Librarian in association's good books

 THE latest accolade for Central West Libraries manager Jan Richards is the highest for the passionate librarian and was brought about by her colleagues. 

The staff at Central West Libraries thought Mrs Richards had won the lottery when she received a phone call in December informing her she had been made an Australian Library and Information Association fellow. 

As a former president of the association, Mrs Richards knows the stringent process the group goes through before  bestowing the honour, and it is not something they do annually. 

“It has to be peer nominated and you are never told who nominated you of course,” she said.

Mrs Richards said she was humbled by the honour but was proud that her passion for her job was recognised. 

Mrs Richards picked up a job at Central West Libraries when she finished school and developed a love for the variety of the work. While she did not stay at the library her entire career, she did end up back there. 

Librarians are not people who sit in chairs and read all day, or file books and dust, it is a job far more intense, she said. 

“I was told once it must be a good, clean job for a girl,” she said.

The move to a digital world keeps Mrs Richards busy but she remembers her favourite days as a young librarian. 

“You don’t get to sit and read all day, it is really an adventure,” she said. 

“You could be helping with story time then you could be helping a local family or historian with an inquiry and then it’s like a big treasure hunt.

Then you could be helping a child with their homework.”

Mrs Richards is the chair of the ALIA public libraries advisory committee, a member of the International Federation of Library Associations standing committee on public libraries and a member of the Library Council of NSW.

All those titles, but she is not in it for the recognition. 

“I’ve meet some of my closest friends working in the library,” she said.

“They’re all wonderful.”

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