Grand­mother’s help­ing hand a boon to li­brary

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

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.’’

Photo: AN­DREA O’NEIL

Li­brary le­gend: Windley School li­brary vol­un­teer Pat McCal­man spends her days in­still­ing a love of books into pupils.

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