Librarian closes the book


Allan Caddy, now looking more like Santa than the ‘bantam rooster’ he describes himself as  when he started his career, is retiring.  Picture: David Baylis        www.communitypix.com.au   d449545
Allan Caddy, now looking more like Santa than the ‘bantam rooster’ he describes himself as when he started his career, is retiring. Picture: David Baylis        www.communitypix.com.au d449545

“As a 16-year-old I went to what was to be the new Inglewood library to unpack cardboard boxes with a whole lot of 18-year-old trainee school teachers,” he said.

“So there I am like a bantam rooster surrounded by books and young girls; I thought this wouldn’t be a bad job.”

While the cheeky 69-year-old who sports a white Santa-like beard enjoyed stints in around the state, it was at Bassendean library, where he spent about 30 consecutive years, that he found a second home and colleagues became family.

This year, the former library manager checked out his last book, choosing to retire.

He planned to retire earlier, but the threat of amalgamations kept him on board with the hope to help his staff through the adjustment.

When amalgamations were scrapped, he knew it was time to move on.

“I commenced at Bassendean library at the beginning of 1972,” he said.

“I was employed to select the stock, design the layout, get the furniture made and train the staff.” After subsequently spending time at other libraries, Mr Caddy was drawn back to Bassendean.

“When I got back from Port Hedland a number of people asked me if I enjoyed my holiday,” he said.

“If any community thinks I deserve a two-and-a-half year break then that’s a community I want to be a part of.”

Mr Caddy said he noticed a few trends throughout the years.

He said that while the number of loans have dropped, “the actual door count stays fairly constant.”

“Books might not be a fashionable as they once were; however the ‘G’day how’s it going?’, that social interaction doesn’t change.

“Also we have about a dozen people come in just to read the newspaper.”

Now with plenty of spare time up his sleeve, Mr Caddy is not interested in wasting it on the couch.

“I have a couple of motorbikes, I have a houseboat, I have a 1963 Morris Minor ute that I am going to restore,” he said. “I am not a big traveller but my wife and I will duck off to New Zealand again.”