Janeese Henaway

Townsville City Council Library's Indigenous Resource Officer Janeese Henaway, is working with local Indigenous peoples to assist them to discover their lost family histories, increase their use of library resources and inspire them about lifelong learning.

"Most people would be aware of the Stolen Generation and the impact it has had on Indigenous Australians," Janeese said.

"Indigenous people have such a strong connection to the land. Researching their families and the past; and finding where their ancestors came from can help restore their sense of identity."

Through her work to increase the locals' use of library resources, Janeese has found that her assistance has helped people to feel more comfortable and confident about navigating their way around the library.

"People are so much more confident once they know what resources are available and how to use them. It means they can access a wide range of services and resources in the library or through the website," she said.

Janeese also creates engaging and comfortable events for Indigenous participants by drawing on the expertise of community Elders.

"One Elder suggested I do a yarning circle because a small gathering is more intimate and I thought it was a great idea. I tried it and found that it gives an opportunity to both the presenter and audience to learn and exchange information," she said.

"It's also great to find that the community is contributing ideas that help me plan events to celebrate Indigenous cultural events."

One of Janesse's greatest passions is to inspire young Indigenous people about the benefits of education and the endless opportunities available to them. As part of this passion she runs workshops that utilise cultural strengths and may help to build confidence.

"I would like all Indigenous youth to be proud and know that they can achieve great things," Janeese said.

"I want them to know that they can become doctors, nurses, librarians or whatever they dream.

"If I can assist just one young Indigenous person to achieve their dream, then my role is worthwhile."

DESCRIPTION: Janeese Henaway is committed to helping young people unleash their dreams