Walking into the Launceston Library is like coming home to family and friends for Lyn and Bill McGowan.
The pair have been volunteering as members of Friends of the Library Launceston for the past few years.
“We are both avid readers so we used to come to the library a lot anyway,” Mrs McGowan said.
“But we were in here one day and saw a brochure for FOLL [Friends of Launceston Library] and thought it would be a great opportunity.”
The pair have a mutual love of volunteering and, along with their roles at the library, have held a number of other volunteering roles.
In their retirement, they said volunteering provided them an outlet for making friends but also a way of giving back to their community.
Mr McGowan said he had always been drawn to volunteering roles.
He moved to Tasmania in his retirement after spending a number of years working on the mainland.
“I used to come to Tasmania in my job, for teaching trips and those kinds of things, and I always said that it was my retirement home.”
Mr McGowan said he was lucky that he met Lyn, who is a born and bred Tasmanian, and the pair moved to Launceston to be closer to Lyn’s family.
Mr McGowan, an avid genealogy enthusiast, said volunteering at the Launceston Library had fuelled his enthusiasm.
For the past few months the pair have been entering in historical marriage records into a central Libraries Tasmania database.
“It takes him [Bill] twice as long to enter a card because he’s reading them all,” Mrs McGowan laughed.
The pair have completed one full case of marriage certificate records and are working their way through another, after the volunteers at the Hobart library were unable to finish theirs.
“There was another box they found in Hobart, so they sent it up here for us to complete, we are nearly finished that one too,” Mr McGowan said.
“Everyone knows us here [at the library] they treat us like we’re family,” Ms McGowan said.
Another permanent example of Mr McGowan’s mark on the library is a physical structure that is in the lobby of the main building.
An umbrella stand made of PVC pipes and timber sits off to the side as people walk into the library – it’s Mr McGowan’s handiwork.
“The library approached FOLL and requested that we fundraise for an umbrella stand,” he said.
“We looked around for a few but then I decided that I’d just make them one. It probably took about two to three months planning and building.”