With a passion for ghosts and ghouls and creatures that go bump in the night – Allen Tiller is not someone you would traditionally see behind the counter of a library.
The 42-year-old, who is studying a Diploma of Information and Library Services at TAFE SA, will launch Adelaide’s first Ghosts and Ghouls Walking Tour at the end of this month, in conjunction with Adelaide City Libraries.
The Gawler resident and star of TV series Haunting: Australia developed the tour after working at Adelaide City Library as a paranormal historian-in-residence, documenting stories about spooky goings-on in the Allen Tiller Collection: Haunted Buildings in Adelaide.
It was a successful program believed to be the first of its kind in Australia.
“The walking tour leads guests to a number of haunted locations between the City and North Adelaide libraries, where they hear about the ghosts and history behind each location they visit,” Allen says.
“More importantly though, is that this helps to get people into libraries and engaging with their history.”
Allen, like approximately 60 per cent of students studying Information and Library Services at TAFE SA, is a career changer, having previously worked in a warehouse.
He says librarians are no longer the “traditional stereotypes we all remember as kids, where the librarian was an older lady who shushed you with a stern scowl on her face”.
“I’m seeing their talents become much more diversified as libraries evolve into community and technology hubs, language and learning centres, and sources of local history,” Allen says.
“In some cases the librarian has become somewhat of a counsellor, a tech advisor and a customer service assistant.”
TAFE SA Library Services lecturer Jeannine Hooper says people with information or customer service backgrounds are fast becoming the new faces of libraries as the role of libraries continues to evolve.
“Our community libraries have shifted from being simply about books and other traditional materials, to providing access to digital information and services,” she says.
“This interests people who already have work experience and are looking to try something new.”
The launch of Ghosts and Ghouls Walking Tour is part of South Australia’s History Festival, which runs until 31 May 2018. More information at historyfestival.sa.gov.au