Historic library rises from ashes

Kathy McQuillan has worked at Claremont library for 27 years.
Kathy McQuillan has worked at Claremont library for 27 years.

A LIBRARY officer for 27 years, Kathy McQuillan says a lot has changed since she first worked at the Claremont library.

Ms McQuillan, of Subiaco, said it was a tragedy when the former library burnt down in 2010 but it was time to move on.

“We did have a lot of people coming in after the fire and asking for old books and it is a shame because some were no longer published, but it means our collection is up to date and that’s a really positive thing,” she said.

“You have to move on and adapt, otherwise you get stagnant.”

To celebrate 60 years of library service, the Town of Claremont will host a celebration, with cupcakes, coffees and children’s activities from 10.30am onwards today.

The new Stirling Highway library, formerly a Methodist Church, has the stained glass windows and high ceilings characteristic of a house of worship.

“It has so much character; there’s a sense of belonging and a sense of Claremont here,” she said. “There’s nothing better than to have somewhere to go that’s free, safe and family-friendly.”

Claremont Mayor Jock Barker said the library had an interesting history.

“The Town of Claremont was the first metropolitan council in Western Australia to sign an agreement with the State Library for the provision of local library resour-ces,” he said.

“I was amongst many community members left devastated when the Claremont Library was gutted by fire along with the council administration building back in November 2010.”