Ōtorohanga welcomes a new library manager.
With 34 years of experience in public libraries, Heather Taylor is delighted to be working in this small rural community.
Heather Taylor is a country girl at heart. “I love small town life, she says, I’m not a city girl.”
People smile and say hello as you walk down the street holds true for Ōtorohanga, as it does for many small New Zealand towns. On her second day on the job, Heather wandered into a real estate agent and introduced herself, and was immediately asked. “Are you the new library manager? “
“I love that sense of community. There is no anonymity. It is not for everyone, but for me, I feel welcomed.”
Heather grew up in Stratford, where she landed her first library job when her mother suggested she give it a go. To start as a library assistant was a good way to learn the ropes. But it was the bigger impact that libraries make that interested Heather.
“I had no idea what the work involved but I liked people and helping with their requests. I still do. “
Heather has seen the evolution of libraries beyond books to become more about making connections, and upskilling people in a range of literacies.
“Over time, I saw how a library could make a difference to a community. I wanted to be a part of that, to set direction, grow people and develop the next generation of librarians.”
This led her to take the role of branch manager, Opunake, then up to Puke Ariki New Plymouth, back to Stratford as the library manager before she headed off to Tararua where she headed up the team for 13 years.
“The advent of the internet, and helping communities take up successive technologies has been the biggest challenge. “
What of the future?
“Nothing stays the same, what we are doing, how are we doing it. COVID taught us that. The real question is ‘What does the community want?’, and I am looking forward to finding out.