A shortage of teaching positions in Tauranga more than 30 years ago was the reason that Lois Rout became a teacher’s aide – a move which led to her becoming a passionate advocate for children’s literature. Over six years her job description changed to library assistant and with the help of the School Library Service she had the enviable task of setting up a new library, becoming irretrievably hooked on children’s books in the process.
Lois spent five years as Mobile Librarian for Tauranga Public Library, with off-road time in the Children’s Library, and, as a member of Bookrapt, was involved with the setting up of the Joyce West Collection. This was followed by six years as library assistant at Mt Maunganui Intermediate School.
Lois was a foundation member of the Bay of Plenty Children’s Literature Association (CLA), now known as Bookrapt, and has held office for most of the time since 1983, as either secretary or treasurer and sometimes both at once. Although family reasons caused her to give up work and take a low key role in the CLA for 10 years, she then took on the task of managing the registrations for the annual seminars and children’s workshops.
In recognition of this role Lois was made a life member of Bookrapt in 2004 and every member of their current committee contributed to her nomination for the Storylines Betty Gilderdale Award. As one of them said, ‘Lois is a wonderful ambassador for New Zealand children’s literature.’