News | 24 November 2021

20 Twenty One: Raewyn Lubransky

She’s been to 52 countries in all seven continents, always has three books on the go, and knows how to host a cracking Christmas party. Meet Raewyn Lubransky, our loyal librarian of 23 years.

A photo Raewyn in a blue top standing in front of a library shelf full of books.

Born and bred in Wellington, Raewyn will be a familiar face to locals of Karori Library, where she has been pairing people up with good reads since 1998 as a Team Member Customer Service. 

Before this role, Raewyn worked in Government libraries doing cataloguing and other specialist work, including for the Department of Health, Ministry for Women's Affairs, ACC, Treasury, the MetService, and Internal Affairs.  

She says her entry into the workforce was swift. 

“I left school and my father took me down to sign up for the dole. I went once to sign up and boy, did I try to get a job. It was downstairs in a really grotty building. That was the motivation.” 

Raewyn says her future career was a toss-up between being a librarian and a teacher. 

Raewyn and her partner Peter riding on camels in the desert in Morocco.
Raewyn and Peter in Morocco.

At 17 she interviewed for the role at the Department of Health and got it, and then trained on the job to get her Library Certificate. After 12 years in Government department libraries and with three small children, she decided she needed a change. 

“There was too much pressure and I was sick of being stuck in the back room. I saw this job in the West Cluster of Wellington City Libraries [WCL], based at Karori Library, come up and went for it because it was local. It was nice to move into a customer service role – I think when you have kids you come out of your shell and talk to people a lot more. It was much more fun and stimulating.  

“When I first started, I did school visits and Kids Club, and I’d do the preschool story times. That was really great. I’ve graduated from that now and have let other people take those over.” 

Raewyn says some key aspects to the job have changed over the years. 

“Well, we used to stamp the books with their due date and write names on cards. Now it’s all automated and we have self check machines for the customers. Also, I started work in the old Karori Library where I used to come to borrow books when I was growing up! Now we’ve been in the new library for 16 years.” 

Raewyn is now responsible for staff rosters, keeping the stock fresh and still gets a kick out of finding a customer their ideal book.  

“People really enjoy coming to the library. We’ve had more discussions with customers over the last few years, particularly after the last lockdown. And we get a lot of elderly people who come in and stop for a chat – we have our regulars.” 

She says another highlight is serving different generations of the same family. 

“I’ve seen the community grow up. It’s really cool seeing someone I remember from the library in the supermarket or at the movies and finding out what they’re doing now.” 

Raewyn wearing a red and white striped Doctor Suess hat, reading a book from a red armchair.
Raewyn presenting Story Time back in the day.

And Raewyn isn’t the only long-timer at Karori Library. Both Martin McCrae and Karl Gaskin also have 23 years under their belts, plus there’s a few other team members who have been at the branch for a decade or so.

Raewyn, who was the Cluster's Health and Safety Rep for several years, says over time it has been pleasing to see more content about the Treaty of Waitangi coming through the library, and many of the team are embracing the opportunity to learn te reo Māori through work.  

“We love our waiata sessions on Friday mornings – it’s a great way to start the day. I’m finding it really insightful and can tell there is definitely more awareness around Māori these days, especially in children’s books.” 

A “slow but passionate” reader, Raewyn’s favourite genre is fantasy. She’s also a regular reader of children’s books “dipping in now and then to keep up to date with new authors.  

“I’ve gone back to checking out the new picture books too, now that I have a granddaughter. Her name is Siana and she is going to be bilingual if not trilingual as her mum is from Argentina and they are learning a lot of te reo at her day care. 

“I usually have three books on the go – one at home, one at work, and an audio book in the car.” 

A young Raewyn and a collegue dressed up like superheroes.
The superheroes of Karori Library.

In her spare time, Raewyn and her partner Peter are fond walkers and enjoy exploring the paths at Zealandia. And before Covid was around, travelling played a big role in their lives. 

“I’d like to go to the Middle East next. We’ve been to all the continents in the world, that includes Antarctica. I really enjoy Europe. So far I’ve visited 52 countries.” 

For many years Raewyn was WCL West Cluster’s ‘birthday fairy’, arranging cakes and cards for her colleagues on their special day, and she organised the staff Christmas parties, often dress-up and held at her place.  

“Why have I been here over 20 years?” she asks. “The community and my work mates – the people. As the Council says, he tangata. 

“I’ve really enjoyed providing a service to the community and meeting a variety of people. It’s been nice helping the elderly but also the kids who come in with their parents, and the new mums, particularly if they’re from another country. A lot of them don’t have a support network and they can find friendship here.  

“The best thing about the job is definitely the people. I’ve had a ball working here.” 

It’s 2021, so we’re sharing stories about 21 of our people who have worked at Council for 20 years or more. Find out more about the series in this story.