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It’s off to new pastures for Tanya and Winter

Mercury Bay Library staff and volunteers recently attended a party to say good luck and God speed to their long-time friend, Tanya Ruth, after 28 years behind the desk.
 |  Dorothy Preece  | 

Tanya’s career in libraries began back in her schooldays, when at age 13 she became a library helper at Mercury Bay Area School. The task suited her so well that she continued as a library volunteer even after she left school. Then WINZ formalised the job at MBAS, supporting Tanya in a work experience programme.

Itchy feet took her to Auckland and a big change of scene. Tanya got a job as a furniture stripper, removing paint and varnish ready for restoration.

“You could say I went to Auckland to be a stripper,” Tanya quips. Watching the papers for library jobs, she was taken on as a library assistant at Auckland Central Library in Lorne Street.

“I worked behind the scenes, helping to process 80,000 books a year to be distributed round the branch libraries. I loved handling all the new books, but the best part was getting my hands on the overseas magazines. This was before the internet and they were treasures,” Tanya says.

In 1996 her mother became ill, so at age 19 Tanya returned to Whitianga. “A group of informal library volunteers ran the library back then, with Gloria Patchett in charge. I joined the team.”

Mercury Bay Library went digital in 2005 with plans to bring the Thames Coromandel District Libraries to professional standard. One year later, Lesley Preece was appointed Community Librarian, and Tanya continued to volunteer.  As the library service expanded, part-time staff were appointed and Tanya became an official member of staff.

Two weeks ago, in the throes of preparation to leave town for Ohingaiti, near Taihape, Tanya’s cat Winter decided to disappear. Facebook messages and frantic searches proved fruitless until the night before Tanya left town.  A 9.00 pm phone call took her to a home in Cook Drive, where Winter was hiding under a house, and the pair were reunited. A happy ending and a new beginning for Tanya and