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She Devoted 44 Years To Books
MISS NITA KIBBLE.
IF you want to know where Labrador mosquitos go in winter, or how
eggs were incubated in ancient Persia, ask a member of the Research Branch of the Public Library of N.S.W. and you will get the answer.
This service which to-day is taken for granted, owes a lot to the initiative of 5ft 2in Miss Nita Kibble, the first woman librarian of the Public Library.
It all began in 1899 when Miss Kibble, then a 20-year old girl, dissatisfied with teaching, saw an advertise- ment in a newspaper asking for applications for the posi- tion of assistant librarian at the Public Library.
She applied, signing her- self N. B. Kibble, without mentioning the "Miss."
There was consternation among the other 30 candi- dates-all men-when she presented herself for the ex- amination.
The principal librarian at the time, Mr. H. C. L. An- derson, who was conducting the examination, had recent- ly returned from the United States and had been greatly impressed with the work of women in libraries there.
"And that's where I was lucky," says Miss Kibble, her blue eyes gleaming over the top of her glasses. "He wanted to try a woman out for the job and so I was al- lowed to sit for the exam. And believe it or not, I beat all the men and got the posi- tion.
"To begin with I worked a five-and-a-half-day week, from 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m., or 2 p.m. till 9 p.m., for 10/ a week!"
£150 A Year
Miss Kibble was on the staff of the Lending Library till 1909 when the Sydney Municipal Council took it over. She then transferred to the Public Library.
By 1912 she had passed every examination for which she was eligible, and her wages had risen to £150 a
"1 was a little discontented at this. But, not being a university graduate, I was unable ito sit for the exist
s ..! '! .MI i i
ing examination which would have brought promotion."
But Miss Kibble was de- termined to gain further ad- vancement in her chosen pro-
"With the introduction of a new Higher Grade library examination for non-grad- uates. I equipped myself to sit for it by a two years' course at Sydney University
and a year's specialised Study at the Library during which time I still held down my job," she said
In December, 1915, she re ceived her certificate for pro motion to the higher series of grades
WORLD WAR Questions
In 1916 she was appointed from Excessions Officer to Senior Cataloguer, with a salary ranging from £250 to £300 a year.
World War I and the ques lion of an industrialist, "How can I purify mutton bird feathers so that they can be used in place of kapok?" be gan months of hard work and the establishment of the Research Branch of the Pub lic Library.
To cope more efficiently with inquiries, Miss Kibble took another course at the university, this time in tech nological chemistry.
In 1919, after years of hard work-at one stage she did 672 hours' overtime in l8 months-Miss Kibble was appointed Chief Research Officer, a position which she
held until she retired in 1943" after 44 years of service
To day, there are about 80 women on the staff of the libiary-and only half as many men-and Miss Kib ble in her little cottage at Lane Cove regrets daily that she can no longer be one of the 80.