Tafelsig assistant librarian bids farewell to library

Letitia Booysen, a familiar face at Tafelsig library, is retiring.

Tafelsig assistant librarian Letitia Booysen is saying goodbye to her second home – Tafelsig library.

Ms Booysen, 57, a Tafelsig resident, is retiring and her colleagues agree that when she walks into the office, you immediately know she is around.

On Friday November 29, Ms Booysen celebrated her retirement at the library hall with current and former colleagues she has worked with during her career as a librarian.

Ms Booysen has been working in the library science field since 1991 when the Tafelsig library was being built.

“This was like a second home for me. I would give my best and go the extra mile. I have seen second generation children grow and develop. I would watch them grow up and go to school, I would help them with school work at the library. The bonus for me was working with my own children and creating an educational environment so that my children could develop too,” she said.

Her son Dean Booysen, 31, said his mother was the first person to teach him how to write. She created a culture of reading. She took out time to teach me the most important things as a child,” he said.

Dean has a Master’s degree in Biotechnology, a postgraduate certificate in education and he started a PhD in Italy in 2014.

“My mom is an example, she started as a volunteer at the library – with such an example how can I go wrong. She should have been the director of the library, but she has always been a community worker. She is a role model to many people,” said Dean.

Ms Booysen’s eldest son, Anthony, 36, went to the army and studied logistics through the army. He left the army in 1993 and is now working for a private company in logistics, said Ms Booysen.

She said her family supports her in all she does for the library and the people in her community.

Her husband, Desmond Booysen, 60, would help her with setting up for the many events the library has hosted.

“I did not want to go back to a factory and do production things. I decided to come here,” said Ms Booysen. She started out as a cleaner from 1991 to 1993, then she moved on to be a library attendant from 1993 to 1998 and in 1999 she started as an assistant librarian.

Lorna Wehr, a retired assistant librarian from Athlone library, who worked with Ms Booysen at Tafelsig library in April 1991, said she was the driving force at the library. “Everything that she did, was her best. This was our home away from home. She is passionate and loves her community. We had fun times,” said Ms Wehr.

Her sister-in-law, Deborah Johnson, said there was never a dull moment with Ms Booysen. “She is a jovial person, and likes to make everyone happy. She always encouraged us to belong to a library and broaden our knowledge,” she said.

The senior librarian at Tafelsig library, Mphumzi Mtikitiki, said she was the oldest staffer at the library. “She was the mother figure at work, always making people feel at home. I will miss her character as there is never a dull moment when she’s around. The library is beautiful because of her,” he said.

Ms Booysen will be continuing the senior daycare called Creative Seniors. She has been working with the seniors for 23 years. She would teach them to read and write at the library, how to use computers and how to do auto-banking for their SA Social Security Agency grants.

They are very creative people, she said.

“I will miss working at the library, doing all the programmes, working with the children and seniors too. Thank you to the community I have worked with over the years. I am grateful,” said Ms Booysen.