Jane Horne was part of the warm, welcoming presence at Kuils River library for almost 20 years, but she retired late last year, closing the book on a distinguished career.
Ms Horne, who was born in the Northern Cape town of Kakamas, started working as a teacher, at Heathfield Secondary School, in 1974. She taught at several Cape Peninsula schools before leaving teaching in 1996
She had studied school librarianship while completing her teaching degree at the University of the Western Cape, and it was to the library that she turned when she found herself at a crossroads in her career.
“I realised, when I was teaching in Manenberg and Hanover Park, that I wanted to move over to something more peaceful, and the library for me was kind of like a safe place,” she said.
In 1997, she was appointed as a part-time assistant librarian at Kuils River becoming a full-time librarian in 2005. When she was promoted, she was also asked to fill the position as senior librarian.
Ms Horne has lived in Sarepta for more than 24 years and been part of many community outreach programmes, passing on her love of books to countless readers over the years.
“I built up an extensive knowledge of books, and nothing gave me better job satisfaction than to recommend a good book to a patron.
“I also built up very good relationships with patrons and learnt to know exactly what they like to read. Besides my personal love of biographies and thrillers, I also like to read books about social issues. For instance, at the moment, I am reading the book, Rogue: The inside story of SARS’s elite crime-busting unit, by Johann van Loggerenberg and Adrian Lackay.”My son also benefited a great deal from my being a librarian because I could always bring home the most interesting books. With my background as a teacher, I always encouraged mothers to expose their children to books from a very early age. I also had the privilege of meeting famous South African authors, such as Diana Ferrus, EKM Dido and Rudie Van Rensburg, to name a few.”
Ms Horne said she had also enjoyed selecting books for the library. The library’s readership mirrored the diversity of the community it served, said Ms Horne, and patrons of all ages came in not only to check out books but also to read the newspapers, use the computers or find a quiet spot to work.
At Ms Horne’s farewell, senior librarian Wilhemina Whitman said: “Jane’s natural flair and passion for libraries undoubtedly made her competent to the task at hand. She fully employed her skills in different facets of management.
“She possessed a high level of interpersonal professional relations with staff and members of public. It was this exceptional ability to understand people and more so relate to them that has made her exceptional. One of her outstanding achievements was the fact that she started several community outreach programmes – her successor has big shoes to fill.”
She added, “Jane strongly believes in discipline – it is the one characteristic that stands out. Discipline in all spheres of her life has become the ethos in her character and her passion to educate was evident.”
“Jane touched many hearts and will certainly leave a void.”