Library Director Emma Dressler said at the annual dinner to honour volunteers, “volunteers have always been an integral part of Fernie Heritage Library, since the library’s founding as a reading room in 1899 and in 1920, the formation of Fernie Public Library Association. Fernie remains a Public Library Association, one of only 17 remaining in the Province of B.C. I reviewed our files- hundreds of community members have volunteered their time to the Library.” This year the event was held June 6, at the Red Tree Lodge and considered a success by all who attended. Emma went on to say that there are three main groups of volunteers, trustees, shelvers and Friends of the Library. “Volunteers do many things, shelve books, repair, read shelves, phone patrons, tidy the library, direct patrons to staff, talk with patrons, bring the community into the library and the library into the community, help with community programs, deliver books to those unable to come to the library, assist with special projects, help with the garden, they are simply an amazing group of dedicated people. The library would not be what it is, would not be able to serve the community, without the volunteers.”
Emma thanked them individually saying something personal about each one. She thanked Mary Giuliano for organizing the event for so many years and providing the centrepieces that are donated to volunteers and for her support of the library. She thanked the board for “supporting the library, setting and achieving goals to make the library the welcoming place it is” and gave special thanks to the staff, “Every day I walk into work and say a thank you that I am fortunate to work with such a dedicated, bright group of women. Without you the library would not be the place it is”.
Chair of the Board Camilla Merritt introduced members of the Board saying, “Trustees are called this because we have been given the trust of the members of the library to make decisions on their behalf. As chair I have the privilege of speaking on behalf of all of our members, the community of Fernie and Areas A and B, so when I say thank you please understand that it is coming from every man, woman and child who used our library. This is our one opportunity to really take the time to thank you and show you our appreciation but I strongly suspect that not a day goes by when Emma and staff aren’t grateful for all the hard work that you do, without you the library could not provide the exceptional service that all of our members currently enjoy.” Camilla also thanked staff for working so well under pressure while treating “everyone that walks through the door with dignity, respect and with a warm welcome.” She thanked Emma for ability to orchestrate the many facets that make up the library in order to get the best results from everyone while remaining calm and cheerful. And thanked the trustees for each bringing professionalism and commitment to meetings. “Friends of the Library was set up to assist with fundraising for projects for the library and to oversee the garden. Over 30 families and individuals have signed up and the group is currently coordinating the Arts and Letters Gala with the Fernie Arts Station”, added Emma.
The following are volunteers: Cathy Barnett, Teagan Forster, Annette Harrison, Betty Johnson, Joan Johnson, Bob Johnson, Mary Martin, Cindy Pace, Meg Prentice, Stephanie Saumur, Elsie Singleton, Catherine Smith, and Lila Tomlinson.
Trustees are Angie Abdou, Sylvia Ayers, Charlotte Ezaki, Todd Fyfe, Stephen Gort, Judy Little, Adam MacDonald, Camilla Merritt, Anna Piney, Phil Iddon (City Rep)
Staff is Emma Dressler, Heather Gordon, Tina Hayes, Melissa LaFortune, Marilyn Razzo, Jeanette Sedgwick, Sandra Summerfield, Patti Ohm.
The Fernie Library was recently toured by MLA Bill Bennett, Jennifer Osmar, his constituency assistant and Elise Palmer, a legislative intern from Victoria, all were very impressed with the building and the many services offered. Founding members Louise Uphill and Anne Stelliga who volunteered for 44 and 41 years respectively would have never been able to imagine what is offered now when they began decades ago. They have passed on but their work is still carried on by dedicated volunteers and staff. This work is truly appreciated by everyone in the community because the library is more than just a place for books, it has become a welcoming place that allows people of all ages and walks of life to congregate, socialize and learn.