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Visitors to outback Queensland help expand lo -

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TONY EASTLEY: For children living in outback Queensland, the chance to get to a library is limited.

But a Books for the Bush program running in the western town of Longreach is seeing hundreds of books being donated by grey nomads and tourists as they travel the inland - no doubt some of them going all the way from Broome across to the top end of Queensland.

From Longreach, Chrissy Arthur reports.

JENNY TULLY: I never envisaged - you know there wasn't a town we flew over yesterday, it was just stations. And that's why I came here because it just hit home that these kids are so isolated.

CHRISSY ARTHUR: Jenny Tully from north-east Victoria is one of the thousands of grey nomads who travel outback Queensland during winter, and call in to the Longreach School of Distance Education.

TOUR GUIDE: Good morning everyone.

TOUR GROUP: Good morning.

CHRISSY ARTHUR: The school draws its students from an area about twice the size of Victoria.

Jenny Tully says getting a first-hand appreciation of the isolation prompted her to visit the school to see how School of the Air works.

CHILD: A monkey.

TEACHER: Yeah, well thought of, a monkey can go upside down, what clever thinking. I like it. Good girl.

CHRISSY ARTHUR: It's a regular morning on-air class for students who are in their first year at the school.

TEACHER: That's really good listening Henry Scott.

CHRISSY ARTHUR: Colleen Nicholls co-ordinates the tours for the school's P and C Association. She says the Books for the Bush program has captured the attention of urban visitors who are buying resources to add to the children's library.

COLLEEN NICHOLLS: So we found that our library, it was not getting fully stocked full of the books that we needed. Through this program, we can supply the children with the newest books. Just amazing how compassionate our visitors really are. We had a gentleman last year who actually just gave us $200 and said I want all these in books.

CHRISSY ARTHUR: Ms Nicholls says book donations in the past six months are up by 33 per cent on the same period last year - and that's helping to divert funding to other areas.

COLLEEN NICHOLLS: I think it's because it's just a lovely program, I mean you know where your money is going. I mean everyone wants to donate, there is a lot of people who want to just donate. The way that we deliver our lessons and conduct our school is a little bit more expensive, is a very high use in technology. So taking the funding and putting it in more areas that are going to benefit our children, well that is basically what this Books for the Bush program allows us to do.

CHRISSY ARTHUR: Mother of three Rachael Webster has children studying via the School of Distance Education from the family station, west of Longreach.

RACHAEL WEBSTER: The opportunity that it provides for the kids is amazing, they've just got access to so many books, and also I think it is just a great lesson for the children to learn about the generosity of others. It gives in a lot of ways.

CHILD: I'd like to be a spider.

TEACHER: Ah would you?

CHILD: Uh-huh.

TEACHER: I love it. Good work

CHRISSY ARTHUR: After experiencing the school lesson, Jenny Tully is just one of the visitors happy to help.

JENNY TULLY: Ah I thought it was just a very practical way to help them after coming here and seeing what they do. It's magic.

CHRISSY ARTHUR: And while the tourists continue to roll through the outback, the school's P and C is hoping the generosity continues and the books keep flowing.

TONY EASTLEY: Certainly hope so. Chrissy Arthur with that report.