Manildra Library

Posted on Thursday, 3 May, 2012 by [email protected]

There was a library in Manildra as early as 1908.  This was in a hall down near the Mill House.  There were two rooms, one for books, and one for a reading room.  It was run by Mrs Flo Denton and Mrs May Whitehead.

When the building became badly cracked and unsafe the library was transferred to the Memorial Hall, where it remained for many years.

An advertisement in the 1914 Manildra Show Schedule read as follows:

CIRCULATING LIBRARY
THE
MANILDRA STATIONERY DEPOT
NEWS AGENT AND BOOKSELLER
UP-TO-DATE

At one stage there was also a Book Club.  A group of women, headed by Mrs Dorothy Beddie and Mrs Peterson, met once a month for group discussion.

They also purchased books and built up a small library, so that members would have access to books.

Mrs Barbara Gosper and Mrs Judy Douglas led a long community campaign to establish a branch of Central West Libraries in Manildra, a prospect which was first proposed as early as 1959. They believed that the people of Manildra needed a more significant service than that offered by the bookmobile service run from Orange.
The women held book drives to collect suitable books, held fundraising functions to purchase more books and established a Friends of the Library Group as well as writing countless letters to Cabonne Council and Central West Libraries (then known as Central Western Cooperative Public Library).
Their determination and the support of the Manildra community were rewarded when the Manildra Branch was officially opened by the Library’s Chairman, Cr L. M. (Max) Stapleton on 26 April 1989.It was located in a room in Manildra House which also housed the Manildra Craft Cottage. Mrs Gosper and Mrs Gosper who owned the premises gave the space to the Library rent free.
The Manildra Library has always been a vibrant part of the local community and has reflected the social inclusion role of the public library in a rural community. The range and variety of activities and programs has defied the size of the local population (504 persons) and the limited opening hours (12). It has really been a ‘value added’ service which has been made possible through the dedication of the staff and an active Friends group.This includes:
• visits to Manildra residents in hospital in Orange or Molong, taking reading materials and reading aloud to them
• Information sessions and discussion around significant events and documents
• Supporting young people through development of public speaking skills and essay preparation.

Following the deaths of Mrs Douglas (2005) and Mrs Gosper (2009) Cabonne Council determined to relocate the Library to the shop front location in Derowie Street and undertook refurbishment of the space. The Library opened in this location in late 2011.The current Branch Library Officer is Jeanette Davis.