1982

I was employed as a Library Technician in training by the Altona City Library on 13 January 1982. This was similar to a being an apprentice, as I worked at the library for 17 and a half hours a week and attended the Library Studies Department at Footscray TAFE for the other 17 and a half hours.  I was interviewed in the library kitchen by Miss Paltridge and Mary Putkunz (Reference Librarian).

When I commenced my work at the library, there was unfortunately no induction programme in place.  I did not know there was a desk roster until a disgruntled fellow worker came into the workroom demanding to know why I hadn’t relieved her!  However, I fumbled along and learned many valuable things about the library world.  Miss Paltridge was always referred to as “Miss Paltridge” by junior staff.  She was an "old-school" librarian, but passionate about libraries and what they could bring to communities.  She was an enthusiastic smoker in the days when smoking was permitted in the workplace.  Her office desk was always piled high with books and paperwork -  so high in fact that if you stood at her office door the only indication that she was seated at her desk was the coil of smoke from her cigarette majestically rising above the detritus.

A photo charging book issuing system was still being used in 1982, as well a card catalogue.  In addition to the card catalogue, the library had a microfiche catalogue which included the holdings of all libraries who were members of the Technilib Library Co-operative Scheme (which was established in 1976).  Technilib was now used to catalogue and process Altona City Library’s books, so that they arrived shelf ready.  Unfortunately, the turn-around-time was quite slow.

Audio cassettes were very well used.  Library members could borrow fully laminated and framed copies of famous paintings to hang in their homes for a period of 3 months, as well as posters dealing with popular culture.

Ms Putkunz had a unique system for retrieving long overdue books.  She would drive to errant library patron’s house.  After knocking on their door and introducing herself, she would suggest that perhaps they had forgotten to return their library books.  Invariably, they would give her the overdue library books.  Mary had a very high success rate!

1985