Revelstoke Public Library
Okanagan Regional Library
Describe your library in three words.
Vibrant Community Hub ( It is often described this way in the community.)
Also, a really interesting 7-year-old described it as Revelstoke’s “weird living room.” 😄
How did you come to work at your library?
I was hired on call to provide coverage and extra support for children’s programming. My experience was in early childhood education, social work, and supporting children with diversabilities. I was able to become certified in library work through BCLA.
Do you think rural/remote library work differs from work in urban libraries? If so, in what way?
Yes! There is a high level of personal accountability in a small community. It can be a little intimidating at times but also sort of hilarious – like when someone asks you when their books are due in the grocery store. 😅
Seriously, though, I know that librarians make a community in their libraries no matter where they are, but in a small rural library there is a level of connection that makes library service both really personal and really embarrassing. We watch kids grow up, and seniors age, couples form and fall apart, and feel weirdly a part of it all.
Small rural communities really value their libraries – they are a resource in all the best ways that urban libraries are, only more so, because services of all kinds can be limited in rural communities.
What role does your library play in your community? Do you have a favourite story that illustrates this?
The library is an opportunity maker, a hub, a connector, a bridge, a crossroads. We serve all demographics in our community. It is interesting to see what happens as very different people cross paths and connect at the library.
One of the neatest illustrations of this was a fundraiser that was held in Revelstoke to raise money for the library. It brought together almost all the local restaurants in a great shoulder season event that ended up being a huge boost to local restaurant business. More importantly, though, it brought the community together in a really fun way.
It was such a successful event that there is no doubt that it will happen annually, should the situation with covid ever resolve itself enough to allow it, thus benefiting both the local restaurants and many non-profits going forward. Not to mention how fun it is for all of us to try all the $15.00 burgers!
What have been some of your favourite professional memories to date in your library?
All my best memories revolve around people. The work that I have done that I am most proud of in this library:
Building an amazing team that works collaboratively and has SO much fun doing it. And in this past year, the mutual support and kindness has been a life saver.
Creating an Indigenous collection that is filed separately in our library and is NOT filed according to the Dewey decimal system, which supports colonization and racism towards Indigenous peoples. I also worked with the local Aboriginal Friendship Society to create an acknowledgement that was meaningful to them and that is prominently displayed throughout the library.
Going forward, what do you envision for your library in your community?
I envision the strong team that we built here carrying on and following through with plans to improve our facility, offer more services, build more connections, and create more opportunities.
What is the biggest challenge of working in a smaller library?
Privacy! We have to be very mindful of this – everyone knows everyone and letting something slip can result in it being common knowledge all over town in 15 minutes.
What is the biggest advantage of working in a smaller library?
Deep, meaningful, and long-lasting connections that are mutually supportive and make are work incredibly fulfilling.
What are your goals in terms of your work at the library?
Creating opportunities, removing barriers, supporting social development and literacy in my community, and, oh yes! putting books into people’s hands! 😄