News & Events

Joan – a woman of words

August 18, 2017

Joan Hutton is a woman of words. She uses them wisely and she reads them with joy and enthusiasm. It’s been like this since she was a child growing up in a house full of books, ideas and conversation.


Joan has run the Rushall Park library for 14 years, taking over the role a couple of years after moving into her cottage. In that time she has expanded the collection and helped create a lovely environment for people to come and read, make jigsaw puzzles, use the computers and catch up on the daily news. The shelves of books are carefully maintained and the selection constantly updated thanks to the generosity of residents who donate books they have purchased and finished reading.


Joan is as passionate about books now as she was throughout her many years as a school librarian. She became a librarian in the 1960s when her three children; Garry, Sherry and Philippa were older. Over the years she worked in several schools always trying to create a welcoming place for readers.


“At the schools in winter I used to make sure the heater was on, and put a film on so that the students could come in and relax and be warm,” Joan said. The same can be said for the Rushall Park library, which is part of the SEK Hulme Community Centre. The library equipment and furniture is modern and comfortable thanks to the generosity of the kiosk volunteers who donated all of the money. The facility is maintained with help from Joan’s three fellow librarians Sybil Spall, Babette Young and Margaret Affleck.


The library is a community hub open seven days a week and many people make new friends over books. Joan certainly has. The library operates on an honesty system with residents taking what books they like from the shelves.  Books are returned on a trolley and Joan, or one of the helpers, ensures they are put back in their correct spot.  There is also a selection of large print books that are donated by the City of Yarra Library.


Joan loves the sense of community at Rushall Park and participates in many of the activities, including weekly exercise and yoga classes. She spends some of most days in the library, but she also loves time with her family, which is growing each year. She has three children, 10 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren and 2 great great grandchildren.


Most Saturday mornings her daughter, Sherry, picks her up and the two embark on their regular coffee hunt. The both enjoy discovering new coffee shops in and around Melbourne.


Joan considers herself a very lucky woman to have been able to pursue her work as a librarian into her retirement and old age. But then Joan does see the good side of life. “How lucky am I to be living in this village, in this home where every window I look out gives me something lovely to see. I have such a loving family, and I am fit and healthy and I can still read,” Joan said.


“Our home has always been a place where family and friends are welcome.  Our cottage at Rushall Park is no different and the community of friends here is important to us and that’s why their work is part of my art box,” Jennifer Barden said.

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