Like organisations around the world, Geelong Regional Libraries has been significantly impacted by COVID-19, both operationally and financially. The pandemic has also provided us with a unique opportunity to reflect on our activities; to improve what we do to ensure we are best meeting the needs of our communities and stakeholders.
Following the launch of Connecting & Thriving, our Library Plan 2021-25, we have undertaken a thorough review of the Word for Word Festival. After consulting with our Festival Working Group and other key stakeholders, the Festival has been reimagined to reflect our new ‘Covid-normal’, with a smaller and more locally-focussed two day event, designed to celebrate and showcase our region’s amazing creative and literary talent.
Introducing The Local Word: Regional Showcase for Writers and Readers
After the long hiatus from in-person events that we’ve all experienced over the past two years, The Local Word will focus on bringing our diverse local writing communities together. Involving those living across the G21 region, this regional writers and readers showcase will feature writers’ workshops, panel discussions on popular aspects of the writing process, and author events showcasing locally based emerging and experienced authors. There will also be plenty of social and networking time, and chances to explore collaborative opportunities.
In light of the rising levels of illness across the community, Geelong Regional Libraries, in consultation with our sponsors and Advisory Group, has made the difficult decision to postpone the Local Word Regional Showcase.
The Australian Government has predicted that the peak of COVID-19 and ‘flu infections will hit the community in mid to late August 2022. The ongoing nature of the Pandemic means there are still many questions about the viability of running a large-scale literary event at this time and the safety of our customers, staff and communities is, and always has been, our number one concern.
While examining our options, we did consider taking the event online, however it was felt that the very nature of this event –designed to bring our diverse local writer communities together and celebrate our regional creative talent in person – means that a virtual event is not an option. We want everyone to come together face-to-face to share ideas, develop future opportunities, and reconnect our communities.
As a result, we have postponed the Local Word to the weekend of Friday 18 and Saturday 19 November, 2022. It is hoped that by this time, infection rates will have decreased sufficiently for us to proceed safely in celebrating our region’s amazing collective creative talent.
The COVID-19 Pandemic is an ongoing challenge for us all – please join with us in anticipating a brighter spring and summer ahead and in planning to see each other in confidence and in celebration in November 2022.
Further information about the program and the release of tickets for the new dates will be announced soon.
We continue to run a wonderful program of author talks at our libraries and online. To explore these events please visit www.grlc.vic.gov.au/whats-on.
Thank you for your ongoing support.