The Librarians 1892 – 1940

The staff who managed and supervised the first public library in Paddington were drawn from a range of fields. This was not a surprising situation given that when the Library opened, Australia had no system of training and accreditation that was specific to Library work.

The earliest Librarians at Paddington were staff who were already employed by Council in other roles, and absorbed library duties into their hours without additional payment. The introduction of salaried library staff, some years later, ushered in an era of periodically adjusted wages and conditions, tied to the financial health of the service. Contrary to the term, 'Free Public Library', the Paddington Council charged a subscription fee for its circulating collection, with the hope that moneys raised through charges might offset some of the running costs of the overall operation.

Paddington Council was not alone in refining the definition of 'free'. With a modest, one-off subsidy towards the cost of set-up being the extent of government funding, the early public libraries in New South Wales led a precarious existence, reflected in the conditions of their workers.

Daniel Hogan steered the Library through its first years. Mrs Hall was last of the Librarians, whose employment was terminated as the doors were closed on the 31 December 1940 and the book stock disseminated amongst local schools and charities. The service of several of the early librarians is highlighted below.