22 March 2018

Easter and Anzac Day opening hours:

The Library will close on Thursday 29 March at 5.00pm and reopen on Tuesday 3 April 2018 at 9.00am.

The library will also be closed for Anzac Day on Wednesday 25 April. We will endeavour to return your calls as soon as possible. 

Brain Awareness Week

To mark Brain Awareness Week (12 to 18 March), this issue we feature books on the brain and mind improvement.
The Human Brain: A Guided Tour, by Susan Greenfield. 
Format: DAISY (AU 109464). 
Subject Interest Codes: Health Care, Science and Technology.  

Summary: Combatting Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases provides the motivation for much of today's progress in brain research.

By exploring different regions of the brain together with their functions, the author examines how drugs can be used to help brain cells communicate with one another.

From a single egg, the brain combines personal experience and memory, to develop into the essence of a unique individual.

This book guides us through some of the latest understanding about the human brain.    

A Better Brain at Any Age: The Holistic Way to Improve Your Memory, Reduce Stress and Sharpen Your Wits, by Sondra Kornblatt.
Format: DAISY (AU 161837). 
Subject Interest Codes: Health Care, Psychology.    

Summary: Sondra Kornblatt, along with the experts she has interviewed, helps readers put their heads on straight through healthy activities for the body (exercise, healthy food consumption and relaxation) and through specific activities to boost brain power like movement, eye rolls, supplements, and making environmental changes.

Each of the seven chapters (Body-Mind Connection; Environmental Support; Food and Supplements; Intelligence and Learning; Memory, Learning Shortcuts, and Brain-Stretchers; Emotions and Decisions; Meditation and Bigger Perspectives) details how that topic impacts the brain, and offers tips and highlights for readers to either delve into the book or peruse it for quick boosts.

Kornblatt teaches readers how to reduce brain stress and optimize mental agility, and shares information on how the brain interacts with the body, what habits impact the brain, positively and negatively, and how to maximise learning.

She provides tips to strengthen memory, cognition and creativity so readers can function better in their active lives.

Doing Up Buttons: A Deeply Personal Yet Practical Account of Understanding Head Injury, by Christine Durham.

Format: DAISY (AU 106789).
Subject Interest Codes: Autobiography, Biography – Australian, Biography – Disabled. 

Summary: The extraordinary, courageous and uplifting story of the realities of coming to terms with the lasting effects of head injury and the grief at the loss of the person the author once was. Her recovery encompasses both deep despair and firm hope as she discovers that recovery is a complex process.

For more information on Brain Awareness Week, please visit the Brain Foundation website here 

Library Lovers' Day 2018

Library Lovers' Day is celebrated by libraries across Australia on 14 February.

The day helps libraries and their borrowers unite to express their appreciation for the wonderful relationships that exist between libraries and their communities.
The Vision Australia Library has more than 15,000 borrowers across Australia, so it is a little difficult to get together for a celebration, but that didn't stop us from celebrating in our own way.

The theme for Library Lovers' Day this year was ‘Love letters to libraries', and some of our borrowers share with us their appreciation for the service and how much they love the books they receive from us. 

The following is a very special open letter we received from Nick Gleeson, who is a long-time library member, motivational speaker and author. 

Nick's letter:

"A book is a new beginning. An opportunity to experience love, fear, sorrow and laughter.
It connects me with the author and the characters, it allows me to disengage from the world around me. It is my way of helping me cope with life. When I was 11 years old, I discovered a braille library, with shelf upon shelf of stories.
My first treasure was The Silver Brumby, published in 1958 and written by Elyne Mitchell.
My fingers flew across the braille pages and I held my breath as the powerful silver stallion named Thowra, stood on top of the world, looking down upon the wonderful high country of the Snowy Mountains. Later, I would read books about life, death and love.  
It was all of these books that showed me that reading is the documentation of a story to be shared.

In 2017, I became an author. This was my opportunity to express in words, many of the stories of my life.

My heart was touched when I received comments that my words helped others to manage their own lives."

The Many Ways of Seeing: A True Story of Blindness, Friendship and Adventure, by Nick Gleeson with Peter Bishop, was published in 2017 by Ventura Press. It is available in DAISY audio from the library (AU 166388). 

Other notes of thanks

"I do not know how to express my gratitude for the help I get from your organisation. Many thanks for brightening my life … your books fill my lonely life. MANY, MANY THANKS!!"

"I want to express my sincere thanks for all your support, especially when it came to identifying and solving the few problems we had with the players. Mum was almost completely blind and loved a good story. You provided a device that allowed her to continue these pleasures right to the end of her 93 years." 

Reader reviews

For All Mankind, by Harry Hurt III; interviews by Al Reinert.
Format: DAISY (AU 129708)

Subject Interest Codes: Adventure Non-Fiction, American History, History, Science and Technology. 

Summary: Between December 1968 and December 1972, 24 men went to the moon; no-one has been there since.

This is a dramatic, engrossing account of the most hazardous, dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked. 'For All Mankind' recounts all the drama and danger of the moon voyages.

Reader comments: "What a great account of the space exploration. Everybody should acclaim those men who took their courage in their hands. What confidence they had! I salute them all." 

Cry Once Alone, by EV Thompson.
Format: DAISY (AU 105258). 

Set in: 19th Century America. 
Subject Interest Codes: Historical Romance Fiction, Indigenous Fiction, Romance Fiction. 

Summary: Texas in 1838 is a wild and lawless country and Adam Rashleigh, sent out there by Lord Palmerston on a secret mission to assess the prospects for the survival of the infant Texan Republic, is drawn into the lives and problems of the Cherokee.

Among them he finds a love for which he is prepared to risk everything, even his mission.

Reader comments: "This would have to be the best talking book I have ever received with you in all my time with blind society. Really, really enjoyed this CD talking book. This has topped every talking book I have ever had in the past."

The Dean's Watch, by Elizabeth Goudge. 
Series: A City of Bells, 3.
Format: DAISY (AU 108109).

Set in: 19th century England. 
Subject Interest Codes: Great Britain Fiction, Historical Fiction.

Summary: Set in the 1870s, this novel centres on the friendship between the formidable dean of the city and a quaint little clockmaker.

The people learn to love the dean, and in the process, grow in love and achievement themselves.

Reader comments: "Excellent … loved it … well worth reading. Beautiful description in passages."

Angels Fall, by Norah Roberts.
Format: DAISY (AU 114319). 

Set in: 21st Century America.
Subject Interest Codes: Romance Fiction, Romance Mystery.

Summary: The sole survivor of a brutal crime, Reece Gilmore has been on the run, desperately fighting the nightmares that haunt her.

She doesn't intend to stay in the sleepy town of Angel's Fall any longer than she needs to, despite its friendly inhabitants and the irresistible attraction of local writer, Brody.

But then she witnesses a couple having a vicious argument that culminates in murder. By the time Reece finds Brody and brings him to the scene, both killer and victim are gone – and Reece finds that very few people in this small community believe her story.

Reader comments: "This is a most exciting thriller – amusing in parts and the narrator was excellent."

VA Connect update

The VA Connect library app was updated to in January, 2018.

The update provides mainly improved performance and bug fixes for both iOS and Android versions.

To check if you have the updated app, search for Vision Australia in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

Online Training & Support Officer

Staff book review – Brooklyn, by Colm Tóibin

Brooklyn is set in Brooklyn, NY and Ireland in the early 1950s, when one young woman crosses the ocean to make a new life for herself.

Coming of age in Enniscorthy, a small town in south-east Ireland in the years following World War II, Eilis Lacey is one among many of her generation who cannot find a job in the miserable economy of the time.

When an Irish priest, Father Flood from Brooklyn, offers to sponsor Eilis to live and work in America, she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind.

Eilis takes up her new life in a crowded Brooklyn boarding house, working in Bartocci's, a department store on Fulton Street, and at night taking book-keeping classes.

Slowly, the pain of parting is buried beneath the rhythms of her new life, until she finds a sort of happiness and, when she least expects it, love with Tony Fiorello, a young Italian plumber. But then, devastating news from home threatens the promise of her future.

Brooklyn focuses on the reflection that death, travel, and romantic love force on people at various times in their lives.
It will be of particular interest to readers to whom immigration and homesickness are pivotal.
Self-discovery is an important theme, which includes the process and progress of Eilis, not only in becoming a stronger and better person emotionally, spiritually and morally, but also in learning more about herself through life experiences.
The novel is also about the choice Eilis has to make between her old life in Enniscorthy and her new life in Brooklyn.
I was attracted to Brooklyn because I have travelled to Ireland and I am keen to visit New York, and I have an interest in Irish immigration to America.

I felt it was believable and it reminded me of my eldest sister who has resided in Ireland for more than 10 years. She is a little torn between life in Tralee, Ireland, and in Melbourne with my elderly mother.

This title is available in DAISY (AU 119914).

If you enjoy Brooklyn, you might like other titles in our collection such as:
Small Island, by Andrea Levy available in DAISY (AU 97533).
Love and Summer, by William Trevor available in DAISY (AU 121775).
A Long Long Way, by Sebastian Barry available in DAISY (AU 95959).

Crime collection

Here is a selection of recent additions to the library's crime collection.

First, some true crime.

The Straight Dope: The Inside Story of Sport's Biggest Drug Scandal, by Chip Le Grand.
Format: DAISY (AU 162889).

Summary: The greatest drugs scandal in Australian sport goes well beyond who took what.

What happened at Essendon, what happened at Cronulla, is only part of the story.

From the basement office of a suburban football club to the seedy corners of Peptide Alley to the polished corridors of Parliament House, The Straight Dope is an inside account of the politics, greed and personal feuds that fuelled an extraordinary saga. 

Coverups and Copouts by Tom Lewis.
Format: DAISY (AU 162818).

Summary: Written by a former detective sergeant, this book exposes some of the corruption within the New Zealand Police Force.

Or, some crime fiction.

Black Teeth, by Zane Lovitt.
Formats: DAISY (AU 161206) and braille (AU 164926).

Summary: Jason Ginaff doesn't get out much, partly because of the anxiety, mainly because he works at home, researching people on the internet.

Job candidates doing bucket bongs on Instagram accounts they thought they'd deleted; the prospective new head of sales stripping for a hens' night.

He's been searching for something on his own time, too. Now he's found the phone number of the man he believes to be his father, which is how he gets mixed up with Rudy Alamein. They've been looking for the same man, but Rudy wants to kill him. 

The Night the Rich Men Burned, by Malcolm Mackay. 
Format: DAISY (AU 161244). 

Summary: Two friends, Alex Glass and Oliver Peterkinney, look for work and for escape from their lives spent growing up in Glasgow's most desperate fringes.

Soon they will become involved in one of the city's darkest and most dangerous trades.

But while one rises quickly up the ranks, the other will fall prey to the industry's addictive lifestyle and ever-spiralling debts.

Before long, violence will spill out onto the streets, as those at the top make deadly attempts to out-manoeuvre one another for a bigger share of the spoils. Peterkinney and Glass will find themselves at the very centre of this war.