LONG SERVING: The longest serving Kawerau District Library staff members, Erica Valk (31 years), Rowena Dowie (38 years) and Ramona Wood (29 years), had the honour of cutting the 65th anniversary cake recently. Photo supplied

THE Kawerau District Library celebrated 65 years of service recently.

The anniversary event was marked with an exhibition in the library foyer showing the origins of today’s library, a birthday cake and gifts for members who were also celebrating their 65th birthday.

The honour of cutting the 65th anniversary cake was given to the three longest-serving staff members, Erica Valk (31 years), Rowena Dowie (38 years) and Ramona Wood (29 years).

There was also a special offer for anyone celebrating their 65th birthday on Friday, September 13, to go along and collect a small gift. Sandra Tanuvasa was one of those who was presented with a gift.

The town’s original library was established in the Tasman Pulp and Paper mill cafeteria during the construction days. However, shortly afterward, a major fire destroyed the collection.

With assistance from volunteers and the Country Library Service the Kawerau Public Library was opened in the Commissioner’s Offices on Monday, September 13, 1954. It began with 1411 books and was open eight hours each week.

The first paid librarian, Mr A McKay, began in February 1955 and was paid one pound a week.

By 1962, the collection had grown to 20,000 volumes and books were stacked everywhere.
Sir James Fletcher Junior donated the town-site cafeteria to the community and the building was developed into the current library, restrooms and Plunket facilities.

This library opened on April 10, 1963 with 3006 members and remains the current premises of the Kawerau District Library.

Flora Sutherland was employed as the borough librarian for the Kawerau Borough Council in 1962. Flora worked for 32 years in the position before retiring in 1995.

This is when current library and museum manager Susan Harris joined.