Bendigo librarian Pam Sheean has retired after more than 40 years promoting literacy to the children of central Victoria.
The 62-year-old has worked as a children's librarian and manager of collections for the past 41 years, including an early stint in Melbourne before joining the Bendigo Library in 1980.
"It's really strange to leave because I've spent two thirds of my life here," she said. "You find in libraries that a lot of the staff stay a long time as well so it's almost like a second family.
"I've known a lot of the staff throughout the whole region because it's not just here in Bendigo, we have branches all over the place."
Ms Sheean estimated she has added more than 600,000 books to the Bendigo Library collection since she started as children's librarian 39 years ago.
She has helped countless people - including many children who have returned to the library years later with their own kids.
"I remember Goldfields Library Corporation CEO Mark Hands actually came into the children's library when he was a child," she said. "I served him and set him on his way for loving libraries. And now he's a CEO."
Ms Sheean has also contributed to all of the big moves in the Bendigo Library, including the first memorable relocation in the early 1980s.
"They decided to get a new library so they knocked that building down and we had to move out into a temporary building across the road," she said.
"We actually had all of the community come and pass the whole collection of books from this side of the road across to the other side by hand.
"It was a human chain. We had so many people put their hand up to do it."
Ms Sheean said while libraries have changed significantly in the past 40 years, the role of the institution remained unchanged.
"We're still here to help literacy and early years reading, promote recreational reading and life-long learning - that's still there," she said. "We're just providing it in a different format."
As Bendigo changed, Ms Sheean said the library changed as well.
"There are the same number of people coming through the library but they're spending more time here," she said.
"Rather than just coming in, borrowing a book, and going home, they're coming here and using our wifi and using our spaces.
"People are coming in more to connect with people in the community and they're coming in for programs.
"The story times are just so popular. We have one every day now. When I first started, we had one every couple of weeks and we would have story time for school holidays."
Ms Sheean said she would remain active in the community during her retirement.
"Working in the library has been fantastic and it certainly hasn't been boring," she said. "But I have so many things that I want to tick off.
"I'm really into botanical illustration and bird illustration, photography, and bush walking, so I'm looking forward to spending time doing those things."
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