Following our work with Reading Hour and Allen & Unwin, our Digital Communications Producer, Savannah Indigo, shares her thoughts on why it's important to partner with like-minded organisations and to build community.

We have to acknowledge book industry has been under an enormous amount of pressure, whether it be at libraries, schools or in publishing houses, as we morph into new ways of learning, reading and watching. It’s been hard to observe and experience the struggle, hearing of more jobs made redundant, further resources cut and long-standing independent bookstores shutting down, and feeling the growing tension of uncertainty and fear. 

It’s a scary thing to acknowledge, too, especially when everyone involved in the industry is passionate about what they do. And I do say ‘everyone’, because—truly—I have not met a single person in this industry who doesn’t believe in what they do and who does gives it everything they’ve got.

But that can be our saving grace. We all believe in the companies we’re a part of and in the work that we do. We all champion the importance of Story and stand by its value to our world. 

Some months ago, we approached Reading Hour after a very excitable internal brainstorm about a possible partnership between the organisation and Story Box Library. I remember that first conversation vividly. We’d just come across an article in Books&Publishing, who were promoting new books to be published as part of Reading Hour. As a team, we started calmly discussing what we could do for the initiative and we spent two hours getting to the point of excitement that when our CEO came into our meeting, we yelled our ideas at her. All at once. And all she could take from our initial yelling was ‘Reading Hour’. 

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We felt enlivened and energised at the idea of a new partnership, what it could offer us as a business and what it could do for readers all over Australia. 

We’d already fostered some incredible partnerships since the business launched in 2013, including those with our publishing partners—Penguin Random House, Allen&Unwin, Scholastic Australia, New Frontier, Magabala Books and Fremantle Press, to name a few—and organisations such as ACLF and ALIA, and we were equally excited about a partnership with Reading Hour.

Every time we find a new connection, whether it be with another publisher or an organisation like Reading Hour, we’re newly inspired by what we can accomplish as a collective and amazed by the never-wavering passion that still thrives in an industry going through a rough time.

It’s always Story that brings us together; it’s a love for words, a need to understand others’ experiences and a want to inspire imagination, compassion and learning; it’s what gets us all through. 

We don’t necessarily know all of what’s to come for the industry and that is a frightening thing, but we can put our faith in stories as our way forward—both as an industry and a society. 

You can learn more about our work with Reading Hour at readinghour.org.au/storyboxlibrary.