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5 minutes with Maureen O’Shea

By Administrator | 6 June 2017

Maureen O’Shea is the Young People’s Librarian at Noosa Library Service.

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Maureen O' Shea

Maureen O' Shea

How did you first come to be part of the libraries?

My father thought we should all get a job as soon as we finished high school, so he went and found one for me – at the Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education library, Toowoomba (now University of Southern Queensland). The wonderful Paul McNally always encouraged us to think about “one day, when you have your own library …”

Can you share a memorable story from your time in libraries?

The Children’s Librarian’s Desk – now a thing of the past – once provided children with a place where they could legitimately stop and request information or just make conversation. Many young characters stick in my mind, including the 10 year old larrikin Laurie Banks, once found crouched under the desk in my office. When asked what he was doing there, he replied “looking for you!” (I found out later he was actually stealing my wallet). And that child who stood by the desk quietly and when asked: “What’s happening with you?” responded with “My mum’s got cancer”, then proceeded to tell the whole story until his dad came to take him home.

What do you love about libraries?

No matter what type of library you work in, you are always able to make a difference to someone’s life.

What do you think libraries need to do next?

Bring back the Children’s Librarian’s Desk.

If you were a library manager what would be the number one thing you would do?

I’ve been a library manager a few times, and through the years of experience, I always follow the advice of Ford Prefect, in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: to always know where your towel is.* (Read Chapter 3.)

*Somebody who can stay in control of virtually any situation is somebody who is said to know where his or her towel is.


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