A $2 million donation to State Library Victoria puts kids in charge

Young Victorians keen to read and learn will be the main beneficiaries of the most recent $2 million donation to State Library Victoria. Announced today by the Minister for Youth, Gabrielle Williams, the gift from John and Pauline Gandel, through Gandel Foundation, will deliver free dedicated literacy programs created for kids, by kids.

The donation will also support the development of the Pauline Gandel Children’s Quarter, a dedicated space for children up to 12 years old, six times larger than the Library’s previous space used for children’s programming, along with a new children’s book collection.

Celebrated Australian children’s authors Andy Griffiths, Leigh Hobbs, Gabrielle Wang and Ailsa Wild participated in the first of a number of co-design workshops with 5–12 year-olds to develop a suite of innovative programs enabled by the donation.

The workshops form part of a broader programming framework developed jointly with Gandel Foundation, the family’s foundation, which incorporates Auslan, languages other than English and livestreaming to enable greater access to children across Victoria.

Minister for Youth, Gabrielle Williams, said the generous donation will help Victorian children develop the skills they need for a successful future.

“With the vision and generosity of Gandel Foundation, State Library Victoria is putting kids in the driver’s seat to help shape a new era of creative and exciting literacy programs.

“When this amazing new Children’s Quarter opens at our State Library later this year, it will offer a range of kid-designed programs that will boost literacy skills, build confidence and spark imaginations,” she said. 

State Library Victoria CEO, Kate Torney, said Gandel Philanthropy is taking a leading role in nurturing a love of reading in young Victorians.

“Reading and storytelling are essential for children’s development and their transition into adulthood. The Pauline Gandel Children’s Quarter and the programming it will deliver will help children’s literacy and creative skills grow and will set the benchmark for other libraries in Australia and around the world,” she said.

John Gandel AC and Pauline Gandel AC, Chair and Trustee of Gandel Foundation, said State Library Victoria was a natural partner.

“We are committed to creating a positive and lasting difference in the lives of children. Research shows 39{496dc0849afb478e77d3c850d8fdf37ee4c69c9d52dd08798bfe94ac30c5f40e} of Australian students don’t meet the National Proficient Standard in reading literacy[1] and 44{496dc0849afb478e77d3c850d8fdf37ee4c69c9d52dd08798bfe94ac30c5f40e} of adults lack the literacy skills required to cope with the complex demands of modern life.[2]

“Literacy is truly a key building block of future academic success. Global trends show that we need to encourage children to read from the earliest age. We are particularly pleased that these programs will also reach children and families from many different cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

“Partnering with the State Library to deliver a dedicated space and a number of innovative children’s programs means we can reach more young people and their families and have a lasting, positive impact on their lives, and on this country as a whole,” they said.

The Pauline Gandel Children’s Quarter is part of the Library’s $88.1 million Vision 2020 redevelopment and is due to open in late spring 2019.

[1] Programme for International Student Assessment, 2015 https://research.acer.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1023&context=ozpisa

[2] Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies, Australia, 2011–2012 http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/Lookup/4228.0main+features992011-2012