Wendy Wright started as the library director on May 1 at the Smithers Public Library.

Wendy Wright started as the library director on May 1 at the Smithers Public Library.

Wright brings passion for literacy to library

Wendy Wright’s office is buried in the back of the Smithers Public Library.

Wendy Wright’s office is buried in the back of the Smithers Public Library.

“Sorry my office is such a mess,” said the new library director.

But looking around, there doesn’t seem to be a file or paper out of place. Her shelf is packed full of binders and books, yet they are all perfectly aligned, and her bulletin board and computer monitor are lined with countless, carefully positioned Post-it notes.

She even comes in every day with a to-do list.

It is a detailed organization that seems to come from years of working with books.

“I’ve spent my whole life working with people and books,” she said.

“I was drawn to libraries because I still wanted to work with people and books and ideas. Libraries sound a lot like book-selling but you get to reach even more people. I realized that in bookstores, not everyone can afford to buy books, but everyone can come to the library.”

Even as a child, she grew up without a television.

“Books have been the one constant in my life,” she said.

Wright has 17 years of experience working in bookstores. She has managed them, opened her own on Denman Island, and worked for a publisher, which is where she first fell in love with Smithers.

“I wanted to stay in a small community and work in libraries and I passed through Smithers when I worked for a publisher’s [representative] and it was very beautiful. When I saw this job open, I went for it because this is where I wanted to be and the kind of work I wanted to do.”

As the director, Wright already has big plans for the library to broaden its services to as many residents as possible.

“It’s being able to reach everyone, see what everyone’s needs are and find a way for the library to meet those needs,” she said. “One of the things I would really like to do and am looking for funding for, is I would really like to put iPads in the childrens’ section, pre-loaded with early literacy apps because it’s vital to provide access to everyone, especially some families who may not be able to afford that.”

One of the main things Wright is also trying to work on is expanding the library beyond its walls, and make it a more active figure in the town by participating in community events, she added.

While they are surrounded by books day in and day out, a common misconception Wright squashed is that library employees get to read on the job.

“We don’t get to sit here and read at all,” she laughed. “But we do get to talk to people and send them home with wonderful things to read and know they’re out there enjoying them and that’s a great feeling.”