Snapped at the Oamaru Public Library function, 29 October 2008
I had the great pleasure this week to attend a celebration at the Oamaru Public Library. The function was held to open the new display housing for two special collections: a heritage collection and a Janet Frame collection.
Oamaru Public Library now
The Friends of the Waitaki District Libraries had been involved with the fundraising for the new cabinets, and they invited me to speak and do the honours at the opening of the Janet Frame cabinet.
Local historian and author Dorothy McKenzie gave a very interesting talk and officially turned the key on the cabinet housing the heritage collection. Special collections librarian Kahren Thompson also spoke.
In my speech I told the gathering that in video clip number 2 of the TV interview that as of last week is now archived online, Janet Frame tells the story about receiving a year's subscription to the Oamaru Library as her prize for being Dux of Oamaru North Primary School.
How fitting that Oamaru now honours Janet Frame's connection with Oamaru, when so much about Oamaru, especially her education at its schools and the literary knowledge she absorbed through her membership of the library, contributed to her development as a great writer. And in her writing she has immortalised Oamaru, as I reminded the audience by reading some of her choice descriptions of the town. They particularly enjoyed hearing about the delights of Oamaru's Friendly Bay compared with Timaru's Caroline Bay.
I last spoke at the Library just over 2 years ago at the invitation of JFEST. At that time I shared with the audience some of the many and varied aspects of the role of literary executor for a major author. This time, I was able to update the gathering with news of the posthumous publishing successes of Oamaru's famous daughter.
The building that housed the Library when Janet Frame was a child, now functions as the North Otago Museum