A lot has changed since Wagga first launched its regional library, which went on to serve the Riverina as NSW’s biggest service of its type.
What now takes less than a second on a computer, back then involved navigate file cabinets full of topic cards and find the corresponding shelf to begin research or find your next favourite book.
Riverina Regional Library supporters and long serving staff gathered in the service’s Wagga Administration Centre on Thursday to celebrate the service’s 40th birthday with a cake and a historic photo slideshow.
Support and e-services co-ordinator Brian Plummer and collection services officer Lynn Hackett have been at the service for 40 years, and business support officer Wendy Callis has been there for 45 years.
“There’s more technology and there have been lots of changes with the mobile library,” Ms Callis said.
Ms Hackett said she started out dealing directly with users back when the service was called the Wagga Wagga City Library, but was now in a more back-of-house role.
Mr Plummer said Riverina Regional Library was the biggest of its type in NSW but some other services might have been in continuous operation for longer.
Over the years, the arrival of the mobile library has meant a great deal to the region’s smaller towns.
“The mobile library, in three and a half hours each week in Lockhart, is busier than some of the stationary libraries,” Mr Plummer said.
The library provides services to approximately around 140,000 Riverina residents in 10 shires and operates 18 stationary branches and a mobile library for a region of about 48,000 square kilometres.