Student librarian Meghan Ross with some of the dozens of new books for teenaged readers acquired recently by the Fort St. James Public Library. More new books for junior readers are on the way.

Student librarian Meghan Ross with some of the dozens of new books for teenaged readers acquired recently by the Fort St. James Public Library. More new books for junior readers are on the way.

Student librarian makes a mark

UBC student Meghan Ross leaves behind a legacy of new books at the public library.

It’s a long way from Vernon to Fort St. James via Vancouver, but UBC library student Meghan Ross is glad she made the journey. “It’s my first time living this far north, but everyone has been very welcoming,” she says. She applied for a position via the UBC Co-op office, which liaises with different organizations to find jobs for students in different pursuits.

“You look at what positions are available and apply for the ones you want, so you choose where you go,” she says. “What really drew me to Fort St. James was the fact that the position was specifically for a children, teen, and family librarian, which is the area I want to go into. I’ve had lots of freedom,” she adds. “I was told what had come before, and what the library wanted, and then was able to go ahead.”

Ross was able to pilot a teen breakfast program, for students at a disadvantage because with school out for the summer they might not have a reliable source for breakfast every day. The program, which started out at three days a week and now runs for two, was also an opportunity for youth to have “teen only” time at the library. Ross is hoping that the program can continue in the fall, switching to an evening program to give teens a safe place to go and have more teen only time with access to computer and Wi-Fi.

She held a summer reading club for students aged 6-12 throughout the summer, as well as two story time programs: one for children two and under, the other for older students, which included crafts along with the story. She also arranged a film night at the theatre room at the historical site every other Friday: a children’s film followed by a movie aimed at a PG-13 audience. She hopes this can be moved into the gallery at the library during the fall and winter.

The dozens of new books for teen readers are one of Ross’s proudest accomplishments, and she notes there are more new books coming in for the junior section. She’s also enjoyed taking the library into the community, going out to events such as Canada Day and the farmer’s market. At these events and others she’s been able to give away books to any children who want them, through the Books for Kids community initiative. Library board member Allison Lesch suggested it, as more than a dozen boxes of books that had been designated for the school had sill not been used. Ross has given out between 150 and 200 books so far this summer, and will give the remaining books back to the school in the fall, for the initiative to continue there.

She’s looking forward to bringing the library to the Night Market before she returns to UBC. “I want to show people that the library is more than just a place for books to be stored,” she says. “We have e-books, audiobooks, online services, DVDs: all free!”

Barbara Roden