A CHILDREN’S literacy program, featuring the Mackay region and the Yuwi language, has taken out a top state-wide library award.
The First 5 Forever: Paint the Town REaD Phase 2 Project, which features two books, was announced as the 2019 winner of the Local Government Authority Award.
Mackay Regional Council Libraries received the award for their support of the collaborative project.
The Paint the Town REaD project was aimed at improving early literacy and language skills of children from birth to eight years old in our region.
The award was presented at the 2019 Queensland Public Libraries Association (QPLA) Conference, held at the MECC last week.
It recognises the Queensland Local Government Authority that most demonstrates outstanding community service through delivery of an individual program or service.
Mayor Greg Williamson said hosting the conference alone was a big win for Mackay’s libraries.
“Mackay hasn’t hosted QPLA since 2003, so to have more than 150 delegates from across Queensland and some sensational keynote speakers in our region for this conference was a big coup for Mackay and our libraries,” Cr Williamson said.
“The project the team won the award for is a really exciting one that combines childhood literacy, the promotion of our beautiful region and the revival of an almost extinct Indigenous language,” he said.
“To win against a tough field of entries from all over the state, including entries from the Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay and Noosa, demonstrates how well this team worked with stakeholders to create something special.
“The two books created by the project, Birds Don’t have Birthdays and Look and See Cape Hillsborough, are indeed special.
“They are beautifully illustrated by artist Luke Mallie, Wanda Bennett and local children.”
QPLA President and award judge, Lisa Harth said she was impressed because of the breadth of community engagement the project undertook.
“Those involved spanned generations, cultures, vocations and specialties,” Ms Harth said.
“And because of the deeply local nature of the content and project execution, it has garnered immense pride and investment by the community at large.”
The books were created by the Mackay Early Years Language and Literacy Network (MEYLLN).
MEYLLN chair Katie Roberts said it was such an honour for the group to win the award and paid tribute to the many stakeholders who contributed to the project.
“So many people, schools, groups and organisations came together to collaborate on and support this project,” Ms Roberts said.
“A special mention must go to the Mackay and Region Aboriginal and Islander Development Association and Mackay Aboriginal Language Committee for providing the Yuwi language translations in the books,” she said.
“Their contribution goes a long way to preserving this language for future generations.”
The project was also supported by the following sponsors and supporters:
- The Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF)*
- Mackay Regional Council’s First Five Forever team – an initiative of the State Library of Queensland
- The Queensland Government’s Department of Education
- Glencore Hail Creek Open Cut Community Development Fund
- Students from Eimeo Road State School
- The Mackay Northern Beaches State High School Indigenous Reading Group
- Staff and families of Mackay Child and Family Centre
- Staff and families of Andergrove State School Playgroup
- BB Print
- Australian Literacy Educators Association Mackay-Whitsundays
*The Regional Arts Development Fund is a partnership between the Queensland Government and Mackay Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.