BY AARON FRANCIS
When you are a librarian, it’s hard not to take your work home with you. After all, a love of reading is something that has followed me around throughout my life.
Even on vacation, I can’t help stopping at the wonderful community libraries that I come across in my travels. First and foremost, I love checking out the creative and inspiring projects and programs that I might be able to introduce back home at our library.
And, also, seeing the outstanding support and investment by communities across North America and beyond in this truly democratic institution inspires me, and reinforces both my faith in people and my commitment to this wonderful profession.
I recently visited the incredible Salt Lake City Public Library, which has many features in common with the Central Branch of Vancouver Public Library. The view from the rooftop garden was breathtaking, and I loved the huge, multi-story windows, the light-filled atrium, and the awesome Lego displays..
I’ve visited libraries across the Kootenays, Okanagan, Shuswap, Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, through Idaho and Utah, and even overseas in Korea, Vietnam, Nigeria, England, and more.
A town’s public library says a lot about the town. Constructing a beautiful and expensive monument to free public information in the centre of a major city like Vancouver or Salt Lake City is a testament to the vision and values of the city leaders and its citizens.
But we can also be inspired by more modest structures. Our own library is a testament to the work of thousands of volunteers and community leaders who, over many decades, helped build a public facility that, while perhaps lacking the big-city grandeur of some libraries, feels like home, and offers a wide range of programs and services that are designed to fit our community’s needs.
A new parking lot, like the one being constructed at the library right now, may not immediately impress you as an “inspiring monument to information”, but, nevertheless, it also makes a statement about this community. The work is the result of a behind-the-scenes determination over a number of years on the part of our area leaders and the library’s volunteer board of directors to make needed improvements to our public library facilities, and of course a commitment from taxpayers to fund the project.
The goals of the parking lot improvements are fourfold: repair surface and structural damage; improve ease of vehicle access; create safer flow for pedestrians; and protect the building from errant vehicles.
Simple. Functional. Designed for our own needs. Citizens, volunteers and community leaders working together to improve our community. I can get inspired by that.
By the way, you are probably already aware that you can use your Creston Valley Public Library card at every public library in BC. Not only that, but you can return items you borrow from one library at any other library. Your card also gives you access to resources you can access from anywhere, like streaming movies, digital magazines, ebooks, downloadable audiobooks and more. Like they used to say in the commercials: “Don’t leave home without it.”
Aaron Francis is the Team Leader at Creston Valley Public Library. He is currently reading Cockroach by Rawi Hage.