A familiar face won’t be seen as regularly at the Whyalla Public Library with the retirement of Lynette Steele this week.
Fortunately, for all of us, Lynette’s wonderful smile, vast knowledge and helpful nature won’t be totally lost to the Whyalla facility.
After 35 years of service at the library, as part of a 40-year career with council, Lynette finished work this week but will be back from time to time as a volunteer.
The fact Lynette has put her hand to continue as a volunteer would come as no surprise to anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting and being assisted by Lynette while choosing a book, resource or service at the library.
The tributes for Lynette were glowing at a special ceremony to mark her time with council and she remembers, exactly, the date she started … December 9, 1976.
After five years working with Whyalla City Transport, Lynette transferred to what was then the Alex Ramsay Library to start a 35-year journey at different sites before the new, impressive building was built on Ekblom Street near Westland.
Speaking on behalf of the council at the ceremony - attended by Mayor Lyn Breuer, Council CEO Chris Cowley and many present and former colleagues - Research and Project Officer Ann Ryan congratulated Lynette on her long career.
“Lynette has been a great asset to the library and the council,” Ms Ryan said.
“Not only has she worked as library assistant, she has been heavily involved in the home assistance scheme, has been a work health and safety representative and a volunteer in many other fields.
“We’d like to congratulate Lynette on her career and we are so grateful she will be coming back as a volunteer.”
Lynette said there were mixed emotions about her final day but she was looking forward to enjoying her retirement. Lynette moved to Whyalla in the 70s after growing up in the small Mid Murray town of Blanchetown.
“It was a huge change coming from a town of about 200 to Whyalla which had about 30,000 people back then,” Lynette said.
“I’ve enjoyed it though and it doesn’t seem like 40 years working for the council.”
Lynette started at the library in the days when everything was done manually.
This included the booking slips in the back of the books, and the manual filing and recording system that virtually required a degree in mathematics and English as books were allocated categories, numbers while all recorded and tallied up daily in a big box out in a back room.
Progressing seamlessly into the new computer age of library services, Lynette said the highlight for her remained the people that she got to meet.
“It was wonderful to meet so many different and interesting people and to get to know them,” Lynette said.
“They weren’t just people coming to the library, they became familiar faces and many customers became friends outside of the library.”
This connection with the community started early with Mayor Lyn Breuer whom Lynette used to stay with when visiting Whyalla in the 70s before eventually making the move permanently to the city.
Other special times for Lynette came with her involvement with the home assistance service which delivered books to those unable to get to the library and her time assisting in children’s activities.
“That was such a pleasure to help people and see the how happy those people were to have these books delivered.
“I had one person who was always happy to have me pick out books for him and he said to me one day that I had a 90 per cent success rates on picking books he liked.”
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