen Manbulloo, Sally Rippin, and Matt Stanton. For the first time, two adult ambassadors, Rachael Johns, and Benjamin Law were also chosen. If you’re looking for more information about these authors, they can all be found in NoveList, as well as many other Australian authors. We’ve got some tips for searching for them, including finding Aboriginal authors specifically. Learn more about field code searching here, or watch this video.
Even if you aren't Australian, why not join in the fun by trying an Australian title on September 19, 2019 (or any day)? Some of my personal favorites for kids and teens include:
You can search for Australian fiction: AY Australia and use the Refine Results tab to see the age ranges and qualities you enjoy. If you would prefer more recommendations, we have some great lists and articles you can use from genre-based picks to annotated lists with a focus on social justice or up-and-coming authors. Search: GX Australia* and click on the Lists & Articles tab.
More searches you may love: AC Aboriginal Australian will search for books by Aboriginal authors.
Knowing about and supporting events such as Australian Reading Hour can serve as a good reminder to set aside time for reading, and maybe even inspire us to read a new author from another part of the world.
Are you an Australian fiction advocate or librarian who loves to write? We are always looking for new voices.
Lindsey Dunn is a Readers' Advisory Librarian at NoveList.