Today’s post comes to us from Jenny Mustey, the ILN’s Ambassador to Australia:
We recently lost a library hero, one of the good guys. The hero title is fitting for John Murrell (although he would definitely have not accepted this notion) as he was greatly admired, he held numerous fine qualities and was so brave when facing a fight that sadly just couldn’t be won.
John Murrell was exemplary in his role as a library leader within this own library service at West Gippsland and as the Public Library Victoria Network (PLVN) President over the last few years. In his role as President he gave it his all….and then some. He quietly but firmly guided our network to achieve great things, to listen and to work together and most importantly collaborate on a wide range of projects and programs that benefited so many across the profession here in Victoria and to the wider industry within Australia. He was held in high esteem for his integrity, his warmth, his vision and humour. He was a friend, colleague and mentor to so many. He had a quiet confidence that kept things on an even keel and we always felt the ship was heading in the right direction. He was reassuring, enthusiastic and genuinely interested in ensuring that libraries had a strong voice and advocated strongly for them on many levels.
I first got to really know John when we worked together in CPLG (Country Public Libraries Group) prior to the merger with Viclink which then became PLVN, then following on from that on the PLVN executive, Advisory Committee Public Libraries (ACPL) for the Library Board of Victoria, SWIFT consortium and a number of other PLVN/State Library of Victoria projects. It is still hard knowing that he will no longer be there, not to greet me with his smile or quite often a subtle nod and a wink.
The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) recently presented his family with the most fitting tribute to John for his major contribution to the library profession in Australia. He was awarded the Australian Public Library Alliance (APLA) Outstanding Achievement Award 2016, and is indeed a most worthy recipient.
I will be forever grateful for his encouragement and words of advice and for his interest in my projects and happenings -his praise and acknowledgment never went unnoticed and I am going to miss it so much. We all will, he steered us so well – he was a great captain and yes he was a library hero. May his legacy continue and that we all strive to be library heroes just like him.
Vale John Murrell 5th June 2016