The time has come that Kathie Olden – Manager Volunteers and Community Participation, has decided it is time to retire after an astonishing 38 years of service to the Library sector. Kathie has been with Myli and its predecessor, West Gippsland Libraries, since 2007.
On behalf of the team at Myli, we would like to acknowledge Kathie – who has always been an excellent sounding board, someone who genuinely cares about people and everyone she works with and has provided us with many laughs thanks to her wicked sense of humour! Kathie’s values and strong ethics in everything she does are among her most valued traits.
Please join us in congratulating Kathie for her significant contribution to libraries and thank her for her hard work, support, and passion for our service. We wish Kathie all the very best for her retirement!
We asked Kathie to share some insights into her career –
‘At one point, I had thought I would make it to forty years in Libraries, but I’ve recently decided that thirty-eight will do. I have worked full-time, for the bulk of those years, with only a couple of periods of long service leave for some travels here and there.
My first Library job was in 1985, at Monash University Main Library (as it was then known) and my first paid employment was a couple of years before that, so it has certainly been a long time in the workforce. In the 80’s, I enjoyed some time in a corporate library, and then transitioned to Public Libraries in the late 80’s. I’ve been able to experience just about everything I wanted to do in Libraries, from driving around in various mobile library vehicles; to managing multiple branches both large and small; meeting and hosting many different authors and ‘creators’ through numerous events and programs – welcoming audiences from 5 up to 500; managing teams large and small; enjoying a placement in Oxford via my graduate Information Management studies at Monash, and more recently enjoying several different incarnations here at West Gippsland Libraries / Myli.
The job titles have ranged from Library Officer, Technical Services Assistant, Bibliographic & Acquisitions Assistant, Relief Officer, Acting Branch Manager at multiple locations, Branch Manager, Cataloguer, Teen Programs at more than one location, Marketing & Promotions Librarian, Mobile Library Driver and operator, Reference Librarian, Principal Librarian, Acting Operations Manager, Manager Library Services Northern, to the current Manager of Volunteers & Community Participation role; and it’s possible I’ve missed a few on the list!
I feel like I’ve done everything from re-binding books and processing, through to talking about books and writing in libraries and on the radio, driving through a herd of escapee dairy cows in a mobile library, meeting people from all over the world, setting up new libraries and collections, embracing multiple new technologies and platforms, supporting and mentoring many staff members and seeing them thrive, supporting members of multiple different communities through both the good times and the bad; with both practical assistance and also by simply listening. This has also included dealing with everything from blocked toilets, fires, plagues of insects, burglaries, floods, and getting kids off the roof!
As a younger person, working in public libraries meant I had to extend myself and learn how to talk to anyone. In some locations, that meant talking to 1,000 people in the same day!
In some ways, welcoming our new colleagues from Cardinia recently, represented a full circle for me; as I worked for what was then known as CCLC (formerly part of Dandenong Valley Regional Libraries) for 14 years initially and then again for a further four years later, with a short but very enjoyable interval at the City of Kingston in between.
I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had with Myli, and with every service where I’ve worked. It has been an honour to work with so many different communities and to work with so many diverse teams. While we provide many varied services, the books, the writing and the sharing of stories inspire me the most. It has been a great career path for me, from the child who first met ‘David Copperfield’ in a public library (Leongatha), to the adult now contemplating time to re-acquaint myself with Dickens and other literary classics.’