All In The Family

By Maryanne Macintosh, mother of five grown children and soon to welcome my eleventh grandbaby into the world. Other loves include music and gardening.

My mother was a librarian at the Miramar Library before she married and so visits to the local Christchurch Library when we were young was scheduled in to our family activities as must dos.

Mum was a reader. I still remember her standing at the stove with her nose in a book and stirring whatever she had cooking there. Dad was a great storyteller especially at bedtime, so we grew up with a love of books.

I trained as a primary school teacher at Christchurch Teacher’s College and of course teaching reading was high on my list of important goals. But I loved to share books with my classes. They especially loved the Enid Blyton ones, The Wishing Chair, The Magic Faraway Tree and others. It was a great bribe to get them to be on task with the promise if we get everything done we would read another  chapter before the bell goes.

The skill of reading became even more important to me when I trained in the inaugral SPELD Teachers course with Dr Jean Seabrook in Christchurch in 1975. I realised then what a disability it was for children and adults who couldn’t read and it became a great joy and pleasure as I taught students, both children and adults to read. Seeing their confidence and self-esteem grow was truly rewarding.

I retired from teaching to raise my family. I did continue to be a remedial reading teaching working from home during those years. During these years my husband applied and got a teaching position at Tereora College in Rarotonga. While we lived there I continued to teach remedial reading to a large number of children and adults – both local and ex-pats. I also did some relief teaching at the local English-speaking primary school, Avatea School. When I was there I noticed they had a library which was very rundown and in complete disarray. I asked the Principal if I could sort it out. He was very positive about my offer, so a group of ex-pat mums worked there a couple of times a week re-establishing order and freshening the collection. I recall saying to my huusband that when I return to full time work I would like to work in a school library. I didn’t know how prophetic that was going to be.

We were still living in Rarotonga in 1993 when my husband died very suddenly. I and my five children had to return to New Zealand and I was suddenly thrust into the role as bread-winner for my family. At the time of his funeral my sister told me of a library job that was being advertised at Sacred Heart College in Napier. I told her that would be my dream job. She applied for it and asked if there was any chance we could job share. The Board of Trustees agreed and so I began as Library Assistant in October 1993 and my sister was Library Manager. I combined my library work with some part-time teaching at school as well becoming the ESOl teacher which I loved doing.

I loved my library work too and when in 2008 my sister and her husband transferred to Wellington I applied for the job as Library Manager. I have been in this role since then and still love every minute of it.

Every year I faced new challenges and as I have met the challenges have had an enormous sense of  satisfaction  in  the personal growth and the development of skills.
I feel truly blessed being in such a lovely and supportive work environment and doing a job I just love.

Share your path to librarianship.

One Comment

  1. Cath Sheard says:

    What a great story; I love how innovative you and your sister were in splitting the role.

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