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"Without the library I would never have published my espionage novel.”

Mention the library and most people will think about borrowing a book rather than publishing their own.

But for Geelong woman, Prue Moriarty, the library helped her to finish writing and publish her own book, The Hunt for Code Polaris, a psychological-thriller about espionage during the Cold War.

“Without the library I would never have published my espionage novel. Librarians told me where to get legal advice. They were brilliant helping me with my novel configurations,” Prue says.

Today’s public libraries look different and do things differently to their 20th century predecessors, and provide a great example of a public institution which has successfully evolved to meet the needs of a changing society. Beyond their traditional role of housing physical collections, libraries and library staff are uniquely placed to provide access to authoritative and reliable information – a role which is becoming increasingly critical in today’s age of ‘fake news’ and information overload.

Prue says she was struggling with some of the technical layout elements for her book, which was when Tim and Kylie – Information Resource Librarians at her local branches – stepped in.

“I didn’t know about the layout and how to make it look right – they helped with so many practical things,” says Prue.

Prue had a question about her legal obligations with the book, but when she asked a librarian for assistance with her query, she didn’t expect anything more than an “off the cuff response”. However, the librarian went away and came back ten minutes later with the details of an organisation, Arts Law Centre of Australia, who were able to provide her with the in-depth and qualified legal advice she needed. She says this is just one example of the librarians going above and beyond to help her.

Related: Read about how libraries changed Soraya, Mustafa and Murtaza’s lives here. 

Prue says the library has changed her life in many ways. She moved to Geelong from Melbourne about three years ago and says the experience of relocating was somewhat overwhelming.

“The main library [Geelong Library & Heritage Centre] somehow gave me a sense that everything would be okay. The librarians are exceptionally welcoming,” says Prue.

When Prue secured a job as a counsellor, she scoured the shelves and found useful and current psychological reference books that helped prepare her for her new role. On top of the practical uses of the library, Prue also likes using the library for a more traditional purpose: borrowing books, especially about gardening and accessing the extensive DVD collection. She also attends some of the author encounters and events.

“I have attended numerous outstanding author encounters, mostly to packed audiences – a highlight was author of The Dressmaker, Rosalie Ham. I also have become a great fan of Word for Word National Non-Fiction Festival.”

There’s really no doubt Libraries Change Lives. Want to know more about what you can do to put your voice behind the campaign? Share your story about how the library changed your life, in any way big or small. Or if you're not already a member, simply join your local library today - it's free and easy. 

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