Staff in Focus: Ian White
Storytelling takes us places. It’s part of our culture. - Ian White, Library Public Relations Manager, Isaiah W. Wilson Memorial Library, Digby, NS
Ian has been the Public Relations Manager at Western County Regional Library since 2007.
Can you share a favourite memory at the library?
It’s an ongoing memory--I am impressed with the dedication of the staff. They love what they do and the concept of the library. It’s a daily favourite moment. When people call and ask you questions, it’s a warm feeling when you can get them the answer. I also do fundraising, the communities in our area are extremely receptive--whenever we ask, they always give.
What is your favourite childhood memory at the library?
I see it now when children enter the library--it’s like going into a free bookstore. You see books everywhere and you’re like “woah!” That’s one thing I remember and I still see it today. A personal memory is when I was a younger reader I was interested in The Lord of The Rings. I borrowed the Fellowship of the Ring from the library and received the next remaining two books for Christmas. Whenever I wanted to re-read the trilogy I would go back to the library to borrow it. I always get a joy when I see children entering the library and picking books out, or parents reading to their children. Interacting and making a good use of the library is great to witness.
How do instill your love for libraries in your children?
I’m aware of all the programs and benefits so my children get a fair bit of exposure--we get there fairly regularly and they borrow material from the library.They realize that they have access to so much because they have access to the public library--the library card is free! They can choose anything they like, that realization is very important.
What is a learning lessons from the library?
The library is for everyone--when the doors are open, anyone can walk in and make use of it. It’s open-access and free for all. You can use the library as a meeting space, a place to study--there’s something for everyone.
What would you tell someone who hasn’t been to a library?
Talk about what the library really is--it’s not a stuffy place where everyone is told to be quiet. I was amazed early on that people didn’t realize they could borrow movies. I think there are a lot of misunderstandings. People have busy lives and sometimes it’s difficult to find the time for the library.
Describe the library in three words:
Open, enlightening, and forever.
How does the library help to create a generation of storytellers?
It’s filled with stories--it’s a natural place for people to come to tell the stories and share them. At the event tonight, the author will lure people into her story; the attendees can then borrow books from the library and open their minds to a whole new world and adventure. Storytelling takes us places. It’s part of our culture. It’s how we pass our culture and histories on from one generation to the next. It’s wonderful to sit there and hear people who have had these wonderful experiences in a safe environment--these can be passed on to the next person you meet.
What is your favourite book?
It depends on what stage of life you’re in. Recently I’ve been into what I see on the library book list. I’ve recently read The Medicine Walk and The Orenda. They give insight into Canadian history. It’s fascinating and interesting stuff. I would recommend these to try.
What’s the value of the Canadian Library Month?
It brings attention to libraries. It comes at a time when things are settling down, and gives them a chance to talk about libraries and what they bring to communities – the resources, people, meeting places, technology, solitude, and company. There’s a significant portion of people that don’t have access to technology and the library provides this access.
What’s the importance of partnerships to you as a librarian?
They are key, we wouldn’t exist without valuable partners. Children’s Resource Centre, Government Organizations, local media outlets... they are critical and can be monetary, volunteers, experience, skills, and so forth.
How do you see libraries inspiring?
That’s what libraries are--they’re all about inspiration. There’s so much on the shelves that can inspire--every time you open a book you enter a new world. On the internet you can be inspired to create. You could see a 3D printer and have a vision for what you could build using that technology.
What makes for a great day at work?
For me, it’s when something positive happens for the library system. A chunk of my work is fundraising, so when I see businesses and organizations to jump without hesitating, I walk home and I’m on cloud 9!