Introducing Our Yarning by Library For All
Our Yarning is a free digital library of culturally relevant education resources created by and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Partnering with communities, we are creating 500 books written by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal children, putting learning in their hands. Delivered with our offline and off-grid technology, together we can pave the path of literacy attainment across Australia to unlock educational opportunities for the next generation.
Our Yarning aims to address the disproportionate impact of illiteracy and low education attainment among Aboriginal children and young people by providing access to stories and reading material that mirrors their own, varied experience of the world and their diverse identities across Australia.
Reading is the foundational skill that sets a child up for success throughout their literacy and learning journey. Confident young readers become engaged lifelong learners. The gift of story is a powerful and bonding way of ensuring children learn about the world in which they live – and gain the literacy they need to learn and thrive as they grow older.
Culturally relevant, age-appropriate books
Our Yarning will give children access to stories written by Aboriginal people, reflecting the diversity of their lived experiences. Our aim is to fill the library with 500 books, a number research shows is an optimum starting point to cover reading levels and children’s interest so they can create lifelong habits of reading.
Written by Aboriginal people for stronger communities
The stories reflect the many and varied identities and lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including people living in urban, rural and remote Australia, giving children the opportunity to see their own experiences mirrored on the pages of the books, which will be colourful, engaging learning resources.
A free, enduring resource
Books created will be available on Library For All’s app, free to anyone on Android devices. As the collection grows children will be able to access more and more titles. The free Our Yarning app will support existing programs across many sectors to deliver greater impact and can be used in all kinds of settings – starting with schools, community centres and at home.
Our digital platform for integrated learning
Our Yarning can be accessed on Library For All’s offline, off-grid Spark Kits, equipped with 40 tablets and loaded with the library as well as Library For All’s independent literacy and numeracy learning program Elevate, teacher dashboards and the backend needed to ensure a safe, secure environment for children.
Yarning is a term used for having a chat and sharing stories around the campfire – this name captures our vision for communities to thrive by sharing stories to grow in literacy.
Aboriginal people are the oldest surviving culture on earth and have handed down history, lore, culture and life experiences through stories since time immemorial. Children are raised hearing stories of survival, humour and lessons of life. The gift of story is a powerful and bonding way of ensuring children learn about the world in which they live – and gain the literacy they need to learn and thrive as they grow older.
Crucially, Our Yarning empowers Aboriginal communities to create and share the stories that will educate their children, now and for generations to come.
We know that children achieve more when they begin their learning journey reading stories that reflect the lived experiences of their community and their history. With access to culturally appropriate, age appropriate, early grade reading materials, children can develop a love of reading from their pivotal early years.
Amplifying Aboriginal Voices and Creatives
We will facilitate workshops and mentoring with different groups, giving voice and opportunity to Aboriginal creatives across Australia. Writers’ Workshops are our unique tool to both gather stories for the Our Yarning collection and engage adults in the value of literacy. Our expert facilitators work with groups to create books, these groups can be in community, or from all kinds of settings – aged care homes, prisons or teacher professional development sessions are just a few examples. We’re hoping to secure funding to offer Illustrator Residences, to support the creative careers of emerging Aboriginal artists.
Dr Julie Owen
Our Yarning is led by our Cultural Advisor Dr Julie Owen. Julie comes from the Nurrunga and Ngarrendjeri Nations of South Australia, with extensive work experience and family ties across 4 states. Her work has extended to rural, remote and urban roles in teaching, health, project management, counselling, and community development spanning over thirty years. With a love of country and passion for her culture, Julie brings extensive knowledge of Aboriginal issues, historic and cultural impacts and a desire to share the importance of education and positive change.
Our goal is to reach 95,000 Aboriginal children over the next five years, and to engage 550 Aboriginal adults writing and illustrating the collection, through workshops across 50 communities. By empowering communities through education, the next generation can break the cycle of disadvantage.