Not your typical librarian

LYNETTE Sebbens has been a librarian for so long - 33 years and counting - some of the children she first read to are now bringing their little ones along to Story Time sessions.

Now, after more than three decades in the book business, Sebbens is about the embark on a new chapter as the Queanbeyan Library farewells its Crawford Street premises for a new home on Rutledge Street.

The 54-year-old said the highlight of her job always came back to the children she sees. "You do get to know the families and when there's a special event, a birthday or a new baby," she said. "There is one lady who comes and she was in one of my first Story Time groups. She brings her little girl with her ... it makes you feel a bit old."

Ms Sebbens has her own fond memories of trips to the library with her parents as a youngster in Wollongong. She completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in library science at the former Riverina College of Advanced Education, Wagga Wagga and later completed a children's literature diploma in Sydney.

Ms Sebbens began her career as a librarian but, after one day being called into replace a sick children's librarian, studied further to become a children's librarian herself.

"They asked me to take Story Time and read to the children, there were no guidelines back then and no help," she said. "After I finished, the children seemed to really like it and saw something. Not a lot of people liked doing Story Time back then."

Originally, Ms Sebbens came to Queanbeyan for a short stint expecting to return to Sydney some time later. 27 years on and Ms Sebbens has become a local library fixture.

"When I started I set out that I didn't want to be that typical librarian that was cranky and telling children to be quiet," she said. "I wanted to be someone that if I was sitting at a table they could feel they could interrupt or ask a question no matter how silly."

And although most people would find it to daunting to read a book with 25 pairs of eyes looking on and 25 sets of limbs fidgeting away, it doesn't faze Ms Sebbens.

"They remember you and what you've said," she says. "It's a bit like being famous but for a good reason, I'm not the police or anything. I'm just the funny lady from the library."

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