Valuable tips on how to get the most out of the Gold Coast Library

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Answers from Elena Ornig

The Gold Coast Writers Association encourages and supports writers.

Gold Coast Writers Association Meeting

At the Gold Coast Writers Association meeting in November, one of the most exciting guest speakers– Timothy Ferguson shared some valuable tips on how to get the most out of the Gold Coast Library which has 13 branches and a mobile library service.

Right at the beginning he stated: “If there is a book you want to read and you don’t want to buy it – ask us to buy it! Most of the purchases by the library are now done mechanically. Save money and get us to buy the book and then you can borrow it.”

We learnt that in the reference section, the library now has ‘The Australian writer’s marketplace: every contact you will ever need to succeed in the writing business’ (ISSN 1448-5699) which is a fantastic book for any writer. Instead of browsing through the web and searching for the publishers, editors or Australian literary agents, writers can find these contacts in one single book. In addition, a great amount of priceless information, tips and hints is also included. The physical version is there for us to use and the electronic version will hopefully be purchased very soon.

The Gold Coast Library now has the UK’s bestselling magazine ‘Writing Magazine’ which covers every genre and provides a lot of information about writing and the publishing industry.

According to Timothy Ferguson, 97% of all resources can be viewed online.

One specific resource which Timothy Ferguson found helpful for writing his books is audiobooks. He discovered that audiobooks are helping him to overcome ‘writers block’.  He believes that ‘writers block’ occurs when a writer doesn’t read enough and therefore doesn’t have enough material. The Gold Coast Library now has a great range of audiobooks that can be downloaded online on many different devices. He downloads audiobooks on his mobile phone, which enables him to listen to these audiobooks while he is driving, washing the dishes, mowing the grass, vacuuming, playing computer games, writing other things or watching television.

On the Cold Coast Library website we can find a few sources with many audiobook titles. One source comes from OverDrive which is a full-service digital distributor of eBooks, audiobooks, music and video worldwide and OverDrive has supplied our libraries with about 10,000 different titles. The other main source is Bolinda which is the Largest Online Audio Bookstore in the Southern hemisphere. Timothy Ferguson also listens to free public domain audiobooks from LibriVox which is a community group of volunteers of which he is a member. This community group has recorded about 6,000 books and Timothy believes that this is a brilliant source for any writer. The LibriVox catalog also includes many interesting non-fiction books.

Timothy Ferguson gave us a great example of how many books we can listen to during just one week. He works six days per week. He spends an hour a day driving to and from work. Therefore he listens to audiobooks for at least six hours per week which means that he is able to get through one book every two weeks. Because he also listens to downloaded audiobooks during different activities – he is able to consume about 104 audiobooks per year. “As a writer to writers – that is the big trick I would suggest to you – listen to audiobooks” concluded Timothy.

The other great thing is that our libraries are now offering free training. This can be organized for a group of people who are looking for the same training by simply contacting the local librarians who will organize and even write the training session for the group. They also have many training sessions, events and activities which any of us can attend by signing-in online or by visiting local branches.

“Next year we will have massive open online courses (MOOC) from different universities. Universities all over the world are experimenting with a new format where a lecturer, on a regular basis, places video-lectures online. These lecturers can be viewed, learnt from and discussed with others. One that I am doing at the moment is The Future Of Storytelling.  It is a series of video material, lessons, interviews and tasks on how to structure stories for radio, television, theater or games and so on” Timothy explained with passion.

Timothy Ferguson

One more, well-established online learning platform that some of the librarians are using to study online, is called Coursera. It has free online classes from more than 80 universities and organizations and the Gold Coast Library may support this platform next year. However, right now we can use it by simply signing-in online. Some of these courses are accredited but the majority are not but as a free source to gain knowledge and improve different skills – Coursera is simply brilliant.

The Gold Coast Library has already set up academic and non-academic training online, online typing tutor for touch-typing, learning new language courses, The Computer School and a few other free education online courses.

Timothy Ferguson also explained why so many universities or organizations are providing free learning courses online. It is due to experimenting with the idea of a flipped classroom model which is a new way of teaching. The flipped classroom model is where the teacher’s role is reversed to guide on the side instead of giving a lecture in the classroom.

Timothy reminded us about organizing book launches at local branches. He said that librarians like it very much when local writers launch their books in local library branches because it is a part of their work to provide venues for the public.

He pointed out a significant fact that any other library in Australia will charge money for purchasing books that have to be transported from other Australian libraries but the Gold Coast Library does it for free. To find any desired book just search the database of Trove –National Library of Australia and ask our local librarians to order it. The only limitation to this is that any irreplaceable material (only one copy of a particular publication or a fragile item) will not be taken outside of a library. The Gold Coast Library has such irreplaceable material on the second floor of the Southport Library – where the History Library is located.

Once a year the Gold Coast Library conducts training in Podcasting. They are planning to do this more often now that the new Helensvale Cultural Centre, which is located in the same building as the Helensvale Branch Library, has a recording studio (Helensvale Library & Cultural Centre).

Timothy Ferguson’s tips and tricks sharing-session touched a wide range of benefits for the writers from the Gold Coast Writers Association and the general public.

Thank you Timothy Ferguson!  Thank you very much!
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Written by Elena Ornig

Managing Director of Publishing Company "Julia Sophistique Pty Ltd". Committee member of Australian Computer Association GC Chapter. Member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Member of the Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland. Member of the IT Forum Gold Coast. Sponsor of the Helensvale Writers' Group, Gold Coast. Committee member of the Gold Coast Writers Association Honored VIP Member of STANFORD WHO'S WHO in America. Publisher, writer and blogger.