Lenore S.

2 401 Lenore S webLibrary Assistant


I’ve worked for VIRL since 1989 and I like my job very much. I’ve been lucky enough to work in a few different areas of the library system over the years. I enjoy the people I work with and I really enjoy finding information for people.

We often get visitors or people new to the area with questions about local services and it’s great when we can help them find what they’re looking for. We also help people who come in every day, as part of their daily routine or maybe just to read the newspaper. It’s good to be a part of their every day experience. We get to know people and they get to know us. We get to see kids grow up and go from story time to bringing their own kids in. There is even a teen board game night.

I have seen a lot of changes over the years, both in what services we provide and how we go about providing those services.

We’re a regional system and we have many branches. Our collection is huge, but it’s distributed amongst many different areas. We have many copies of some things and fewer copies of some older, rare, or less-requested items. What you’re looking for might not be in our branch because our collection constantly moves. It’s a bit different than other library systems – just because it’s not on the shelf when you come in, it’s still available. We just need to have it brought in from one of our other branches. When someone requests an item we can often bring it in within a few days or a week.

I feel the library is a very important part of the community and most people feel comfortable coming to someone in the library to ask for help or information. We’re very lucky to have such a trusted relationship with our patrons.

Laurie M.

Laurie M web picLibrary Assistant

I have worked at VIRL for over 16 years. I have also worked in other libraries in Victoria and Vancouver. One of the benefits of our work is helping young children in our branches. We try to provide a family friendly space and the very word “public” is in our name because the essence of our job is serving people.

The love of learning, and especially the love of books in particular, is something we try to pass to the young to promote literacy right from the get go. Most of us working here are certified bibliophiles; if we have a moment in our busy day we love to discuss books and particular book titles with anyone who is curious. Some of the people who come to our library have become like friends, as we have served them on a regular basis for years. I think of the local library as “the best free deal in town” and as the heart or cozy living room of our community.

The extent to which a community values their library is a direct measurement of its civilization. Good library service involves many people and many hands – much of our work is physical, too. We assist in access to information especially in regards to computers and the internet. We also provide a friendly space for various groups such as our community knitters who meet every Saturday. Our local libraries on Vancouver Island and beyond have so much to offer everyone.

Julie B.

Julie B web picCirculation Supervisor
Nanaimo North


I’ve worked for VIRL for over 25 years. I believe I’ve learned my love of books from my family,  as both my Dad and my Grandmother worked for VIRL – my dad did a bit of truck driving at one time and my grandmother worked in the reference department. So, I come by it naturally.

I feel very fortunate to be working in the beautiful new Nanaimo North branch. One thing I really love is that I get to see people here from all walks of life. We have something to offer everyone, whether it’s help learning to read, using the computers, or participating in one of our programs.

We have a great monthly calendar and hold all kinds of free programs. We even have a Seniors Speed Dating program coming up for Valentines Day! We have so much to offer here – free math tutoring, English conversation and Spanish lessons to name a few.

The programs we offer are so important for literacy, both for children and for adults. I love that we have school groups coming to the library. If parents fill out a library card application we can give them all a library card. Children are being exposed to the library who may not otherwise have had an opportunity to visit.  And every child is treated equally.

We have a great team here. The staff work well together and are all committed to making sure our customers have the best experience when they come to the library.

Cheryl W.

Cheryl W web pic 401Circulation Supervisor
Nanaimo Harbourfront

In my role as circulation supervisor, I schedule our pages and library assistant’s time while they are on shift. Each day staff rotate through a variety of tasks. This ensures that all our staff have the opportunity to learn new procedures and practice the variety of skills needed to give our customers optimal service. Apart from checking items in and out and finding items on our shelves, we need to be familiar with many online resources, assist with interlibrary loan requests, find government forms, provide information on resources for aging readers, young families, home bound customers, English as a second language borrowers, customers in remote locations and many more. I think our circulation staff is doing a great job of guiding the public through the changing face of libraries today.

Libraries are still the centre of the community. In Nanaimo we have a large multicultural community downtown and we also serve seniors, young families and the homeless. We provide a tremendous service to all these people with different needs, in all walks of life. We’re a key resource for our community around us.

I’ve been working at the library since 1996. I enjoy the people contact, the interaction with our customers – being able to find things when they’re asking for them, to ferret out information that they need or materials that they’re looking for. I also really enjoy the team that I work with.


Ariel S.

web Ariel picPurchasing Assistant

I’ve been in the Purchasing department for 11 years and with the library for 27.  My role with VIRL is to assist in all aspects of procurement for the library, except for the library materials – books, magazines and digital media. Our department provides support to branches and departments so staff can go about their daily business in the work of serving our customers.  With the exception of occasional, incidental purchases of nominal value, all orders for goods and services, requested system-wide, come through Purchasing.  As a result, we work very closely with all departments, branches and all levels of staff.  We follow an order from requisition for goods or services until the order is complete and invoiced. There are many other aspects to the job – it’s quite varied and interesting!

Libraries are just such a wonderful asset to a community, especially valued in some of our smaller communities. They are a great equalizer in society, for all types of people. It’s a marvelous place, a library.  One has access to all kinds of information, materials, resources and a nice place to hang out in and relax.  I’ve liked visiting some of our branches while on vacation (especially when it rained!) and enjoyed being able to see the branch, use the internet, look at books and sit in the comfy chairs that I helped to obtain!

I believe our front-line library workers do an excellent job providing terrific service to our customers at all our locations and that our libraries are well used, well-loved and much appreciated by the public.


Eva M.

Eva M web picLibrary Assistant

I like working with the public and have been doing this work for 16 years. It’s interesting to work with an organization that is geographically widespread because you really get to know many different communities on Vancouver Island. I’ve enjoyed working at eleven different branches and every branch is a little bit different.

I’m a booklover and it’s really nice to see what’s coming up, what’s new. It’s so interesting to work with books and discuss books and ideas across the counter.  Libraries are one of the last public forums where we have a place to exchange ideas and have dialogue.

I also like the fact that more community groups are coming in to use our multi-purpose room. There are lots of community connections made – with the writers’ group, with the ESL conversation group, with the children’s storytime group. We meet needs at every level of society.

I really look forward to a future where the library has more of a hand in doing basic computer access training for people. We depend on computers more and more and there’s a segment of the population who need to come in to print and fill in government forms and don’t know how to do it. Libraries are their only access. I’d like to see us help us fill a real need in the community for more basic computer instruction. I get a lot of people coming to the counter and asking for computer basics.  Right now if people want to learn computers in our community, they generally have to pay.

Rodney F.

Rod FLibrary Assistant
Nanaimo Harbourfront

Libraries are very valuable to the community.  We have public computers for people to get in touch with loved ones or stay in touch with friends. We get a lot of people who rent movies and music CDs and love the fact that there’s such a wide variety in the entire system that they can draw upon.  This is the downtown core of Nanaimo. The library is a safe place for people to meet.

I greet people as they come in the door and help them find items they’re looking for whether it’s books, CDs or DVDs.  If they ask for recommendations I will help find materials on the shelf or let them know what I’ve liked in the past, and hopefully they will as well.  I’ve worked at the library for 10 years. I like the people. Dealing with the public is one of my favourite things – and the books. I’m a biblioholic.  I’m addicted to reading books. This is my perfect job.

I’m the liaison between the library and Altrusa International Inc., a local service club that has been partnered up with the library for the past 35 years. They deliver books to homebound people and the elderly with long-term illnesses who cannot make it out to the library. They also deliver audio books to patrons whose eyesight has deteriorated who can’t read printed books. The volunteers pull books based on what people have specified. I sign out all the items they have chosen and also make sure that what the volunteers have pulled, matches what the patrons want. I doublecheck the items when they go out and I also check everything in. If materials are missing, I call the patron and solve problems like that.

Diana W.

Diana W web picCirculation Supervisor
Qualicum Beach

I’ve worked for the Vancouver Island Regional Library for 30 years and love so many aspects of my job. I really enjoy working with my colleagues and serving the public. I have a passion for helping people, especially those who struggle with reading. It’s so rewarding when I can find a book that will interest them and they enjoy reading so much they’ll be back for more. Reading is a wonderful gift.

Our library has a warm and inviting atmosphere. Being a public place we see all walks of life and everyone is welcome. People come here for more than just a good book to read, help with finding information or computer access. They will meet up with acquaintances and are comfortable to take the time for a visit.

Our community has a lot of senior residents and we are grateful to have the time to share our knowledge and advice. On the other hand, I performed story time for 9 years and had great joy welcoming the young ones to a memorable library experience. I’m enjoying the lasting friendships I’ve made over the years.

Library workers throughout the system are very unhappy with the way the employer is treating us. This is the first time in my 30 years while working with this library I’ve experienced such turmoil. I encourage the Library Board members to visit their local library branch and talk to the staff first hand.

The frontline staff are the heartbeat of this library system and would like to feel appreciated by our employer.

Marc C.

Marc C web picLibrary Assistant

One of our challenges at the Courtenay Branch is responding to disadvantaged and homeless people and those with mental health issues or addictions. Many of these people don’t have anywhere else but the library to go to during the day. It’s finding that fine line between a public place that everyone’s entitled to and obeying the library rules. Some of them may have been out in the cold all night and not gotten a good night’s sleep. But at the same time you can’t use the library as a flophouse. My immediate manager is really great – she’s proactive and engaged, and hosts the Comox Valley Homeless Association at the library. We’ve had some training but we need to learn how to engage with someone who clearly has mental health issues, when we need to call the police. It’s about that fine line.

For me libraries are so much more beyond just books. It’s the information and providing free universal access to information. It’s working in a community space, a public space or commons.  I love that aspect and interacting with the public. I also have a degree in history and really enjoy the little bit of reference I get to do. I take a lot of pride in the work I do.

Rachel P.

Rachel web picLibrary Assistant
Qualicum Beach

I’ve worked here for nine years and I really enjoy the people. This is a great job for meeting everyone in your community, and you develop relationships with them after a while. It’s a big part of the joy of my job.

Libraries are important as a gathering place, a hub.  A place to access information is really, really important. It’s not just as simple as looking for facts in books, there are a lot of people who don’t have computers or internet access at home. So coming to the library is something they need to do. Filling out forms online is a fact of life. They need to request their items through us or they need to use our public access computers because they don’t have the means to have computers themselves.

I love working here.  I have been using the library since I was a little girl, so some of the people I now work with have been a part of my life for a long time. It’s a real pleasure to work with them, they’re excellent colleagues. I respect them and enjoy their company.