Five minutes with Kyle Hughes-Odgers

Kyle Hughes –Odgers is a Western Australian artist and author known for his innovative illustrative style and public art.  Dazzling original illustrations from his new book On a Small Island are on display now at the State Library of Western Australia.

We spent some time hearing from Kyle about the inspiration and ideas behind his work. Here’s what he had to say…

Kyle Hughes-Odgers: Photo by Chad Peacock

Kyle Hughes-Odgers in his studio: Photo by Chad Peacock

1. Describe your book making process. Which comes first for you, the narrative, illustration, or the idea?

I had the initial idea for On a Small Island and I could visualise the flow of the artwork and some ideas I wanted to explore. I sketched all the artwork as a story board, then wrote the narrative to work with the images. After this the painting process started. For my next book the narrative has been very clear from the start so I have focused on developing this before starting any artwork. So I don’t seem to have a consistent process when approaching books.

2. You are known for your picture book illustrations and public art. How do you switch between extremes of scale and medium?

I love working across many different scales. I like the challenge of painting buildings and getting to spend time outside but I also love when I have time to be in the studio and work on paintings, drawings and children’s books. The variety keeps me slightly sane and it’s great to change my head space!

3. Your illustrations for On a Small Island include a lot of repetition, geometric shapes, and a variety of textures. How did this style evolve?

Very naturally – I think because I am constantly driven to make new work, the time spent exploring ideas and techniques has helped develop and progress my work to what it is today. I’m sure in another 5 -10 years it will have evolved again.


On a Small Island exhibition. Photo: State Library of Western Australia

4. You grew up in and currently reside in Perth. Is there anything unique or iconic about the Western Australian environment that influences your work? 

There are many unique and iconic aspects to the Western Australian environment, but I’m not sure it has had a direct influence on my artwork. I’m inspired by many different parts of life

5. Would you describe On a Small Island as more universal or more autobiographical?

I wrote it with a universal reach in mind, but I do connect with it personally. I think the idea of being positive and productive to change your situation is something that most people can connect with.

6. In 2012 you collaborated with author Meg McKinlay to produce the book Ten Tiny Things. What was it like to be both author and illustrator with On a Small Island? How was it different or similar to working on Ten Tiny Things?

The artwork process was fairly similar in terms of planning and creating, the writing process was challenging compared to making artwork for Ten Tiny Things. I’m a very visual person and have never thought of myself as a writer so it was something I was really excited about but also cautious because it is very new ground for me.

7. Where do you find your creativity? Which artists and authors inspire you?

I’m really inspired by nature, creativity, human behavior and life! I draw/paint every single day and I really love it. My favourite illustrator of all time (at the moment) is Charley Harper.

A number of original illustrations from On a Small Island have been included in the State Library of Western Australia’s Children’s Literature Collection. The exhibition is on display in The Place on the Mezzanine floor, State Library of Western Australia and is open until 28 February. For more information visit our website.

On a Small Island exhibition. Photo: State Library of Western Australia

National Family History Week 2013 at the State Library of Western Australia

Whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced family history researcher, now is your chance to gain new insights and skills to help you learn more about your ancestors.

National Family History Week

To celebrate National Family History Month (August), the State Library of Western Australia has put together a special program of free workshops, tours and talks from Tuesday 6 to Thursday 8 August 2013.

Are you just starting out on your family tree and need some help with your research? Do you have a shoebox full of photos and letters that you need to sort? Want to learn how you can use apps to enhance your research and save time? Experienced guides and experts will be on hand to help you make the most of the wealth of resources available.

Have a shoebox of records that needs sorting?

Does this look familiar? Learn pointers on how you can start organising your family records and photographs at our special “shoebox” session.

You can also gain deeper insights by attending some of the many fascinating talks and topical sessions on offer. With subjects ranging from British migration, bride ships, Samson House and ANZAC records to collecting in a regional centre, these sessions will appeal to advanced researchers and professionals as well as those with a general interest.

Women on bride ships.

Thousands of young women were brought out to WA in the late 1800s in order to address the imbalance of the sexes in the population. What was it like to be a woman on board a “bride ship”? Find out from Tricia Fairweather on Thursday 8 August.

We encourage you to check out our full events program and pass it on to colleagues, clients, family and friends.

All sessions are free, but bookings are essential. Call 08 9 427 3111 to secure your place for the sessions of your choice.

The State Library wishes to thank staff of the State Records Office and the National Archives of Australia, and the volunteers from the Western Australian Genealogical Society (Inc.) for their generous support.

About National Family History Month

This year, celebrations for National Family History week have been extended to the whole month of August. With chilly temperatures keeping most of us inside this month, it’s the perfect time of year to bunker down in your library and discover new connections to the past. 

Top 10 cycle racing photos from our collection

As a tribute to the Tour de France, a Collection Liaison Librarian here at the State Library has put together a list of some of the best cycle racing photographs in our collection.

Though the bicycles and outfits might’ve changed (high-vis leotard anyone?), the thrill of the race and the cheers of the crowd have continued on.

Cycle race, Mt Magnet to Black Range, c1908

1. Cycle race, Mt Magnet to Black Range, c1908

A Goldfields bicycle racing club of the thirties.

2. A Goldfields bicycle racing club in the thirties

Cyclists at the Perth British Empire and Commonwealth Games train on the road, 1962.

3. Cyclists at the Perth British Empire and Commonwealth Games train on the road, 1962

An English cyclists trains,  1962

4. An English cyclist trains, 1962

Start of a cycle race, Coolgardie,  1898-1899.

5. Start of a cycle race, Coolgardie, c1898-1899

6. The 120 mile road race held in King's Park, 1962

6. The 120 mile road race held in King’s Park, 1962

In the 120 mile road race England's Wesley Mason flashed to the front with 200 yards to go and pip Tony Walsh to the finish, 1962.

7. In the 120 mile road race England’s Wesley Mason flashed to the front with 200 yards to go and pipped Tony Walsh to the finish, 1962

Aero bicycles and cycle racing in Western Australia, c1920s.

8. Aero bicycles and cycle racing in Western Australia, c1920s

 Photograph of a photograph of H. Fraser, Boulder Cycling Club 40 Mile Road Race Club Champion, 1906-1907

9. Photograph of a photograph of H. Fraser, Boulder Cycling Club 40 Mile Road Race Club Champion, 1906-1907

 10. Henk Vogels riding in the Armadale Classic Criterium, ca1992

10. Henk Vogels riding in the Armadale Classic Criterium, c1992

Click here to see these photographs and more on our catalogue.

We need your help! Please take our WAPLDMC ebook survey

We’re looking for feedback on our WAPLDMC (Western Australia Public Libraries Digital Media Collection) ebooks service.  We’d love you to help by completing our 5 minute survey – please click the survey button on the WAPLDMC home page.

If you haven’t already checked out this collection please take a look at the service, check out an ebook or audio book, then come back and complete the survey!

If you are accessing WAPLDMC via an app on a tablet or smart phone, use this link to go directly to the survey.

Thanks for your help!

Get-It! upgrade complete

Get-It!  (online interlibrary requesting) is another way to find and access books, DVDs and other resources from State Library stock and requests can be lodged online through the State Library’s website at Get-It! (

The system used to provide the Get-It service was successfully upgraded. We apologise for any inconvenience caused will the service was unavailable earlier this week during the upgrade (Monday 12 to Thursday 16 October).

edited 16 October by Nick after upgrade successful

Teddy Bear Sleepover for The Reading Hour

The Reading Hour was a special nation-wide event on Saturday 25 August 2012 for the National Year of Reading 2012.

The aim for the Reading Hour was to encourage families to share a book with their child for 10 minutes a day, one hour a week.

We encouraged parents to host their own Teddy Bear Sleepover at home and to enjoy sharing a book with their child (and their teddies!) for ten minutes between 6 and 7pm.

We hosted our own Teddy Bear Sleepover at the library on the day. Teddies and soft toys explored the library and took part in a special story time.

Here is their journey:

Arriving at the State Library of Western Australia!
Arriving at the State Library of Western Australia for the Teddy Bear Sleepover!

Meeting some new friends
Meeting some new friends at the library. It was so fun to meet a tiny robot and a baby manatee, but the dalek scared us a little!

Hanging out the State Library Shop
Hanging out in the State Library Shop.

Checking out Better Beginning's
Checking out Better Beginning‘s “Baby Ways” board book.

Om Nom in the mirror!
Who is this here in the mirror!?

The staff at the State Library are so helpful!
The staff at the State Library are so helpful!

Riding up and down in the lift is lots of fun!
Riding up the lift to explore the library. Wheeee!

The State Library of Western Australia's
Meeting the State Library’s “Books Moove Me Cow!“. She was painted by Western Australian children’s book illustrators!

Meeting some more funny State Library staff
Meeting another State Library staff member. What a funny man.

Accessing e-books via the State Library catalogue
Accessing e-books from the State Library for free!

Checking out the view from the 2nd floor
Checking out the view from the 2nd floor of the State Library.
Look, there’s the BankWest Tower! Can you spot any other Perth landmarks?

Time for a yummy afternoon tea in The PlaceEnjoying afternoon tea in The Place. What’s your favourite afternoon treat?

Story time!
Having fun at a very special Reading Hour story time!

Goodnight everybody!
All tucked in after our bed-time story. Goodnight everybody!

This was a National Year of Reading event.

There are lots of fun and creative ways to share books with your children. If you can manage 10 minutes most nights, your child will have the best chance of becoming a good reader, with all the social and educational benefits that brings.

New access and delivery service

The State Library is pleased to announce the launch of Get-It!

Get-It is a free online service that enables State Library members to access stock held by any public library throughout Western Australia via an online search and request system.

Regional and Remote Library users are able to access a similar service through their local libraries using the current inter library loan service.

Items requested via Get-It! will be available for collection at the Welcome Desk on the ground floor of the State Library. In addition to the free State Library collection option, there is a delivery option available to have items mailed out via express post at a cost of $10 per item.

Get-It! is another way to find and access books, DVDs and other resources from State Library stock and requests can be lodged online through the State Library’s website at Get-It! (

Should a required title not be available in Western Australian state or public library stock, the Get-It! system will search the Libraries Australia catalogue enabling items to be borrowed from the National and State Libraries of Australia as well as other public and institutional libraries. Some of these are fee based loans but members are advised of this and given the choice to reject or continue with the loan request.

The State Library of Western Australia is located in the heart of the Perth Cultural Centre. It preserves and provides access to Western Australia’s published heritage and original historical records. The State Library also provides numerous on-line and e-resources, many of which are accessible from your home PC using your public library membership. To see what else the State Library has to offer you please check out the State Library’s web pages at


Volunteer Accomplishments

The State Library has approximately 90 wonderful people who volunteer for us. They partner with us in all sorts of ways, with all sorts of skills and are vital to the work of the State Library. Over the last year they have had many achievements and without them there is much that would not have been done.

In Collection Services, volunteers in the Liaison, Acquisition and Description teams processed and housed archival material, cleared 27 metres of ephemera, identified photos, created contents lists for Oral Histories, checked catalogues against items to be donated and assisted to make our collections more accessible to clients.

In Preservation and Maintenance volunteers cleaned and re-housed slides, made boxes for preserving materials, cross checked and matched scanned negatives and researched the history of photographs.

Volunteers in Community, Learning and Development were in The Place during story-time and school holidays, set up activities, keeping the noise to a soft roar and entertaining children.

Volunteers in Better Beginnings packed over 5000 packs for the birth to three years program as well as additional packs for the kindergarten pre-primary program. We could not have rolled out the program to libraries without their efforts. They also assisted with the packing of read aloud book sets and discovery backpacks for the Kindergarten pre-primary program.

Volunteers in Research and Discovery numbered and listed performance sets in score order, processed new donations and entered information onto spreadsheets.

Volunteers handed out information, were ushers and promoted future events at:
• WAAPA Concerts
• The Seniors’ Week Concert
• Wednesday Matinees, and
• The WA Week Concert

The Western Australian Genealogical Society volunteers have staffed the WAGS desk on the 1st floor and taken approximately 3 500 enquiries. They also provide invaluable support during Family History Week.

The State Library Foundation volunteer was integral part of their Heritage Mapping Project, widening its scope and making it a more valuable resource.

In Client Services volunteers have given administrative support, assisted the Library in the Discarded Book Sales and shelved a staggering 65 000 discard items in the Shop, assisted with events and helped research speeches.

Many, many thanks to our wonderful volunteers who are worth their weight in gold.

Help Promote Reading @ Love2Read Cafe

46% of Australia can’t read newspapers, follow a recipe, make sense of timetables, or understand the instructions on a medicine bottle.

On Saturday January 21st the Love2Read Cafe opens at the State Library of WA. For five weeks there will be an outdoor reading room with  free events and activities including giant scrabble, music gigs, yoga classes, chalk art, word games, baby rhymetime, family storytime, school holiday activities, author talks, book signings and more.

To help promote literacy and be part of this fun event volunteer at the Love2Read Cafe.

For more information, leave a response here or contact

Popular Choral Music for your choir

Have a look at a new web page for Choral Music on the SLWA site. Here you will also find a list of  choral music including popular, rock, jazz, film, show and television music. It is difficult to isolate these works via a traditional catalogue search, so we’ve done the hard work for you. Also check out some of the internet resources for choirs and choral music in WA and make sure your choir is listed. If you have produced a recording, we’d love to have it in our collection.