The staff and trustees of the Sechelt Public Library welcome the community to an open house on Tuesday, Sept. 24, to honour dedicated volunteers and bid farewell to chief librarian Helen Prosser before she leaves to confront new challenges in Edson, Alta.
The open house is from 2 to 4 p.m.
Prosser's tenure in Sechelt is something to celebrate. She came to the Coast in the spring of 2009 at a time when the library was closed Mondays due to an ongoing dispute with local funders.
She leaves the library in a much more secure position. She has helped negotiate a positive relationship with funders, come close to a resolution of our difficulties with sharing the municipal building and seen library hours restored to normal.
She helped oversee a successful transition to a unionized workplace, the formation of the Sechelt Public Library Foundation to manage gifts and bequests, and the renaissance of the Friends of the Library - as witnessed by their magnificent book fairs of donated materials.
There have also been aesthetic improvements at the library as well, but perhaps the most important improvements are not so obvious.
Because of her technical expertise, Prosser was able to guide the library through a successful transition to the new SITKA ILS computer system sponsored by the provincial government, and through the installation of Basil the RFID self-serve check-out system that has proved so popular.
The library has E-book readers to loan - with tutorials by library staff to help patrons navigate the new electronic frontier. The library now offers free industrial-strength WiFi and a host of databases such as Zinio, PressDisplay and the advanced E-book provider, Outlook Advantage. And there is new website software still to come.
Services for children and seniors have been improved, offering integrated support to the reading room in Pender Harbour that includes the shipment and return of materials for patrons living at the north end of the peninsula.
There is still work to be done. The library is in the process of a major weeding of old materials into storage to free up space to create a new reading room and study area, and negotiations with the District of Sechelt regarding facilities use includes a joint commitment that we work together on an expansion plan for this building.
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