Going 'Beyond Books': How the SJ Library Service is building community connection

Published on Tuesday, 22 February 2022 at 4:01:00 PM

Have you visited the Serpentine Jarrahdale Library Service lately? If not, you might be surprised in what you find.

Most people could be forgiven for thinking libraries are still just a house of reading, with books piling over shelves to no end.

But the SJ Library Service couldn’t be any further from that outdated stereotype – in fact, it goes far “Beyond Books”.

The Library is a community hub, and has been providing a variety of programs that cater to many different interests and age groups for 50 years.

Read the stories of local residents below who have found a connection with the Serpentine Jarrahdale Library Service, which goes #BeyondBooks.

Love of LEGO leads to family bonding

For 50 years, the Serpentine Jarrahdale Library Service has been providing fun and entertainment for all ages and interests, including our local LEGO builders.

Brent Cornell and his children Bryce (10), Summer (9) and William (5) have been building relationships at the Mundijong Public Library for years now – literally!

The family have been attending the Library’s monthly LEGO Club program since oldest child Bryce was just 4 years old, originally getting involved for a “bit of fun for the kids”.

“We first signed up just because it looked like something the kids would enjoy, but over the course we’ve really noticed how the kids have grown from it,” Brent said.

“The motor skills you can build off these sorts of activities are great, but more so the communication and relationship building they’ve made just off interacting with other kids is really important – they’ve made a lot of young friends there.”

Brent noted the helpfulness of the Library staff, and encouraged other young families to get involved in the program.

If your children would like to share their LEGO creations with like-minded children, join us at LEGO Club every second Saturday of each month at 9.30am. Suitable for ages 5+, no bookings required. 

#beyondbooks #sjlibrary #50years

Scavenger hunts and home-school support

For 50 years, the Serpentine Jarrahdale Library Service has been the place to go for many teachers and students, including local home-schooling family, Donna Black and her children.

Donna and her children can often be found at the Library using the public workspaces and computers to study.

Having these easily accessible resources at hand has been a great support to her children’s education, Donna said.

“We are a home-schooling family who use the library for educational purposes as well as to support our love of reading,” Donna said.

The family first discovered the Library through a Book Trail Scavenger Hunt more than 12 years ago, and now often attend other special events with a fondness for author talks.

“We love the friendly staff that always cater for our needs,” Donna said.

“Over the years they have been very attuned to what our family needs as a library user and have often identified different resources to support our learning journey.”

Whether it’s the latest book your chasing or information for your next research assignment, the Serpentine Jarrahdale Library Service could hold the answer!

Visit us at 10 Paterson Street, Mundijong or online at >>sjshire.wa.gov.au/community/library

#beyondbooks #sjlibrary #50years

Book club connects reading lovers to share their passion

For 50 years, the Serpentine Jarrahdale Library Service has welcomed hundreds of book worms, including avid reader Kay Williamson.

The SJ local powers her way through around 14 books every month and has been doing so since a young age.

It’s a passion that’s flourished into a lifestyle, but it’s also a passion best shared with peers.

In yet another example of how the SJ Library Service goes “beyond books”, Kay has found great joy in being an active participant of the Random Reads Book Club.

While the group is founded through each individual’s love for reading, it’s the connections made by sharing a common interest that have Kay looking forward to each and every session.

“I really enjoy the open discussion and hearing everyone’s thoughts on what they’ve been reading, even if it’s a book I wouldn’t usually pick up,” she said.

“To be able to have that face-to-face interaction in the SJ community is really nice.

“I think it’s a great example of how local libraries help connect people and how important they are to the community.”

If you would like to share your love of reading with others, why not join the Random Reads Book Club? The group meets at 5.30pm on the first Tuesday of every month at Mundijong Public Library.

#beyondbooks #sjlibrary #50years

Library helps Josie explore her creative side

For 50 years, the Serpentine Jarrahdale Library Service has helped local residents show off their creative side as well as a place to learn new and practical skills.

It only takes a quick drive around the Shire to see the region is full of quirky DIY projects, and perhaps that’s why the Library’s SJ Creators program continues to be a popular monthly event.

The program offers a place for those with a common interest in arts and crafts activities to come together and learn new skills.

SJ local Josie Cudmore is one of those creatives.

Josie has attended many different SJ Creators sessions where she has learnt several new talents, including how to finger-knit and how to crochet.

The mother-of-four said she enjoys finding time to attend the sessions.

“I’ve always liked anything crafty so to have these local sessions to go to is fantastic. They’re always well organised and the staff are friendly and helpful,” Josie said.

“It can be hard to find time to fit them in when you’ve got four kids, but I try to go whenever I can because it’s nice to meet like-minded people who also enjoy the sessions.”

If you would like to learn a new and practical skill every month and would like to connect with like-minded people, join SJ Creators, held on the third Wednesday of each month at Mundijong Public Library.

#beyondbooks #sjlibrary #50years

You’ve got an SJ Library Friend in me

The connections the SJ Library Service builds in our community would not be possible without the help of the Serpentine Jarrahdale Library Friends organisation.

Established in 2010, the SJ Library Friends was formed by an independent group who enjoyed the library so much they wanted to help it develop stronger bonds throughout the community.

The group has since become a phenomenal help to the Library and its staff.

They raise vital funds through their monthly second-hand book sales while also pitching in at many of the Library’s events.

SJ Library Friends also help to arrange guest authors for the Library, manage free “street libraries” throughout the Shire and were a key part in helping the service to be recognised as WA’s Favourite Library in 2014.

But perhaps most importantly, their passion for the Library helps to raise vital awareness in our community.

“Our mission is to raise awareness of the library service and encourage members of the community to make full use of all the library has to offer,” SJ Library Friends president Jan Johnson said.

“We also do volunteering in the library with shelving, helping with school holiday programmes, community history and helping with Books on Wheels.”

Jan has been a committee member of the SJ Library Friends since 2011, including spending the past two years as President.

“A library isn't just about borrowing books but a library is a community hub for people to meet and enjoy the many aspects of the library,” she said. 

“The staff are amazing and every one of them is dedicated to the library service and to the community members who access the library.”

You can find out more about the SJ Library Friends on their Facebook page.

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