The Book Bunker is a unique library that makes a real difference to the lives of sick children.
The Scholastic Children’s Library, appropriately named 'The Book Bunker', was designed as an inviting place for children, a place of refuge, an escape from the reality of illness and treatment.
The Book Bunker is therefore much more than a library. Children who spend long periods of time in hospital suffer a suspended childhood, separated from their friends and school. This facility offers sick children an opportunity to resume a part of their normal daily lives - to read and learn, to listen to a story, and to meet and talk with new friends in a comfortable and reassuring environment removed from their hospital ward.
The first Scholastic Book Bunker was opened in August 1997 by Australia's favourite children's author Mem Fox at The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Australia's largest and most modern specialist children's hospital.
The Book Bunker at Westmead was designed and set up as a leading-edge library with up-to-the-minute technology and ready access to the internet. It also provides for the special needs of its users such as children in wheelchairs, children with IV drips and children confined to bed.
With its stock of 20,000 books The Book Bunker provides for children of all ages, from babies to adolescents, and lends an average of over 1000 books per month to hospitalised children. There are thirty-three dedicated Book Bunker librarians who volunteer their time to work in The Book Bunker at Westmead. Many of them have been there since its inception.
A second Book Bunker was established by Scholastic at The Royal Children's Hospital in Brisbane in October 2009. Located in the hospital's Wonder Factory, The Book Bunker is home to over 8000 books and is managed by fifteen volunteers, including 9 qualified librarians. The Book Bunker at Brisbane is now lending over 500 books per month to children at the hospital. The facility is well patronised by hospital outpatients too!
Bed-bound children have access to The Book Bunkers through regular visits by Book Bunker librarians. Specially selected books can be borrowed immediately from The Book Bunker trolley, or the children can access the entire library collection from an available laptop computer networked to The Book Bunker inquiry software.
The Book Bunkers are regularly visited by the Hospital Schools in both Brisbane and Westmead and their resources are drawn on to assist in class. The books housed in the Book Bunkers are regularly restocked and updated with the latest in children’s publishing from Scholastic Australia and other publishers, both Australian and international, guaranteeing a range of titles for children of all ages and backgrounds — there’s something for everyone!
It is a management goal of Scholastic Australia to develop Book Bunkers in every major children’s hospital in Australia and to this end we are proud to be working with the Royal Children’s Hospital Institute on the planning and development of a third Book Bunker scheduled to open at The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne in 2012.
For further information on The Book Bunker – The Scholastic Children's Library, contact
PO Box 579
Gosford NSW 2250
(02) 4329 9255