Bright, bubbly with an infectious laugh and a wicked sense of humour are the words the Library staff chose to describe Orange City Librarian Elizabeth Barry who is retiring today after 28 years with Central West Libraries. They’d also add loyal, supportive, creative and most importantly friend.
Elizabeth (or Lizzie as she’s usually referred to by staff) first came to work at our Library in 1985 after a rich career that included time in her home state of Tasmania, England and Zimbabwe. Her arrival coincided with the move of the Library from the old building in McNamara Street to our current premises so she became intimately involved with the collections at an early date as she helped to move them across Byng Street.
In her time at the Library Lizzie worked in most areas of our organisation, and this gave her a strong insight into how things worked. She could always be relied upon to use this, together with her great organisational skills to see how we could do things in a more effective way. She was also tremendously supportive of other staff, mentoring them and ensuring they were part of the team. Lizzie always went the extra mile and would never ask anyone to do something she wouldn’t do herself.
Lizzie was always open to challenges and was forever looking to improve the services we offered and develop new offerings. Among the many things she instigated she had a particularly soft spot for Baby Rhyme and Read and Music for Little Ears.
At work Lizzie was a bit like a duck, calm on the surface while the feet were paddling away underneath. The sense of control was particularly reassuring in times of stress when she’d remind us that we could indeed do it! And ‘do it’ we did whether it was organising book launches with 500 guests or surviving a system upgrade.
We have great memories of our time working together. Many of them involve food (not surprising as Lizzie’s reputation as a cook is legendary) but all of them involve a sense of fun and companionship.
Thank you Elizabeth Anne Barry for 28 fantastic years, you leave big shoes to fill.
Central West Libraries Staff.