After five years helping people finding the right book, Erica Kearnes will be leaving Grenfell Library at the end of the month on Saturday, July 30. She will be heading to work in Yass, as the Yass Valley Council's Library Coordinator.
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She said the last five years have been interesting and she had to hit the ground running when she first came into Grenfell.
Among the jobs she started doing for Grenfell Library included pushing to refurbish the library and put in some of the popular activities.
Some of the other long running programs she introduced was the Junior Book Club, which Erica launched during the COVID-19 years.
She said a major difference of this club is that they don't focus on just one book each month, but actually go through different genres, technologies and authors.
Currently the members of the Junior Book Club are working their way through the shortlist of this year's Book Week finalists.
Erica said one of her biggest challenges was when she first started was getting the community to accept that a lot of stock had to go and be replaced.
"I found things from the 30's to the 50's still stuck in the Library collection. It's amazing what we were still stuck with."
Erica said she started working in the industry because she loves books and also grew up with her mum working for a library in the Hawkesbury region.
While she may love working in libraries, Erica said the qualifications and skills you can earn can give you so many opportunities - sending her across the world to work for the Paralympic Committee, going to Beijing, as well as working for NBN as a contracts administrator and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in IT.
"The skills and qualifications actually takes us further than actually working in libraries so there's a lot of opportunities. It gives you customer service and IT, and those who love to read it's a fun place because you get first option on the books."
Coming out of school, Erica said she went straight to TAFE where she did a qualification to work in libraries - back then it was an associate diploma, but now is a diploma.
Erica said it is a two year full time course that helps you become a library technician where you would be able to run some small library branches on your own, or be basically the second in charge in some larger libraries.
She got her first job in a library near the end of 1998 where she was the second in charge of Mudgee Library and soon became the acting manager the next year.
In 2002, she moved to Nyngan where she managed the library solely there while also studying her undergraduate degree through Charles Sturt University.
By the end of 2003 Erica was back in Sydney working in a library in Warringah, spending four years there before moving on to the Paralympic Committee, spending two years with them.
Erica said she started out working as their website administrator, and was studying a night course at TAFE in website design.
Erica said she met some really great people while working there.
During the Games in Beijing, Erica was responsible for releasing the sports results for the team along with their photos to journals and media houses in Australia.
After a brief stint back at the Paralympic Committee, Erica spent six years at NBN before taking on her role at Grenfell Public Library.
Erica said she would like to give thanks to Glenn Carroll for giving her the opportunity because without him, she may not have gotten back into public libraries after a decade away.
Erica said it can be a lot of hours working at the library, but it was a lot of fun, with a lot of variety.
When she leaves, Erica said she will miss seeing the regular library users.
Before she leaves, Erica has put the finishing touches on the final event that she began planning - The Grenfell Booklovers Festival over a four day period from Thursday, September 15 to Sunday, September 18.
They will be hosting three Australian authors at the festival including Annie Seaton, Darry Fraser and Fiona McArthur. There will be author talks scattered across the weekend, along with a Meet the Author session on the Saturday, as well as a discussion and lunch with the authors on the Sunday.
Along with hosting these well known Australian authors, the Booklovers Festival will also have a trivia night at the Bowling Club and three writers workshops. The results and winners of the short story competition will be displayed at the Festival, with just under three weeks left to enter your submissions.
Erica said they have several authors judging each age category of the short story competition including Jacqueline Harvey for the 8-12 years category, James Roy will be judging the submissions for the 13-17 years category and Annie Seaton along with Karly Lane will jointly judge the 18 years and older category.
Erica said Grenfell Library has done well over the last few years and despite being the smallest library in the state has a great service and she hopes her replacement continues that.
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