Unley Publications : Unley Life Spring 2016
Fifty years ago Unley Library was but a pale shadow of today’s Unley Library Service, not just in the number of books and reference materials it contained, but in the range of services and state of the art 21st century facilities that residents enjoy today. The person who can describe those early days best is Liz Burge, who after leaving high school joined the State Library of SA, where she trained initially as a cataloguer before studying to be a librarian. For a while she worked for the library’s Country Lending Service, something dear to her hear t as she had grown up in the Barossa where, as a young reader, she eagerly awaited her monthly ration of four books sent from Adelaide. In 1966 she was asked to establish a library in Unley, one of the first suburban libraries to be established, in a small shopfront on Unley Road opposite the Council chambers. “ We had to learn by the seat of our pants,” Liz says, “because we had to figure the whole thing out from scratch. It felt like a big responsibility and we had to work hard, both physically and in trying to read peoples’ minds to work out what they would want from their library.” Liz says the library was half fiction and half non-fiction. “ T here was no internet so libraries were the first por t of call for information about anything. We had to know where all the resources were so we could steer people in the right direction.” It’s a very different situation for today’s librarian Hanlie Erasmus, who joined Unley Library in 2005 after an earlier, exciting career as a librarian in South Africa where she worked as a travelling reference librarian visiting remote African villages in a book bus. It was there that she learnt that libraries weren’t just about books but about lifelong learning. “ We’re no longer gatekeepers and custodians of knowledge,” she says. “ We’re now teachers of skills, enabling people to access information at their fingertips through technology. “People are now using their library in many different ways, not just to borrow books.” But when it comes to books and other lending materials, the sky’s now the limit through the state’s One Card network. “Now our library users have access not just to the 77,000 items we have at Unley, but literally to millions of items across the state,” says Hanlie. 18 Unley Libraries celebrate golden anniversary Record. Rewind. Relive. Unley Libraries 50th Birthday Festival Liz Burge (left) and Hanlie Erasmus.
Unley Life Winter 2016
Unley Life Summer 2016