Rural and Remote Librarian Profiles: Jennifer Barg

JennJennifer Barg

Jennifer Barg

Library Director – Vanderhoof Public Library

Located in the center of British Columbia, Vanderhoof comprises a population of 4,500 within town limits and provides services to nearly 10,000 people in the area. Situated on Highway 16, Vanderhoof enjoys great access to wilderness, a large bird sanctuary home to swans and other migratory birds, and a thriving public library run by Jennifer Barg.

library with logVanderhoof Public Library

Barg came to library work after taking on a temporary morning position to cover a maternity leave after returning to work herself following her youngest child starting school. From this maternity leave, she moved into the children’s librarian position and was in that role for 10 years. At the same time, she completed all the library courses that were offered at the BC Libraries Co-op (no longer offered). She accepted the position of Library Director in 2019.

Barg is proud of her library, which serves as the hub of the community. When she describes it she thinks of the novel The Library of Ever by Zeno Alexander. She reflects, “sometimes it really does feel magical.”

staffLibrary Staff

Of course, with a small library comes a small budget and as Barg explains, it means “those of us in rural libraries must be extra creative and think outside the box to provide resources and services to our patrons with fewer resources.”

Barg and the Vanderhoof Public Library do just that daily. One of her favourite memories is putting together the Lego club. She didn’t want to start the club without an “impressive amount of Lego to work with.” So, over the course of a full year and after many grant applications, Barg put together “a most-impressive Lego spread.” Saying, “still to this day, jaws drop when they see what we have. So very fun!”

library of thingsThe Library of Things

While Vanderhoof Public Library has a lot going on and plenty to offer the community they find a lack of awareness to be a big issue. While they advertise and promote all their different resources and services, Barg is “continually amazed how many people have no idea what [the] library offers.”

Computer desksComputer Desks

But that just means there is always more work to do and work that Barg and her team seem more than prepared to accomplish. She has big dreams for her library including “a gaming room, a sound room, an area for reading and visiting.” The list goes on, she says. The library is an important community space in Vanderhoof which means they are quickly outgrowing their space. Challenging certainly, but also a great problem to have.