Director of the Smithers Public Library, Wendy Wright holding the Building Better Communities Award. LaShaina Blair-White photo

Smithers library awarded for building a better community

Wendy Wright explains why the Smithers Public Library helps build better communities.

The Smithers Public Library is setting an example to libraries all over the North after winning the Building Better Communities Award in Vancouver.

The award ceremony was on April 19, hosted by the British Columbia Library Association (BCLA). Director of the Smithers Public Library, Wendy Wright, accepted the award the night of the ceremony.

The award is given to an organization or individual who is responsible for increasing the relevancy and impact of library services through partnership, collaborations and building trust where there was little to begin with.

The Smithers Public Library meets that criteria.

“In the presentation they told us what stood out in our application and they said that it was evident from the list of activities that the library has been doing, all the partnerships and collaborations that support other community organizations efforts, supports their clientele and helping to boost each other and work together, that really convinced them we are really a community-led library,” said Wright.

And these efforts also caught the eye of other libraries across the province.

“Other larger libraries from across B.C. would approach me and would want to know more about the activities our library has been carrying on: why we won the award and what have we been doing. They were very curious and so many of them said wow, the things that the Smithers library are doing are things we should all be doing,” she said.

For Wright, this was great recognition.

“So now there is a huge exchange of information going on between our library and many other communities in B.C., some small and some really large systems. We’re all going to learn from each other,” she said.

This is the first year the award was ever given. The award derived from the association’s commitment to open access and inclusion.

The library was nominated by the Town of Smithers. Winning this award and being nominated for Wright means the library is moving in the right direction.

“It’s validation, it’s confirmation that what we were doing with our gut instinct is what the greater library community recognizes as exactly what we should be doing and what libraries are all about these days,” she said.

As for the future, Wright said the library has big plans.

“Lots more partnerships and lots more collaborations. Lots more getting out of the library to do outreach and get to know more of the community through other organizations, through other community events and to continue to reach out to more and more people who we haven’t met,” she said.

But all of these future plans wouldn’t be possible without the help and support of everyone in the community. And for Wright, their support doesn’t go unnoticed.

“There were many comments to me after the presentation from other libraries saying wow, you guys are really so lucky. You have such great support from your town and your board to have them come down here and have your town recognize the work that you do, you’re really lucky,” said Wright.

Smithers Library

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