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The Disappearing Collection: A Christmas Story

Tiny Santa stands outside the Southern Entrance of the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library. He is a plastic Santa figurine with articulated joints and an oversized head, that was made on a 3D printer using white plastic filament. He has been hand coloured with sharpies, but his clothing is a light reddish-orange colour rather than a bright dark red and the overall affect is charming, rather than tacky.

Tiny Santa wanted to borrow out some Summer Reading books from the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library in Townsville.

"I think I'll check out the Curriculum Collection," said Tiny Santa. "It has many of the best, most fun books for Summer Reading!"

So Tiny Santa went to the Western end of the First Floor of the Mabo Library, where the Curriculum Collection has been for years. But it was completely empty!

Tiny Santa stands in the middle of a wide, empty space with terrible carpet. He is hardly visible, so four arrows point to his location

"I don't understand!" said Tiny Santa, "I've been coming here since the 1990s, and it's always been full of great books. What happened? And just look at this carpet!"

We are close enough to see Tiny Santa in this photo, as he stands on a patch of terrible carpet.

Tiny Santa wasn't deterred. He knew he wanted to find books in the Curriculum Collection, so he went searching to see if he could find out what had happened to the missing collection.

"Detective Tiny Santa is on the case!"

He found some of the books on display on the ground floor of the library. Obviously, the librarians also knew these were the best books for Summer Reading.

Tiny Santa stands on the shelf of a display unit that has several fun looking fiction books on it. It has a sign saying "Curl up with a Fiction" stuck to the shelf, and is decorated with Christmas themed candle holders made from re-used paper taken from a damaged book.

Tiny Santa stands on another shelf of the display, looking at another selection of fiction books with colourful covers. Tina Santa is, indeed, very tiny, and the books are much bigger than him.

He went to the librarians at the desk and asked them what happened to the rest of the collection.

"I love the Curriculum Collection," said Tiny Santa, "It was always one of my favourite parts of the library."

"Oh, ours, too!" said the librarian. "We're getting the space refreshed so it will look new and exciting and fabulous, and then we're putting the best books back there. We think the new Curriculum Collection will be absolutely wonderful!"

"And," said the librarian, leaning close to Tiny Santa as if telling him the most exciting secret, "It's going to have new carpet!"

"Oh, how lovely!" cried Tiny Santa, attempting to clap his hands together, but quite forgetting that they don't reach all the way around his body. He danced a little jig instead.

The librarian told Tiny Santa that the rest of the Curriculum Collection could still be borrowed. The non-fiction was in storage, but if he used One Search he could limit his search to the Curriculum Collection and place a hold on any book he liked. Then he would get an email to tell him it was waiting on the Holds shelf for him.

A screen shot of a search for Dinosaurs in the library's search tool, One Search. The "Physical Collection" option down the side of the screen has been selected, and arrows point to the "Townsville - Curriculum" and "Cairns - Curriculum" options.

A screen shot of the record for "Amazing Facts About Australian Dinosaurs" by Hocknull and Cook. An arrow points to the option to "Request" (this can only be seen if you have logged into One Search)

Tiny Santa stands on the Holds shelf. The sign "Holds" is bold in black against the white wall of the shelves, and the "Amazing Facts About Australian Dinosaurs" book can be seen waiting for Tiny Santa in the background


She also told him that all of the fiction from Curriculum was still on the First Floor, so he could browse through the books to find something he liked. He just had to go right to the other end of the building - to the Eastern end, to look for the books closest to the wall.

"They're right in front of the 001s!" she said.

A photo shows part of the Eastern Wall of the First Floor of the library, with shelves of books holding the fiction from the Curriculum Collection. Tiny Santa stands on a kick stool, looking at the books.

In a closer shot, we see Tiny Santa perusing the fiction books. From these photos, we can see that newish grey carpet and terrible old carpet sit side by side in this part of the library. Perhaps we will have the funding to replace *all* of the terrible carpet in the building one day?


Tiny Santa found the books he was looking for. He was very happy because he was a big Nicholas Fisk fan and he could browse those books quite easily - but he also knew that he could ask the librarians for help at any time if he needed a book he couldn't get to.

Tiny Santa's Summer Reading needs were solved!

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