A 'bright' future in store for departing Rossland Library director

Arlen MacLaine
By Arlen MacLaine
August 16th, 2013

The Rossland Public Library is losing a valuable piece of its operations.  Director Katie Albright is leaving Rossland at the end of the month to pursue her education further, but the library is hoping the influence Katie has had will help it continue to grow after her departure.

Albright came to Rossland, in July of 2012, after completing her masters at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia.  “The job posting expressed the desire for a vibrant community library, a welcoming and exciting place for everyone to make use of,” said Albright. “The library board’s vision mirrored my thoughts on public librarianship very closely, and after a lot of googling I knew that I would love this little mountain town!”

The future looks ‘bright’ for Albright.  At the end of this month, she will be returning to Australia to further her education.  “I’ll be continuing my work with a professor at Charles Sturt University. We have been researching memory practices in communities and how social media has impacted these practices. I’ll also be a teaching assistant this semester with the hopes of starting a PhD in the coming year,” she said.  If she has any spare time, Albright is also hoping to pick up a part-time job at a public library, to keep her grounded while delving into deeper study.

During her time as Director, Albright enacted many positive changes to the library’s programming.  “Katie introduced new programs such as National Film Board movie nights, a lego club for kids, felt making workshops, and brought in authors and educators for a variety of different audiences,” said Yolanda Ridge, a library board member.

On the subject of these improvements Albright said, “We tried to build programs, collections and experiences that were meaningful for the community and I think we’re getting there day by day. Rossland is blessed in that it is small enough to have a library that truly reflects them, and I look forward to keeping up with its evolution in years to come.”

With Albright’s departure, the library is now seeking a new director to carry on the momentum that has been created.  “We are looking for a director who is committed to change,” said Ridge.  “In the short term, we want someone who will continue with the physical renovation and develop a new strategic plan.”  The library is also looking for input from the community via a 5-10 minute survey, and is committed to continuing the success it has enjoyed over the past year.  “In the long term, the library staff and board needs to be willing to adapt to changes in the community, open to electronic adaptations, and focused on staying current and relevant to an evolving society,” said Ridge.

Though she is moving on, Albright has many fond memories of her time here in Rossland.  From small, individual interactions with community members, to large-scale events, such as the Rossland Winter Carnival, Rossland has left a considerable impression.  “The most memorable, although it feels more dreamlike, was opening the library at 2am to register what felt like the whole town when Canada AM was on location,” she said. “This was another one of those moments that for me defined Rossland, its generosity coupled with a deep sense of fun.”

It is safe to say that Albright has influenced, and been influenced by the town and library during her time here.  This chapter has proven to be one of positive change for both parties, and neither will soon forget the impression they’ve had on one another.

“We’ve had a great year at the library, Rosslanders are taking our materials at a the highest rate in five years, we have many more monthly events and attendance is at an all-time high, Summer Reading Club has been an absolute blast this year and we’re thrilled to be at the market. Aside from the library I’ll always remember Rossland, and the Kootenays, as a place where I finally got my license,  climbed and biked mountains, and saw my first bear.”

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