Chapter ending: NMB librarian retires after 44 years

2016-06-08 06:00
Librarian Mariam Jordaan retires after 44 years of service.               Photo: SUPPLIED

Librarian Mariam Jordaan retires after 44 years of service. Photo: SUPPLIED

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LONGTIME Nelson Mandela Bay librarian, Mariam Jordaan (65), is retiring after more than four decades of overseeing library services.

Jordaan, who currently resides in Parkside, started helping out at the Korsten Library as a temporary library assistant in 1969, shortly after completing her matric.

“I wasn’t accepted in the field I wanted to study. While I was at home, a friend asked if I could help at the library because she was unable to. I decided this is what I wanted to do.”

Jordaan said that after completing her librarian diploma at the University of Western Cape (UWC), she later studied part time and graduated with a BA degree at NMMU while working as a librarian and raising three children with her husband.

“I have worked at the Korsten, West End and Gelvandale libraries and from 2004, I was appointed as the manager of libraries branch services and stationed at Brister House.

“I can’t believe how time has passed. Things have really changed and one needs to be flexible when it comes to a changing work environment.

“Being a librarian has been very satisfying, especially at a public library where you get to serve the community. You see the gratitude, how grateful someone is because you have helped them. Working with different age groups can be challenging but I enjoyed my work.”

She leaves behind what she described as an “excellent team”, one that will be remembered.

“You can never complete your work entirely on your own. It takes teamwork. Don’t underestimate the contribution of others; they all play an important role in our library. I have always had good relationships with those I have worked with,” she said.

Jordaan, an avid reader, has read too many books to choose a favourite but she enjoys reading books by South African authors such as Riana Scheepers and Rayda Jacobs.

“What I will miss the most about my work is the stimulation - there is always something happening. I have worked with people all my life and I will miss that. I used to be shy and introverted but through working at the library I have become extroverted.”

Jordaan mentioned that although libraries are changing, the community still relies on public libraries.

“Libraries have changed over the years but people still make use of them. The resources in libraries were limited back then. We didn’t have a photostat machine or computers. There is more happening now than there was 40 years ago,” she said.

“The majority of the community I deal with are disadvantaged. Their homes are small; they need space to study and have group discussions. We also now have Wi-Fi available. I don’t think the internet can replace the use of actual books,” Jordaan said.

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