Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cathy Shay: another grateful librarian

If you are like me, then you will love libraries and those that make them run each day. I have visited many libraries over the course of my professional writing life, and indeed as a student when I was young. I changed my career because of attending a teacher/librarians conference back in 2006.

I have written my own blogs on library love, libraries I am grateful for, and I've had librarian Michael Jongen blog his gratefuls for me in the past.

Most recently, I was thrilled to meet Cathy Shay over lunch in Newcastle. Cathy (pictured above in the wonderful city of Paris) is a passionate librarian, and I asked if she would like to share what she loved about her job for my readers here. And today, I am pleased to post her gratefuls.

Cathy Shay says: 
I love being a Librarian, it's all that I know, it's all I have ever wanted to do. I have worked in libraries my entire life and have been a qualified Librarian for about 10 years.  To be able to do the one thing you want to do, love to do, need to do is an incredible blessing and for that I am extremely grateful.

I am the Librarian in charge of a medium sized library in a large coastal community. The best part of my job is helping my community find that perfect book to read or that correct piece of information. You have to love books and love people - that's the essence. Literacy is important in the community and whilst educational and helpful, reading can also be a great escape from everyday life. Of course, libraries aren't just about books anymore, we have films, music, magazines and loads of online resources. We also present lots of activities and events in the library and teach the community about technology.

I like to see my library as the lounge room of the community. A busy library with music playing, computers being used, people napping, having lunch, or reading the paper, and keeping the staff on their toes is my idea of heaven. It makes me sad when people don't know about or use their local library or even worse, don't they realise what joy they are missing out on? 

I'm passionate about ensuring everyone gets the same opportunities in life and am thrilled to be able to provide that assistance free of charge to those that may not have access to books, technology and the services we provide.  And I still can't believe I get to work with Jane Austen, Helen Garner, William Shakespeare, Nick Hornby, Bob Dylan, Martin Scorsese, Alfred Hitchcock, Anita Heiss and the rest of the cool kids on a daily basis.

You can check out Cathy’s blog here

And you can follow Cathy on Twitter here

Are you are librarian or someone who loves libraries, then please leave a comment and let me know what you love most about the ‘library life’ and the best library you’ve ever been to and why!


Maree Kimberley said...

I love librarys & librarians are awesome! The new state library of Queensland is a beautiful space, but my all-time favourite library visiting experience would have to be going to the New York public library in Manhattan. Even though I couldn't borrow books, it's such an amazing building (& I swear I saw ghostbusters...)

Joanna said...

As a teacher librarian I get to connect students and staff to the resources they need. Teacher librarians not only share their knowledge of great reads, but also demonstrate how to... How to search efficiently, how to choose information wisely, how to think more deeply, how to link ideas and explore new sources. Every day is different, filled with texts, media, methods, solutions and wonder.

Yeah, I like my job.

Unknown said...

As someone who knows Cathy, and is also a Librarian (though unfortunately not currently practising), her passionate contribution pretty well sums up life as a librarian in a public library.

It's all about knowing your community, understanding your community and serving your community.

Public libraries enrich our communities and help people to grow, learn, escape and imagine.

The people who work in them are matchmakers - introducing us to new ideas, new worlds, new lives, new futures. 

What's not to like??

PinkPatentMaryJanes said...

Libraries are pretty much my idea of Nirvana - a building dedicated to books? What's not to love? People who fill their days with passion make my heart sing - thank you for sharing Cathy's story.

Cathy said...

Thank you all for taking the time to add your story to our post.

Hi Maree, I think the State Library of Qld is an amazing space too, I also was in love with all the Technology at The Edge. And I too have visited NY Public Library, it's THE Library isn't it!?! ohhh to work there...

Teacher Librarians are so important Joanna, I have a great working relationship with the wonderful Teacher Librarian at my local high school and we often collaborate on projects for the children of her school/my library's area.

Thanks Simon, I like the matchmaker term, that is so true! That's my favourite thing, introducing someone to something new or new to them. Especially when they come back later to tell you how much they loved it!

PPMJ - Nirvana it is, I sometimes walk down the long corridor in 'my' library and have to pinch myself that I get to work where I do...lucky! Yes, we do a lot of different and new things, but really it's all about the books!

Rollo said...

My first Library job was at the Waverley Library at Bondi Junction in 1986. I remember Patrick White coming in to pick up an Interlibrary Loan.

Cathy said...

That is impressive! What was he like?

Dr Anita Heiss said...

Oh I really wanted to add that I absolutely LOVE the State Library of QLD. I have had my own launches there and have attended many, many fabulous events, including spoken word in the cafe. Amazing venue overlooking the river. Stunning.

My own local library is the Bowen Library in Maroubra and it remains a fave, having written books there.

And of course the NYC Public Library is fabulous, loved the scenes from Ghostbusters and also included in my novel MANHATTAN DREAMING.

Long live libraries, librarians and library lovers!

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