Public Librarians touch many people's lives

Public Librarians touch many people's lives
Hilary Beaton
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Public Librarians touch many people's lives

Otorohanga farewells Library Manager, Sarah Osborne!

Public Librarians play an influential role in their communities, especially if they are the manager of a small regional library. One such librarian of a small, rural library is Sarah Osborne, Otorohunga's Library Manager for over 15 years.

Sarah describes her career pathway as “ordinary”, rather than distinguished, and yet her community knows she has touched many lives over the years. Enter any public library around New Zealand and you enter a world of possibility.

"Rural libraries play an equally important role as those in larger towns and cities," says Sarah “I have felt privileged to have been a part of the Otorohanga District Council. Our Council management and elected members are very supportive of the library, so I feel positive that a new Library Manager will have opportunities to develop the service as community requirements evolve.”

Sarah began working as a Library Assistant in 1981 at the User Services Division of the National Library in Wellington. She moved into public libraries in 1985, working for the Kāpiti Coast District Libraries at both Paraparaumu and Waikanae.

Asked what her career highlights were, Sarah says when APNK was first introduced to the library in 2008, bringing a whole new customer demographic through the doors. The Aotearoa People’s Network Kaharoa (APNK) mission is for all New Zealanders to access the online world using a good quality internet connection. In collaboration with New Zealand public libraries, APNK works to make this a reality by providing free and facilitated access to the internet and computer technology for all.

Sarah also says joining the Kōtui consortium in 2015 streamlined and enhanced administrative systems, essential for any library but for a small library, it transformed the workloads of staff and access to library users for the better. Kōtui is a shared service that provides New Zealand public libraries with an affordable, efficient option to help them manage their collections, and includes leading-edge functionality for library users that would otherwise have been unaffordable to many councils.

Sarah is moving back to the Kāpiti Coast at Labour Weekend (with my 91-year-old father). “It will be good to be closer to family.”

 But her library life doesn’t stop there. She says she is looking forward to a continuing involvement with the profession through undertaking contract marking of library studies papers for the Open Polytechnic.

From all of us, Sarah, manaakitanga!


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