A new chapter begins as Mirani Library turns 50

Published: 04 Dec 2020

For 50 years the Mirani Library has been a hub for the small Pioneer Valley community.

This week it celebrated that milestone with some of its original members, Mayor Greg Williamson, councillors and staff.

A small morning tea was held on Tuesday (December 1) and included original members from 1970, Mrs Daphne Ruthenberg (82 years old) and Mrs Marjorie Mitchell (85 years old). Mrs Myfanwy (Van) Silvestri (91 years old) joined the following year in 1971 and was also in attendance.

Mayor Greg Williamson said the original Mirani Library opened inside the council administration building on November 28, 1970.

“The current library building was officially opened by Premier Mike Ahern on September 13, 1988, but the best story was how the stock was moved between buildings,” he said.

“The week before the new library was opened, the local girl guides and scouts formed a human chain and passed every book from the old library into the new library, one book at a time.

“How’s that for community spirit!”

Amazingly, only five people have overseen the library over the 50 years.

Current branch supervisor Laurel Bussey has worked there for more than 40 years and library assistant Bernadette Goodale has worked there for more than 25 years.

Ms Bussey has countless amazing memories from that time, including the occasional visiting taipan and an unexpected visit from Queensland Premier Wayne Goss.

She said one of the more frequent visitors over the years was best-selling author Peter Watt, who used to live in Finch Hatton.

“He would come into the library with lists of books to request for him from the State Library,” Ms Bussey said.

Mr Watt valued the staff so much that he ended up putting an acknowledgement to them in his book The Stone Dragon.

Birthday celebrations at the branch will continue over the next few weeks.

Residents are encouraged to pop into the branch to check out the photos on display highlighting some of the events and people that have made the Mirani Library such a special place over the last five decades.