Libraries lead the way

Published: 09 Jul 2020

If you have ever had a question regarding our local indigenous culture then now is your chance to ask it!

Following the postponement of NAIDOC week 2020 celebrations until November due to COVID-19, Mackay Regional Council Libraries have stepped up yet again and are celebrating NAIDOC week online.

Libraries will be sharing interviews with local Indigenous Elders and giving others the chance to ask questions about our local culture.

The interviews are part of Libraries’ new Human Library digital program which aims to share stories in a safe and welcoming online space and give others the opportunity to ask questions they may not normally have the opportunity to ask.

With Always Was, Always Will Be as the theme for NAIDOC 2020, Community Outreach library assistant Norell Binsiar sat down with local Indigenous Elders Aunty Jen Binsiar and Uncle Arnold Doyle to share their stories and explain what this year’s theme means to them.

Both elders are involved in a project that works with Indigenous inmates in detention centres.

“I always say - these kids in detention centres, they are lost, they don’t know where they come from or who they are,” Mr Doyle said.

“They say they are aboriginal or South Sea Islander or Torres Strait Islander, but they don’t understand how or why or what their totem is,” he said.

Director of Community and Client Services Angela Hays said the project was a great way of connecting people who may not normally meet and giving them the opportunity to participate in a respectful conversation about diversity.

“Just like a library where readers can borrow a book, the Human Library allows you to experience a real story told by our local Indigenous Elders through a Human e-Book,” she said.

“We have a large variety of e-resources available to borrow, to learn from and to enjoy. What's unique about these online e-books is that you will be borrowing a real person with a story to share.

“Visitors to the site can also ask Indigenous Elders any questions they have regarding their culture and history.”

Mackay Regional Council Libraries has embraced this unique approach to sharing stories, as it aims to promote dialogue and encourage understanding of different cultures in a simple and engaging format.

To listen the stories and ask your questions go to