Rotorua Library director Jane Gilbert is taking a well-deserved break when she retires in July after 30 years working for the Rotorua Lakes Council.

In a written press release, Gilbert said her long career in libraries had flown past.

"There's always something new happening and every day is different. I could not have chosen a more enjoyable yet challenging career."

Rotorua Library director, Jane Gilbert (left), and Bridget Wilson, Children's Health Hub manager, checking on progress as Te Aka Mauri took shape in January 2017. Photo / Supplied
Rotorua Library director, Jane Gilbert (left), and Bridget Wilson, Children's Health Hub manager, checking on progress as Te Aka Mauri took shape in January 2017. Photo / Supplied

Gilbert felt she was leaving the library at the right time.

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"Retirement will obviously involve all those books I haven't had time to read, and my husband and I are also embarking on a new adventure in a different city.

"We have a house and two acres waiting to be 'done up'. I'm sure the future includes more time with family and friends, more opportunities to ride our e-bikes and to take up petanque again.

"They do say that in retirement you are busier than ever – I can definitely see that happening."

Jane Gilbert celebrating the 125th anniversary of Rotorua Library in 2014. Photo / Supplied
Jane Gilbert celebrating the 125th anniversary of Rotorua Library in 2014. Photo / Supplied

Gilbert's library career started in Rotorua when she was just 17, filling a junior role for two years.

In 1989 Jane returned to Rotorua Library as a lending services librarian, then successfully applied for the director position she has been in for 24 years.

Gilbert was made an associate member of LIANZA (Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa) in 2004.

She said one of her career highlights was the opening of the new Rotorua Library within Te Aka Mauri in 2018, a unique partnership with the Lakes District Health Board.

Te Aka Mauri, home to the Rotorua Library and Children's Health Hub. Photo / Supplied
Te Aka Mauri, home to the Rotorua Library and Children's Health Hub. Photo / Supplied

This was "exciting, amazing and very satisfying" for Gilbert.

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"I'm so proud of how the staff handled the pressure, how well they performed and how
everything came together. Even while we worked through the expected teething issues, the staff remained positive and the end result is a library like no other."

She said the library was on track to make a big difference for its users.

"No longer do we refer to 'how it's been done in the past' but we really consider what the community wants and how best to achieve it."

Te Aka Mauri has received numerous awards and accolades since it opened, including the award for collaborative government action at the Local Government Excellence Awards on April 11.

Rotorua Lakes Council manager of arts and culture Stewart Brown said Gilbert had provided an invaluable contribution to the organisation.

"The Rotorua Library has grown and developed in unique and innovative ways under the strong leadership of Jane for more than a quarter of a century. Her knowledge and connections, both in the library industry and local community, will be greatly missed.

"We appreciate that she will remain in the role until July to help the selected candidate settle in."

Applications for the position of Kaihautū Te Aka Mauri - Library Director open April 29 and close on May 17.