Alisha Louie at the Creston Valley Public Library.

Alisha Louie at the Creston Valley Public Library.

Lower Kootenay Band student added to Creston Valley Public Library staff

Web Lead

  • Jul. 10, 2014 1:00 p.m.

Thanks to a create-your-own-job-program approach by the Ktunaxa Nation Council, Alisha Louie is spending her summer working on First Nations-related projects at Creston Valley Public Library.

“I decided to create my job at our own library in Creston,” said Louie, who enters her third year of biology studies at the University of Montana this fall. “Communities should be more invested in their libraries — they have so much to offer.”

Louie, who describes herself as a big-time library patron as she pursues a science degree, graduated from Prince Charles Secondary School in 2010, then started her post-secondary education at Montana’s Salish Kootenai College. She has extensive family connections in Montana, where her mother, Angie, was born and raised.

“I didn’t really know anyone at the university last year and it was a big transition going from a community to college to university. But this year I have three cousins from Montana who will be attending, plus I made friends last year, so I am really excited about returning.”

“Part of what I want to focus on is how to build stronger connections between the library and the Lower Kootenay Band,” she said. “I want to try to involve others from LKB as much as I possibly can.”

While LKB residents do use the library, Louie said that transport is a major issue.

“I know [chief librarian Aaron Francis] would really like to find a way to address this — he is very committed to connecting our members with this library,” she said. “Lower Kootenay has a community bus, but we need to find volunteers to drive it.”

Following in the footsteps of her older sister, Misty, who worked at the library last year (and who is pursuing studies in Washington), Louie wants to work with Francis to create a permanent display that celebrates Lower Kootenay Band history and presence in the Creston Valley.

“I would really like to make a sturgeon-nosed canoe and involve others in participating, but the necessary materials are usually collected early in the spring,” she said. “Maybe we can find a way at some point.”

Louie said she will gain experience and needed skills from her summer employment.

“I am learning how to access other resources, and to ask others for help when it is needed. It is important for me to learn that I don’t have to do everything on my own.”

Her last day on the job will be Aug. 2, allowing Louie time to prepare for her return to university classes, which start later in the month.