Myrtle Fletcher

Myrtle Fletcher was born in 1899. She was involved in the Workers’ Education Association which had a library in the city. She was the secretary of the Council of Adult Education group which started in Northcote in 1940. In 1945 she became the secretary of the Northcote Festival of the Arts and was also foundation secretary of the Northcote Dramatic Society. It is around this time the town clerk, Mr. J. Thomson invited her to work at the City of Northcote library in May 1945. Miss Fletcher was in charge of the library in 1950, but asked for a more senior librarian, which brought Mr Alan Gillies in as Chief Librarian. This started an excellent working partnership and friendship.   

She was known to have a keen interest in her customers. In an interview, she said, “knowing one person’s taste in books could help a librarian to recommend a suitable book for a person of a similar personality.” She witnessed the changed reading habits since the introduction of television and seeing students return to the library as the interest in television lagged in the late 1960s. In a 1967 interview she noted that, “young people are used to television. It didn’t burst upon them as a new medium”. She watched as students flooded in the library reading rooms because of expensive text-books and overcrowded school libraries. She noted at non-fiction was the “backbone” of the library and that many adult readers sought information on science.   

Myrtle Fletcher retired in December 1968 after 23 years at the City of Northcote. She received a document giving her freedom of the library and a golden key to the door.  

Libraries are being invaded: children accept a challenge in library week (1958, May 7). Northcote Leader, p. 3.   
Library Week in Northcote (1967, September 20), Northcote Leader, p. 1.  
Retired, but still has key to the door (1969, February 26). Northcote Leader, p. 11.