Latest from the Library

June 2019

Library closure

The Library will be closed for the Queen’s Birthday on Monday  June 10, 2019.

Library and Vision Store help library members get connected

The Vision Store at Kooyong and the VA Library team held a Tech Tuesday event on April 30, 2019. The event showcased the various library devices available to clients. Anne Ford, Community Engagement Librarian and Jamie Kelly, Online Training Officer, provided the group with beneficial information on devices that are used to access books and podcasts from the VA Library.

Devices demonstrated included the Envoy Connect, Victor Reader Stream, Plextor PTX1 DAISY Player and the VA Connect Library App. All 24 guests were then invited to interact with and use the devices. They were then able to ask any questions they had.

It was a successful event for all involved!

Technology, training guides and YouTube video guides can be located by clicking on the link below.

World Refugee Day  

To mark World Refugee Day (June 20), here we feature books written by refugees or those who assist them. This day aims to commemorate the resilience, bravery and fortitude of refugees around the world.

Shining: the story of a lucky man by Abdi Aden and Robert Hillman

Format: DAISY (AU 158842)

Subject Interest Codes: Autobiography, Biography -Australian, Inspirational Stories.

Summary: Abdi's world fell apart when he was only fifteen and Somalia's vicious civil war hit Mogadishu. Unable to find his family and effectively an orphan, he fled with some sixty others towards Kenya. On the way, death squads hunted them and they faced violence, danger and starvation on a daily basis. After almost four months, they arrived at refugee camps in Kenya - of the group he'd set out with, only five had survived. All alone in the world and desperate to find his family, Abdi couldn't stay in Kenya, so he turned around and undertook the dangerous journey back to Mogadishu. But the search was fruitless, and eventually Abdi made his way alone, with no money in his pockets, to Romania, then to Germany, completely dependent on the kindness of strangers. He was just seventeen years old when he arrived in Melbourne. He had no English, no family or friends, no money, no home. Yet, against the odds, he not only survived, he thrived. Abdi went on to complete secondary education and later university. He became a youth worker, was acknowledged with the 2007 Victorian Refugee Recognition Award and was featured in the second series of 'Go Back to Where You Came From' on SBS.

Besieged: a doctor's story of life and death in Beirut by Chris Giannou.

Format: DAISY (AU 165144)

Subject Interest Codes: Autobiography, Biography – Medical

Summary: Dr. Chris Giannou is a Canadian surgeon who, with one other doctor and only a few nurses, ran a hospital in the refugee camp of Shatila, in West Beirut. From October 1985 to January 1988, the camp was under siege and endured everything from sniper fire to heavy artillery. This is Giannou's account of those years, the suffering and resilience of the refugees, and their daily endurance.

Where the road leads: an Australian woman's journey of love and determination by Jean E. Calder

Format: DAISY (AU 111360)

Subject Interest Codes: Autobiography, Biography -Australian, Biography –Disabled, Biography –Medical

Summary: For over 25 years, Jean Calder has been working with people with disabilities in Lebanon, Egypt and the Gaza Strip. An outstanding and unassuming woman, Jean has led an extraordinary life, bringing hope and joy to people living in some of the most dangerous areas of the Middle East. Jean’s work with young disabled children took her into Palestinian refugee camps where she worked tirelessly under extreme conditions. In 1982 when a civil war broke out and most foreigners fled Lebanon, Jean stayed and cared for disabled children under a bombed-out hospital staircase. Jean now lives and works in the Gaza Strip, where life is constantly interrupted by air strikes, checkpoints, continual fighting and hostage threats. Yet, for the last ten years, Jean has built up an internationally admired rehabilitation program which brings hope and a profound difference to many people’s lives, especially those of young children.

Interrupted journeys: young refugees from Hitler's Reich by Alan Gill

Formats: DAISY (AU 99618) and braille (AU 92642)

Subject Interest Codes: Australian History, War Non-fiction, History.  

Summary: As the dark storm clouds of World War II threatened to engulf Europe, a small number of young German and Austrian Jews fled Nazi oppression in their homeland, leaving behind their parents, families and everything familiar, and sought refuge in Australia. These young refugees were followed by other groups of young people from war-torn Europe whose life journeys were 'interrupted'; in fact, they underwent total and permanent change as a result of Hitler's Reich. They included children who escaped first to Britain on the famed 'Kindertransports', teenage survivors of the Holocaust who spent the war in hiding or in Nazi concentration camps, friendly 'enemy aliens' like the Dunera Boys who were interned in Australia, and the Vienna Mozart Boys Choir, internationally renowned child singers, trapped in Australia by the outbreak of war. Interrupted Journeys reveals not only their remarkable wartime stories, but also describes how many of these young refugees from Nazism made Australia their permanent home after the war ended and have since added richly to the life of this country.

Readers’ Reviews

All teachers great and small by Andy Seed

Format: DAISY (AU 157483)

Subject Interest Codes: Autobiography, Country Life Non Fiction.

Summary: Twenty-five years ago, newly qualified teacher Andy Seed and his wife Barbara moved to a remote village in the picturesque Yorkshire Dales. There, they anticipated a daily round of gentle simplicity in the countryside. However, whilst Andy fell in love with teaching and living in a village, life as a primary school teacher was anything but simple. All Teachers Great and Small tells the true story of Andy's first year at Cragthwaite Primary School - how he bravely negotiated the vagaries of the local dialect, made disastrous bids to provide a family home, naively and hilariously tried out newfangled ideas in a school stuck in a 1950s time warp and ultimately discovered a little part of England he was proud to call home.

Reader Comments: “This story is brilliant, I’m still laughing. The chap who tells the story Brian Trueman makes the whole story so true, funny, and leaves you wanting the next episode.”

Charlotte’s friends by Sarah Kennedy

Format: DAISY (AU 166165)

Subject Interest Code: Psychological fiction

Summary: Charlotte has had a solitary childhood. She has two close friends from her schooldays: they don't know it, but they are the focal points of her life. She will do anything to keep them for herself, despatching anyone, male or female, who gets in the way.

Reader Comments: “Very good…well crafted”.

The President is missing by James Patterson and Bill Clinton

Format: DAISY (AU 171069)

Subject Interest Codes: Suspense Fiction, Political Fiction

Summary: The White House is the home of the President of the United States, the most guarded, monitored, closely watched person in the world. So how could a US President vanish without a trace? And why would he choose to do so?

Reader Comments: “Gripping. I read past midnight!”

All at sea on land by Kay Cottee

Format: DAISY (AU 122754) and braille (AU 57282)

Subject Interest Codes: Autobiography, Biography -Australian, Biography -Sports, Maritime Non-Fiction

Summary: On June 5, 1988 Kay Cottee fulfilled her childhood dream - to become the first woman in history to complete a solo, nonstop and unassisted sailing voyage around the world. Now, a decade later, Kay reflects on her historic voyage and the story of how fame changed her life after she achieved her dream. This is an inspiring portrait of one of Australia's greatest women - a story of raising more than $1 million for charity, marriage and motherhood, awards and accolades and how an ordinary person went about life after achieving a world first.

Reader Comments: “My husband and I were working in Bangladesh when this incredible lady Kay Cottee started a wonderful journey. I think she may still be travelling – I never knew this lady but now I do. And I think she has succeeded in writing books full of Australia. Thank you.”

March 2019

Easter Opening Hours, and Anzac Day

The Vision Australia Information Library Service will close on Thursday April 18 2019 at 5pm and reopen on Tuesday April 23 2019 at 8.30am.

The Library will also be closed for ANZAC Day on Thursday April 25 2019.

Envoy Connect

The Library has successfully rolled out the new Envoy Connect player to members who previously received their audiobooks on CD. While people have had to become familiar with the new, smaller player, we have received quite a lot of positive feedback.

The user guide for the Envoy Connect, the guide to loading books onto the player using i-access Kiosk, and a short video about using the Envoy Connect, can be located here.

If you wish to find out more about  the Envoy Connect, or you need some help in using it, please call 1300 654 656.

Please note: now the library has ceased production of CDs to members, and decommissioned the PTN players, we are no longer able to repair or replace PTN players which have been gifted to our members.

Our DAISY audio collection is growing fast

Late last year Vision Australia Library’s exciting partnerships with Wavesound was born. Wavesound produces and records audio books in DAISY format. This and other new partnerships, will enable us to boost our audio collection of well-known Australian and overseas authors by around 5000 new titles over the course of this year. 

Children and young adult books are included in this number. Already 1000 new titles have been added to our catalogue including exciting bestselling titles as Michelle Obama’s autobiography, “Becoming”.  Borrow the book now and enjoy hearing Michelle’s voice tell her own story (DAISY AU171201).

Choice Magazine now available in full-text and audio from Australian and New Zealand Reference Centre Plus

Choice Magazine, Choice Computer magazine and a number of other popular and research magazine and journals are available to our borrowers through the Australian and New Zealand Reference Centre Plus online resource.

These publications are available in a machine readable format, as well as in audio, and you can even choose whether you’d like articles read in an Australian, British or American accent. Once you have located the magazine you want to read, it is also possible to create an alert so that you will be notified via email or RSS feed when new issues are added to the service.

Australian and New Zealand Reference Centre Plus and other online study and research resources can also be accessed on the library’s Databases page and are free to use.

If you would like further information or help locating these or other magazines please contact the Library on 1300 654 656.

The Library helping members get the hang of their Library book player

On Saturday February 16, the Vision Australia Library team welcomed and supported approximately 60 library members and their families. Six library tech gurus took members through the use of their device.

The team helped library members troubleshoot any issues. By the end of the session, members were back onto the path of effectively accessing the 44,000 audio titles that the library holds. The Kooyong Vision Store was also open, and received lots of interest and purchases of products designed for our blind and low vision members - this included the new small hand held audiobook player Envoy Connect, which has proved to be a winner with Library members. We are looking forward to holding another Tech Saturday in the near future.


World Wildlife Day   

To mark World Wildlife Day (March 3 2019), here we feature books on wildlife. This day aims to celebrate and raise awareness of the world's wild fauna and flora.

It's every monkey for themselves : a true story of sex, love and lies in the jungle by Vanessa Woods
Formats: DAISY (AU 103346), braille (AU 107798).
Subject Interest Codes: Travel and Culture, Animal Stories.

Summary: Aiming to put as much distance as she could between herself and a dysfunctional relationship, Vanessa Woods left Canberra and headed for the remote, wild and distinctly unsafe jungles of Costa Rica. She had a research job, a contract with Disney Channel and would spend the year working with a small community of dedicated like-minded scientific souls researching the behaviour of capuchin monkeys while making a documentary about Costa Rican wildlife. Or so she thought. As it turned out, Vanessa's housemates in the monkey house didn't appreciate her Australian sense of humour, she was stung so often by wasps and killer bees she developed a lethal allergy, and the monkeys were evasive, mean and aggressive - with the only difference between them and her housemates being that at least she could tell her housemates apart. Over the course of a wild, bruising and tumultuous year, Vanessa learned that not all monkeys - or people - are alike, that friendship can be more important than sex, and that sometimes it takes a brush with death and an abscess the size of a melon on your head to make you realise that being pretty isn't always enough. This is a story of love, loss, bitter rivalry and vicious battles - and that's just the monkeys.

The whales' journey by Stephen Martin
Format: DAISY (AU 132491).
Subject Interest Codes: Animal Stories, Science and Technology.

Summary: From slaughter to sanctuary 'The whales' journey' describes the experiences of the humpback whales as they travel between the cold Antarctic and the warm tropical seas off northern Australia. It is also the story of human impact on humpback whale populations, which were decimated almost to extinction during the first sixty years of the twentieth century.

Next panda, please! : further adventures of a wildlife vet by David Taylor
Format: DAISY (AU 8296).
Subject Interest Codes: Autobiography, Animal Stories, Environment.

Summary: David Taylor writes about his adventures as a world-wide physician to all shapes and sizes of wild animals. The stars of this book are the pair of giant pandas at Madrid zoo, on whom this zoo vet has carried out important pioneering work.

Readers’ Reviews

Bert : the story of Australia's favourite TV star by Graeme Blundell.
Format: DAISY (AU 156220).
Subject Interest Codes: Biography, Biography-Australian, Biography-Stage and Screen.

Summary: TV and radio star, interviewer and all-round media personality, Bert Newton’s career spans the decades. He ruled the radio sets of Melbourne in the 1950s - when another young blade, Graham Kennedy, was also on the air - then made the transition to the box. Whether on television, radio or more recently on stage, Bert is the preeminent entertainer. Behind this most public of faces is the story of a boy whose father died early; a lad who loved riding the famous trams of his home town; and a young man whose compulsion to work led him to collapse. A consummate professional who holds the respect and admiration of his peers and multitude of fans alike, Bert has reinvigorated his career over and over as the world around him changed. And in a life full of dynamic partnerships - on screen with Graham Kennedy and Don Lane - Bert’s marriage to Patti is the most enduring of them all.

Reader Comments: “I really liked this book.”

Beneath the Aurora by Richard Woodman
Series: Nathaniel Drinkwater; 12
Sequel to: The Flying Squadron. Followed by: The Shadow of the Eagle.
Format: DAISY (AU 94965).
Set in: Early 19th century Europe.
Subject Interest Codes: Adventure Fiction, Historical Fiction, Sea Stories.

Summary: Captain Drinkwater, as head of the Royal Navy's Secret Department, is caught up in a vast intrigue which leads him into the most desperate mission of his career among the forbidding fiords of Norway during the Napoleonic wars.
Reader Comments: “A great story, which I feel is tied to historical fact.”

The Narrowboat Girl by Annie Murray
Format: DAISY (AU 132302).
Set in: Early 20th century England.
Subject Interest Codes: Family Stories, Perceptive Fiction.

Summary: Young Maryann Nelson is devastated at the loss of her beloved father. But worse is to come when her mother, Flo, sees an opportunity to better herself and her family in a marriage to the local undertaker, Norman Griffin. Though on the surface a caring family man, Norman is not at all what he seems, as Maryann and her sister Sal soon discover. Unable to turn to their unsympathetic mother for support, the girls are left alone with their harrowing secret. But for Sal, it is too much to bear...The chance of a new life opens up for Maryann when she befriends Joel Bartholomew. Aboard his narrowboat, the Esther Jane, she finds herself falling in love with life on the canal as she is swept away from Birmingham and all her worries. Until Joel's feelings for Maryann begin to change, awakening all the old nightmares that she had thought were long buried, and in panic and confusion she takes flight.

Reader Comments: “A long engrossing story with confronting imagery, read with clarity and great impression by a lady in Tasmania. A recommended story for a listener who wishes authenticity. A sorry tale at the start with accurate description of the hardship and poverty of Birmingham in the early 1900s. But the comradeship of the central characters win through making an engrossing tale of love winning through. I give it at least 8 out of 10. PS. Some of the goings on are appalling but are essential to the story as a whole.”