TEAM: Casino Library staff are preparing to celebrate the service's 40th birthday.
TEAM: Casino Library staff are preparing to celebrate the service's 40th birthday.

40 years reading the community's needs

THE Richmond-Upper Clarence Regional Library is celebrating 40 years serving the community.

Manager Gary Ellem said the library has 16,576 registered members at the Casino, Kyogle, Evans Head, Coraki and Mobile libraries.

Over 139,000 patrons and visitors use the libraries each year, and in each case the library caters for the the traditional library service of books for recreation and education as well as magazines, DVDs, music CDs, newspapers as well as a number of online resources. The library also offers a range of e-books, e-audiobooks and e-magazines.

As part of their service to the community as a safe social hub, the precinct also provides a number of programs for both adult and children, including Baby-bounce, Bookworms, Playdough Playtime, Lego Club, Adult-colouring-in, Book Club, Recipe Club and their Tech-savvy programs.

The library also provides free internet and wifi services, plus the Casino and Kyogle Libraries also have a great outreach program.

Mr Ellem said the library's role has changed over the last 40 years.

"Libraries are a lot more than just books though they still are a major part of our services,” he said.

"Programs and technology now play a major part as core library services.

"Libraries are also a meeting hub.

The manager said the internet was the biggest change and challenge for libraries when it was introduced in 1998.

"The library, going from a card system to an automated library management system in 1993, was also a massive change, as was the introduction of the mobile library in 2003.

"The mobile library allowed the smaller rural communities the opportunity to have a library service.

Mr Ellem said the venue is also a community hub

"Here people can meet, feel comfortable and are made welcome,” he said.

"For a lot of people the library has become a third space where they can escape, study, read and relax.”

THE Richmond-Upper Clarence Regional Library currently has eight full-time , four permanent part-time, three library and customer service, and casual staff members.

Long serving staff and volunteers

Over the 40 years there has been 150 staff working at all the branches and the library has been very fortunate to have had the assistance of over 300 library volunteers.

Senior Library Assistant Cheryl Walters as well as being one of the original staff members was also the longest serving staff members working for 39 years (1974-2013).

Manager Regional Library, Gary Ellem also chalks up 39 years this year.

Other long time employees include Deputy Regional Library Manager, Sylvia Cooling (26 years), Corinne Hughes has worked at the Kyogle Library for 21 years, Roxine Gittoes 20 years (1998-2018), Maureen Moffitt worked for 27 years at the Kyogle Library before retiring in 2000.

Leonie Felton worked at the Kyogle and Casino Libraries for over 20 years.

Mary Roach, who was also one of the original staff members, retired in 2018 after working full-time, part-time and as a casual.

Among other current staff members, Cheryl Thompson has worked for 18 years at the Kyogle Library and Sue Bland has worked at Casino for 13 years.

Former staff member Gaye Chelman worked for 17 years at the Casino Library and former Mobile Library Operator Bill Meuffels did 14 years on the mobile library, while Marion Connerty worked at the Evans Head Library for 13 years

The Richmond-Upper Clarence Regional Library has won the prestigious Centre of Excellence Awards (the only library in NSW to do so) and Bill Meuffels won the Mobile Library Operator of the year in 2010.

Join the celebrations at Casino Library on Thursday, from 4-5.30pm.



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