By Lynn Vare | Posted: Thursday August 22, 2019
It's hard to believe this is the last time I will write for the newsletter at Otago Boys' as their librarian.
Next week I start at the Dunedin Public Library heading the Youth Services team which will be an exciting new challenge but, leaving this school has not been an easy decision. I have loved my time here and will really miss the staff and students - we're a whānau and it's a bit like leaving your home - and your 850 children!
There are lots of great memories I'll take, and hopefully leave too, but there are two things I leave for the school that I hope will have a lasting impact.
Firstly, the WW100 Memorial Old Boys data that we were given by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) in 2016 has been added to the library management system. This has been a project I have worked on in my holidays, so it was an incredible feeling to finish this last week. I have loaded in 194 records of all the Old Boys named on the Memorial Arch who died in World War One. Military records from DIA are included if available, and their student details from the 1963 Register have been added. Some records have had the obituaries and photos from the school magazine added too. The aim of the project was to preserve and provide access for the school to these records, and to remember these Old Boys in a meaningful way. It provides the students with the opportunity to have access to primary and secondary resources, to research and question, to create and collaborate. It tells a story about what these men went through and what was lost. It has been incredibly sad work, as well as time consuming.
It was especially touching entering the details of the son of my mother's great aunt Rachelina Hepburn. George Hepburn Stewart, student no. 1582, was the son of William Downie Stewart Sr. and his uncle R.A. Lawson designed the current Otago Boys' High building. Mum's great grandfather Andrew Hepburn was student no. 39 enrolled in 1863 too. Reading the obituary the school wrote for him and seeing his face in their photo was wonderful. I'd only ever seen his name on his family gravestone in the Southern Cemetery. Hopefully, students will carry on with this project and add more information about each of the men listed. We will not forget them.
Secondly, libraries enhance life! They should enrich and enhance the community that they serve. They are not 'morgues' full of people sitting silently reading, they should buzz - like a hive, feeding, nurturing and working like a happy productive community. Cherish this space please boys and keep it buzzing!
Finally, I wish all the staff and students at Otago Boys' the very best for the future. It has been an absolute joy to have been your librarian, whaea and work mate for over 6 years. I look forward to being your 'forever' librarian just down the road at the Public Library. Ngā mihi aroha ki a koutou katoa.