Libraries: A mirror of the communities they serve.

We chatted with Rosny Library staff Kim and Alison about their job and their library and uncovered a whole lot of passion for their community. 

Meet Alison Triffett, Information Services Coordinator  

I work in the Rosny catchment, which covers libraries from Bicheno down to Nubeena, so we’ve got six library collections to look after. That involves mentoring and supporting staff in how to look after the books. By ‘look after the books’ I mean ensuring the collection is attractive for clients and making sure they’re not in a ratty condition. I oversee the children’s program – Rock and Rhyme, Storytime, and the school holiday program. 

I work closely with Kim on the different programs we have, as well as if we have an idea for the library. I’m in my 15th year at Libraries Tasmania, and I’ve been at Rosny for around eight. 

I really love my job and the Rosny team are just fantastic. At the end of the day, we go home knowing that we’re doing a good thing. You’re part of providing a service that’s needed in the community. 

Meet Kim Lethbridge, Community Learning Coordinator.  

I look after all the adult learning programs we have, as well as community engagement. I’ve been at Rosny for two years, and in Libraries Tasmania for 10. Part of my role is going out and building relationships in the community and community development. 

We have fantastic staff here who we take out and about to run digital inclusion programs, digital literacy programs out at the neighbourhood houses. A lot of what I do with Alison is developing programs for the library and developing close collaborations for the outside as well. One of our ideas was to take Rock and Rhyme on the road – we chose five tiny parks in different suburbs and ran it under a marquee. It meant a lot of people came into the library after who’d never experienced Rock and Rhyme before.  We go out to schools and run programs and Launching into Learning groups come here.  

We do a lot of basic computing programs. We have an older cohort in the Clarence area who rely on us to help them. They come in with their phones they got Christmas, and they don’t know how to get it started, or we have staff who sit down and help them write a resume. Just getting people online. It’s about giving them confidence, and the tools they need to be able to go away and do it on their own.  We’re just there to give them confidence along the way. 

With everything moving online, and if you’ve never used a computer before, and you’ve got to fill in an online form -where do you go to get support with that. That’s what we provide support with. 

Alison: We’re here from birth to death and everywhere in between!  

Kim: We’ve got you covered! 

Alison and Kim said that every library was unique and not at all a cookie cutter service. They’re not just about the books, either. 

Kim: Each library is different and reflects the needs of its community.  

Alison: People can come and sit and read the newspaper. Sit and use the computer. Sit and use the Wi-Fi on their device.  People can just come in and use our spaces without any questions being asked. You go into a shop or a café, you have to order something, buy something, or try something on. You don’t do that here. You can be yourself and just relax. Kids come here after school and sit and read a book and wait for mum to pick them up after school. Students come here for quiet study. 

Kim: It’s safe, it’s warm and comfortable. We’ve noticed we’re seeing more and more people coming in who are experiencing homelessness. That’s because it is a safe place. You can come in and get warm or stay out of the heat. We have a free tea and coffee station, which has so popular. Tourists are also a big cohort, come here to print boarding passes or make bookings. Our printing service is one of the only ones on the eastern shore, so it’s always busy here with that. 

We’re proud of Libraries Tasmania workers, who like Alison and Kim, serve their communities in so many ways each day. Libraries are truly community hubs and integral for knitting each Tasmanian community together in safe spaces in countless ways. Make sure you support your local library’s Tasmania Reads events this week – don’t miss out! https://libraries.tas.gov.au/tasmania-reads/whats-on/?fbclid=IwAR3wAcehyTACRrBPF8FAKDscxj0cd3J2q59LG-B5AUhoIauc4aLxDKV_alU#articleBody 

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