Highlights from the Fun Palace PD

At the start of October 2019, I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Fun Palace Professional Development opportunity at State Library of Queensland. On the first day, I met with the other training participants Belinda and Sharynn, and our welcoming guide Janet took us on a tour of the State Library.

Afterwards, we met with Christine Ianna from the Conservation team to learn about the techniques and tools used for preserving, digitising and repairing valuable and delicate works. It was fascinating to learn about this process; Christine’s passion for her field was contagious.

Over the following two days, we received hands-on training from State Library’s Applied Creativity team in different activities and technologies, including the new 3D printers. We met with Natasha Ratajczek to discuss Summer Reading Club and brainstorm activity ideas that connect to this year’s theme, ‘A Roomful of Stories’.

Moonscape for the Edison robot challenge made from cardboard and aluminum foil
The moonscape for the Edison robot challenge

We also met with James Collins to learn about the tech resources available from State Library and watched the cardboard landscape for the Edison robot lunar challenge being created.

Finally, on Saturday, it was crunch time. We collected our volunteer lanyards and wrote our names on the list. The large group of volunteers and staff gathered in the function hall at The Edge for a final pep talk with the event coordinator Daniel Flood. Then the crowds arrived, and the fun began, with Fun Palace delivered over the next four hours. It was a bubbling, vibrant space full of kids and adults having a great time. In between assisting with activities, I was able to take a wander around to see all the activity stations in action. This was my favourite part of the training, being exposed to so many great ideas for activities and seeing how participants of all ages responded to them. Many of the activities were simple, low cost and scalable.

Person pointing to post it note on a glass window
Post-It Note Comic Strips

Some of my favourite ideas included: t-shirt printing with handmade foam stamps; zine making; cubby houses made with cardboard; creating augmented reality posters with Krita and the Artivive app; collaborative comic strips made with post-it notes; the Edison robot lunar challenge, complete with a moonscape constructed from cardboard and aluminium foil; and vinyl sticker making (we used a laser cutter, but the stickers could be drawn and cut by hand – many of the kids took vinyl cut-offs with them so they could make their own stickers at home).

I am excited about implementing these ideas in the library programs at Tablelands Libraries.

About the author
Amelia Benefield is a Library Programs and Promotions Officer at Tablelands Regional Council and recently participated in a Fun Palace Work placement at State Library of Queensland.