Leslie Speaks Volumes

leslie clagueKIN’s latest columnist comes out of the bookshelves

The Kapiti Independent is lucky — we’ve just recruited new columnists to kick off the New Year.

One of them is the former chief librarian on the Kapiti Coast, Leslie Clague, who now lives at Turangi. Leslie has the distinction of being the only person writing for KIN  who was educated at the Hollywood High School.

More of that later, but first Leslie issues her own bio…

“So Who Am I?”

By Leslie Clague

Being asked to write a column for Kapiti Independent News is quite an honour. I’ve been told to approach this work as an ‘itinerant librarian.’ As I am now retired, I am told, I should have the time to put words to paper.

‘Intelligent, well-read community’

I know the Kapiti Coast from my time as district libraries manager. I now live in Turangi, which I love, but I still look back fondly on the intelligent, well-read communities of the lovely coastline north of Wellington.

One of the best bits of retirement is having the time to read. Slowly I work my way through my book shelves, where I’ve kept goodies to read “some day.” Fiction, yes, including classics, mysteries, current recommended novels, but I also read biographies, histories and social commentary. And I use the local library.

In addition to my library career, I have also had several stints at journalism. My first job was in editorial for a twice weekly paper in Los Angeles called the Angles-Mesa News Advertiser. One of the reporters used to quip, “We specialise in yesterday’s news tomorrow.”

After university I became a travel trade journalist, travelling extensively around the world, coming to New Zealand for the first time, and meeting my husband-to-be.

I returned to university to get a Masters degree in library science. I was motivated by a public librarian giving a talk about the telephone service her library provided, answering any question that anyone threw at them, be it for a bar bet on a sporting event or guidance on authors or subjects.

The right to know

It struck me that, like newspapers, libraries are about people’s right to know. My career developed to support that belief.

Here in New Zealand I worked in business libraries, for the National Library offering library services to industry, a polytechnic library and finally in public libraries, which I see as a vital community service. I also worked in public relations, video production, and wrote a column for the Wairoa Star.

So that’s who I am and here I am to write about reading, about books and literature, about libraries, about the right to know – and maybe there’ll be the odd story about whatever.

I used to tell children who attended reading events at the library that reading was the most important skill they could develop – maybe even more important that brushing their teeth. Reading sets you free, reading let’s you explore, reading is wonderful.

More later…

So nice to see Leslie’s column here. She has a wealth of knowledge about libraries and the importance of having free access to information to empower people in a community. I look forward to reading more of her columns.

Hi Kaye, Great to hear from you. Do write us a column when you can! We need to hear from the National Library.
Best wishes, Alan T