A precious commodity: library volunteers

The Invermere Public Library could not have operated without volunteers in the past.

Editor’s note: This is the third article in a four-part series on the Invermere Public Library in celebration of October 2012, Canadian Library Month.

Volunteers, what would we do without them!? The Invermere Public Library could not have operated without them in the past and is still benefitting from this group of people who give their time so generously to the library.

When Liz first started working at the library 30 years ago, it was volunteers who assisted in shelving books, sending overdue notices, and reading to children. There have been countless volunteers working in the library since then. They have filled the place of one to two full-time positions, making it possible for the Invermere Public Library to cope with two staff members for 20 years. The faces have changed but there is still a group of people committed to assisting in providing a happy, helpful atmosphere. Their time is always greatly appreciated.

Our current Friends of the Library group has taken over the huge task of fundraising and we are so grateful. The Literacy Charity Golf tournaments brought in over $200,000 for the valley, but after 15 years it was time for a change. There just wasn’t enough of Liz to spread around to fundraise and run the library. The Friends took on the Christmas Silent Auction, and they fashioned our annual little book sale into the incredibly successful BIG Book Sale. They take care of the hotdog sales and any other opportunities that arise. This group is dedicated to improving the facilities and services offered at the Invermere Public Library with the funds that they provide us with.

There are our community members that bring their talents to us! Artist Paula Cravens of Canal Flats has brightened the library with her art, including the Avian Alphabet and the Teapot series. Bill Thompson has brought in his unique models to everyone’s delight. Favourites have been the Titanic, the Balfour ferry and the Giant’s Causeway. He has also helped with Adventure Club and the Summer Reading Club. Grandma Connie has engaged groups of preschool children at storytime with her special talent of telling stories.

Last but not least are our board members. These people are appointed by the District of Invermere, after expressing an interest, and their role is laid out by the provincial government and outlined in the Library Act.

There are a few more volunteers that I’d like to mention. Pat Lien still retains the title of longest serving volunteer. Ray Perino, who we lost in a terrible gliding accident, brought order to our lives. He would come in and “read” our shelves regularly and raised the bar. Stevie Irons is our newest trustee. This is her third time serving on the board in three decades. I think this indicates a life-long dedication to our library.

The library is truly a community affair. Hundreds of people have donated their time to their library. Interested?

—Submitted by Ginny Walker, Invermere Public Library