May Bain

Photo of Miss May Bain taken in 1909 by Hermann Schmidt.

The May Bain Room is named after Miss May Bain who was the Whangārei Public Library Librarian from 1925 until her retirement in 1939. As she was the librarian when the old Whangārei Public Library building was opened in 1935, we thought it fitting she is remembered when the new Whangārei Central Library opened in May 2006.

Miss Bain grew up in Whangarei where, with her two sisters, Isa and Madge, she attended Whangārei Girl’s High School before going to Auckland University. She subsequently returned to Whangārei and was appointed to the position of Assistant Librarian in May 1923. She died in Auckland in 1980 at the age of 94.

The photo of May was taken in 1909 by Hermann Schmidt.

The book case located near the room's entrance had belonged to Miss Bain’s great-grandfather, John Watson Bain. It was gifted to the library in recognition of her contribution toward the provision of free library services in Whangārei in 2004 in a bequest from Mrs Eileen Finch. It contains some of its original contents published in the 1850s, 1860s and early 1900s.

This bookcase was originally presented to James W Bain by the people of Russell when he left his post of Honorary US Consul in the 1850s. It was passed down to his granddaughter, May Bain, who in turn left it to her brother-in-law, Robert Stanely Finch, who had married her sister Madge. John W Bain was the great-grandfather of Eileen’s husband, Robert Bain Finch.

Picture of the cabinet that once belonged to May Bain and was bequeathed to the library.