Carmen Brooke has worked at the Longreach Library in western Queensland since the 1980s. She’s seen massive changes in how regional libraries are operated over the decades. Today the Longreach Library has some of the most advanced technology available in the Rural Libraries Queensland network including a large touch screen coffee table and a robotics program.
How did you first come to be part of the library?
I’ve always loved reading and I applied for the position after I had my children. I was fortunate enough to get the position and have now been with the Longreach Library for over 30 years. I’ve witnessed many changes over this time.
Can you share a memorable story from your time in libraries?
There are so many memorable stories! There is a group of young school boys who regularly visit the library to use the computers. They have never borrowed books and I have never seen them pick up a book. So, you can imagine how thrilled I was when I noticed that one of the boys was browsing through a non-fiction book. I find it very rewarding when I see someone who has never read before actually walk over and pick up a book. This type of experience cannot be recorded; there is no statistic to capture it.
What do you love most about libraries?
I love the people contact. I love the old people, the babies, right through. I also love what libraries offer: books, eBooks, DVDs, CDs, magazines, music, internet, iPads, games, robots, technology, and comfortable spaces. I think that so many people don’t realise what libraries can do for them, even though we try so hard to spread the word. There’s something for everyone and it’s free! People are always so surprised when I tell them that they don’t need to pay anything because it’s a service that is provided free.