Centre for Stories

Check out our library catalogue!

You may have noticed the bookshelves filled to the brim at Centre for Stories, but did you know that these books make up a small State Library?

December 3, 2021

You may have noticed the bookshelves filled to the brim at Centre for Stories, but did you know that these books make up a small State Library? Well, we recently had each title catalogued and our collection exists online now so you can search for a book to borrow before you make your next visit!

Our library of more than 3000 volumes features over 2000 diverse writers and voices, many locals of Western Australia or neighbours who share the Indian Ocean. With a wide range of topics and interests, we hope there’s something in our collection for everyone to enjoy.

Stories range from Never Stand Still: Stories of land, life and politics in the Kimberley by John Darraga Watson and Einstein for Beginners by Joseph Schwartz, to Poems of Black Africa edited by Wole Soyinka and Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. You will find collections of poetry, books about history and philosophy, the work of playwrights, novels of fiction, and so much more.

It is only because of our book donors that this library exists. Staff, volunteers, and friends with a passion for literature have donated some of their pre-loved books to us, and we’d like to give special thanks to Peter Dowding, Susan Midalia, and Dennis Haskell, and also thank anyone who has donated even a single book to our slowly growing library.

Our library has been cared for by John McCann who generously volunteered his time to digitally catalogue and organise the many books in our collection. John said that creating the catalogue was an opportunity to “reveal” the library, as he brought together authors and themes, and got a feeling for the many facets of the library. When we asked him about his passion for books, he admitted that he has around 14,000 books at home, with a few thousand more in storage. While John admits that he hasn’t read them all, he said that he likes the convenience of being able to get up in the early hours of the morning knowing he will always find something interesting to read. An avid reader, John told us that he reads over 200 books a year! John said he admired our library from afar on Facebook before getting in touch to see what book he himself should donate to the library.

Since John got involved, Centre for Stories’ library catalogue has become more than just a place to search what is available; it’s now a resource for readers to explore the work of local and diverse writers. The online catalogue, LibraryCat, powered by LibraryThing, allows prospective readers to find books based on subject, title, author, or theme.

I chose to highlight just a few of the amazing books on the shelves at Centre for Stories, the first being Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore. Murakami writes about two characters whose destinies are slowly intertwined. The novel involves a murder that has an unknown victim and perpetrator, magical realism, and cats that can talk. It’s a novel that has started hundreds of conversations and theories – all of which can be discovered via our LibraryCat catalogue. The catalogue also provides essential information like the blurb, reviews, ratings, and conversations surrounding the book. This is the perfect book for anyone who loves magic realism, books that are very surreal with no set end, and contemporary coming of age fiction.

Another popular option is Occupy by Noam Chomsky. Occupy is Chomsky’s response to thirty years of class war. From the beginning of the Occupy protests, Chomsky has supported the movement, and he explores what gets a person to the point of protesting. The LibraryCat catalogue will direct you to Noam Chomsky’s bibliography, his Wikipedia page, or Occupy’s Wikipedia page. You can see the reviews from members and links to reviews that have been published. It’s a great book for political sociology buffs that want to explore some of Chomsky’s work.

Finally, Maryanne Wolf’s Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain is an exploration of how reading and writing transforms the human brain. LibraryCat lets us know that this book won Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of the Year and made the UC Berkeley Summer Reading List. Browsing the book’s detailed LibraryThing page (see the link in the “More” field) will give you additional book recommendations from both LibraryThing and members. This book is perfect for anyone with an interest in the human brain and its relation to reading.

All of these titles, along with thousands more, are sitting on the shelves at Centre for Stories Library in Northbridge thanks to friends and writers who donated books, and John McCann, who spent hours and hours carefully cataloguing them all. So check out our catalogue to see if we have a book on your to-read list, browse it for something inspiring, or ask us about borrowing a title the next time you’re at Centre for Stories!

You can search our online catalogue via LibraryCat here.

If you find a book you’d like to borrow, send us an email with the subject line ‘Centre For Stories Borrower Request’, and include the book’s title, author, collection category, and unique Centre For Stories barcode so we can let you know if it is available.

Have a book to donate? We are taking select titles! Please email us to inquire.


This article was written by Centre for Stories intern Anika Donnison.

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