Lakes Mail founder on loan at Human Library
The former Lakes Mail editor shared stories from his journalism career as one of the living books at Avondale’s free Human Library on April 7.
David Quick founded the then South Lakes Mail in 1996 before retiring as editor seven years after negotiating the newspaper’s sale to Fairfax Media. Member for Lake Macquarie Greg Piper has described the Brit as a “strong advocate for the area and a local oracle, with a keen wit to boot.”
Quick agreed to feature in the catalogue because the Human Library is an “innovation, pure and simple.” Libraries are integral to learning, he says, but “many people think they’re moribund. So, it’s important to do all we can to fan the flames.”
What is also important? Rediscovering the power of conversation. “Communicating without an ulterior motive helps us build on experiences, which in turn get swapped and lead to deeper knowledge and stronger connections,” says Quick. He believes it is even better than sharing a story, although Quick’s is interesting.
Born under a bed in East London during the Blitz in 1944, Quick had a youthful ambition to work as a truck driver in Europe, a coal miner and a steeplejack within two years of becoming an engineer apprentice. He turned his trucking dream into reality and completed an apprenticeship, in journalism. Joining the Sydney Daily Mirror as a casual journalist after coming to Australia in 1982, Quick became a section editor for travel, motoring, electronics and real estate within two years. Then came a call to Romania, possibly as the only journalist invited into the country by the government, just weeks before the death of President Nicolae Ceceusescu during the revolution of 1989.
Readers at the Human Library swapped tales with Quick over five 20-minute sessions. They chose living books from a catalogue featuring titles such as “I know what the Anzacs in the trenches thought about God” and “Escaping the killers in South Sudan.” They heard stories of adventure as a Royal Flying Doctor Service pilot in outback Australia and of nursing onboard a Mercy Ship off the coast of Africa. And they met the 2015 Lake Macquarie Citizen of the Year and a Scripture teacher at Morisset High School.
Avondale Libraries presents the Human Library to reduce stereotypes and prejudice and to promote respect for human rights and dignity. “Everyone has a story to tell, a reason for why they act as they do,” says Michelle Down, Library Services Director at Avondale College of Higher Education. She describes these stories as interesting and inspiring—memorable. They “teach us better than any sermon ever could” and remind us “you should never judge a book by its cover.”
Lakes Mail founder David Quick. Credit: David Stewart, courtesy of The Lakes Mail.