Grandmother’s helping hand a boon to library
Four decades after her children left Windley School, Pat McCalman is helping its pupils discover a love of books.
Mrs McCalman, 72, volunteers four full days a week in the Windley School library. She repairs and covers books, journals and readers, issues books and gives children advice about what they might like to read.
At least once a week she walks the 30-minute round trip with pupils to Cannons Creek public library, and helps out on school field trips when required.
‘‘I’m there to be a helping hand. It’s great,’’ she said.
Four of Mrs McCalman’s five children attended Windley, the last more than 37 years ago.
When her grandchildren were pupils there in 2007 she heeded a call for help in the library. What started as two afternoons a week five years ago has blossomed into almost a fulltime job.
The change from life as a housewife to a library assistant has been fulfilling for Mrs McCalman.
‘‘After being a mum at home, I never went back to work. I live working with the kids,’’ she said.
‘‘Once your family has grown up you sort of look at, ‘What else could I do?’’’
It helps living just across Warspite Ave from the school – Mrs McCalman can pop home for lunch.
The best part of the job was introducing non- readers to the pleasures of the library, she said.
‘‘There’s lots of children who possibly don’t have books at home, and for them to come in and read at lunchtime is really good.’’
Her efforts have made Mrs McCalman a popular figure among Windley schoolchildren.
‘‘When you’re shopping you suddenly hear, ‘Hi Pat!’’’
Windley School staff presented Mrs McCalman with a huge bouquet of flowers during National Volunteer Week in June.
School administrator Michelle Shannon-Smith said Mrs McCalman was a real gem.
‘‘Pat is incredible. Nothing is too much trouble. We really appreciate her and the children love her.’’
Library legend: Windley School library volunteer Pat McCalman spends her days instilling a love of books into pupils.