Author Archive for Eaton Library

Novel Conversations

Celebrate Christmas in Australia!

Read More →

Did you know?

To Kill a Mockingbird was the result of a generous Christmas gift.

We all look for that perfect present for those we care about. Something both meaningful and inspiring. In the late 1950s, a Broadway composer and his wife gave just such a gift to a struggling young writer named Nelle Harper Lee.

Lee wanted to write after developing an interest in English literature in high school. After graduation, she attended Huntingdon College in Alabama for one year, and focused on writing. She then transferred to the University of Alabama to study law before turning her sights back to writing. She wrote for the university newspaper before dropping out of college without achieving a degree, opting to move to New York to pursue a writing career.

To support herself in New York, Lee worked for several years as an airline ticket agent.  She struggled with working to support herself and having the time and energy to write. Luckily for Lee, she befriended Michael and Joy Brown. Michael was a popular composer and lyricist who worked on Broadway, and was financially well off.

For Christmas 1956, the Browns gave Lee a generous gift: one year’s wages. With the gift came a note saying, ‘You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas.’ Who could say no to that? Lee quit her airline job, and once free to write what she wanted, produced the story that would become To Kill a Mockingbird.

Reportedly, the first draft read like several short stories stitched together, rather than a seamlessly written novel. But the Browns had also put Lee in touch with a literary agent, Maurice Crain.  With Crain and editor Tay Hohoff, Lee reworked the initial manuscript, and two and a half years of rewrites followed. Even after those rewrites, Lee was warned that the book probably wouldn’t sell more than few thousand copies.

However, Lee’s hard work paid off beyond her wildest expectation. Perhaps it was published at just the right time, as the civil rights movement was kicking off in earnest. Whatever the reason, the book’s popularity skyrocketed shortly after its publication in 1960. It was picked up by the Book-of-the-Month Club and the Literary Guild, featured in Reader’s Digest, and won a variety of literary awards, including the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. By 1962, it had been made into an award-winning movie.

To Kill a Mockingbird has now sold over 30 million copies, and has been translated into 40 languages and remains hugely relevant even today. In 2009, it was reported that Lee was still earning $9,249 in royalties every day. At the time of her death in early 2016, Lee’s estate was valued at over $45 million. The Brown’s original Christmas gift to Harper Lee had multiplied many times over.

Did you enjoy this article? Let us know.

Summer Holiday Opening Hours

Shire of Dardanup Library Services will be closed from:

Saturday, 22 December 2017

and will re-open

Wednesday, 2 January 2018

We would like to wish you a happy and safe holiday break.

Read More →

Novel Conversations

Do you have tsundoku? We do!

Read More →

Novel Conversations

What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution and what does it mean for libraries?

The industrial revolution began in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  Before this period, production was done in people’s homes, using hand tools.  From the eighteenth century the industrial revolution began replacing hand-made production with machinery and mass production.

The progress of industrialisation is recognised by periods; the first industrial revolution (1765) and the second industrial revolution (1870) refers to the development of energy and mechanisms affecting the manufacture of the steel age and chemical synthesis; the third industrial revolution (1969) – the digital revolution and the rise of electronics, an era of computer driven technology bringing new technologies into our lives designed with computers.

Finally we come to the fourth industrial revolution of today where the digital revolution of the last period takes technology to the next level where computers communicate to each other in the manufacture of goods, the implementation of smart systems and smart technologies.

Libraries can use big data to create a personalised user experience by offering content and resources based on each individual wish. Think Facebook, YouTube, Netflix. They all use data stored from previous interactions to build a browsing experience which makes suggestions that are unique to you.

While tailoring suggestions to suit the individual may appeal, it also homogenises by limiting an individual’s world view.  With the opportunity to browse and choose at will, a deeper cultural understanding of self and the world we live is developed.

The possibilities for libraries in the fourth industrial revolution, commonly termed Industry 4.0 are enormous with predictive maintenance, improved decision-making in real time and improved coordination among jobs.

Book kiosks, similar to banking ATM machines are a likely product of the future for libraries, there will be more online content to access and it will be accessible in a smarter more efficient way.  Bricks and mortar libraries will evolve, embracing spaces for the advancement of public knowledge and use.   Unlike the previous industrial revolutions using non-renewable resources the future for Industry 4.0 will look towards smart cities powered by wind, sun and geothermal energy.