Topic: Memories - Celebrating 125 Years of Public Library Service in Hamilton

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In October 2009 we celebrated the 125th anniversary of Public Libraries in Hamilton. Here we have photos, stories and quotes from customers and staff from over the years.

" Week to week there's always something new happening in our libraries and I've certainly seen us come a long way from a book borrowing facility to a community hub where something is happening all the time."
- Cazna Payne (Glenview Library Manager)

"Back in those days we still had signs up that said ‘Silence' 
-Margaret Garden (former Librarian and Frankton Branch Manager)

On Annabelle Horton -  Librarian Municipal City Council Building Library:
"Annabelle Horton used to wear hi-heeled shoes and they would mark the lino. Mr Lenz would always pull her up about this. Annabelle would not not give them up for all the tea in China. Miss Glenn tried with her but Miss Glenn was certainly not having Mr Lenz stepping in interfering in the discipline of her staff - she would back her staff."
- Marjorie Dyer (former Chartwell Librarian)

"The collection has changed towards having more commercial things such as DVDs - wider range of books. Can go into the archives room and look at New Zealand videos. I think it's good because that's the media of the day".
- Murray Frost (Customer)

On introducing computers to Hamilton:
"A weird thing to do in a ‘hic' town like Hamilton with mainly country bumpkin farmers, we introduced computers"
- Peter Merz (Former Art Centre Librarian)

On describing the William Paul Hall building:
"Big old aircraft hanger"
- Sheila Dodd (Customer)

"One of the scariest moments each week for my friend Shirley and I was our weekly meeting with Mrs Pickard.
Mrs Pickard taught us a lot about libraries and kept us on our toes"
"It is a credit to her that both I and Shirley (now working in Brisbane Libraries) stayed with libraries for so long".
- Cazna Payne (Glenview Library Manager)

On former City Librarian Miss Glenn:
"Always a good feeling working with Miss Glenn because she always made us enthusiastic about the people coming in"
- Julie Shaw (Former Librarian)

When Margaret first started at Frankton Library there was a subscription system operating - "It cost 15 shillings a year for a full-membership or they could pay 5 shillings a quarter. Most paid quarterly which meant you had to write a receipt and mark their library card. That was time-consuming. They could borrower two books but if they wanted to take out more they would have to pay 4b extra for each one. The free ones had a black stamp and the paid ones had a red stamp."
- Margaret Garden (Former librarian and Frankton Branch Manager)

On Dame Hilda Ross: (Art Centre in William Paul Hall Building named after late Hamilton MP)
"She was a lovely friendly lady, she just got things done".
- Marjorie Dyer

On Jeff Downs (then New Zealand Librarian)
"He just knew every book - you could say ‘It was blue' the size, and he would find it without looking on the catalogue. Handy for me as I just remembered what a book looked like - you can't do that on a catalogue ‘That human element'. Your brain thinks differently than a computer".
- Murray Frost (Customer)

On Concerts;
"At exam time pupils would perform their pieces before they actually did their exam. Singers - Jennifer Hartstone was one, she later became president of the Hamilton Operatic Society. There were pianists. A new piano was bought especially for the Art centre - a Petrof.
Had a special all New Zealand Concert around 1980. Douglas Lilburn [Composer - music teacher] sent a letter thanking the library for arranging the concert."
- Peter Merz (Former Art Centre Librarian)

"Left school at thirteen and mostly self-taught by reading books. Used to take bicycle lamps to bed and have a book under the bed clothes and shine the lamp on the books. I have never got over that love of books even today"
-Sheila Dodd (Customer)

On one occasion Margaret was on level two helping a man and a rat popped its head out of the top pocket of his jacket. Margaret was stunned and looked at it in disbelief. The man said "Is the rat allowed to be in the Library?" Margaret said facetiously "Only if it is a member of the library" and thought nothing more of it.
At afternoon tea one of the level one staff with steam coming out of her ears said "You think you've heard everything - this fellow came in and tried to register his rat as a member of the library!"
- Margaret Garden (Former librarian and Frankton Branch Manager)

Library Staff photos

Bridge Street Library

Victoria Street South Library 1900s

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Memories - Celebrating 125 Years of Public Library Service in Hamilton


City:Hamilton
Subject:Librarians, Anecdotes, Frankton Library, Hamilton, New Zealand, Libraries and Communities, Hamilton City Libraries (N.Z.), and Public Libraries, New Zealand, Hamilton, History
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License
Memories - Celebrating 125 Years of Public Library Service in Hamilton by Eurobaz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License