What’s in a number? Sixty. 60. Three score. Sexagenary. 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, and 60 years in the life of the Bindoon Library.
Yep, you heard that right. The Bindoon Library is turning the big six-oh on the 17th of April this year. And yes, if we want to be pedantic about it, it’s technically more of an anniversary since libraries aren’t born, but considering that a) no one is going to buy me diamonds for this anniversary and b) it’s perfectly natural for book geeks to anthropomorphise libraries, then we’re just going to stick with birthday.
We don’t have a lot of history about our library, which is a little bit sad. According to the Library and Information Service of WA newsletters from 1963, the new Chittering Shire library was opened in ‘South Bindoon’ in a ‘separate wing’ of the new Shire administration building. This paints the picture of a sprawling, spacious, modern building when in fact, the Shire Admin building was just a small house and the library wasn’t in a ‘wing’ but a small room. There was nothing in the newsletters of that year as to who was the librarian was at the time (and note that back then, they were called librarians, even if they weren’t qualified. The same position today is called a library officer). At the start of 1964 it was noted that the librarian was Mrs M Martin, and since the newsletters for the rest of 1963 didn’t advise of a change of staff like was noted for other libraries, I am hazarding a guess that it was Mrs Martin who was the original librarian.
The library has changed a lot over the years. It has been moved from room to room as the Admin building has expanded, and has gone through several refurbs. In 1997 more extensions were done which included building the library where it is today as well as the Council Chambers. In early 2017 the carpet was replaced and I did my first refurb during my stint here. Then roughly a year and a half later, the Admin offices underwent another renovation. The library office was added and a wall in the entrance corridor was knocked down, increasing the space in the library by about another third. This layout is the one that members are familiar with today.
I may be biased but I think that the biggest changes to the library over the years haven’t been structural but social. Slowly over time the library has evolved to be a social hub that not only provides entertainment, activities, and events but a supportive and inclusive environment. That’s the real value of public libraries – not the books and the resources, but the people. Both those who work there, and those that frequent them.