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More than 150 library workers from across BC gathered in Vancouver last week for this year’s Library Workers Conference.

Trevor Davies, Co-Chair of CUPE BC’s library committee, opened the three-day conference Thursday evening. CUPE BC President Barry O’Neill brought greetings to delegates and keynote speaker, the well known Radio and TV host and author, Vicki Gabereau, shared stories from her intriguing career.

Re-inventing Libraries – Thinking Outside the Book” was the theme of the conference which was designed to address the new role libraries are taking in communities.

Libraries are no longer just a place where people come to check out books, or do research, today, libraries are community centres,” said Heather Inglis, CUPE BC’s library coordinator. “This conference aimed to give library workers the tools and information they need to adapt to changes in the library system.”

The conference continued Friday with a panel discussion followed by a keynote speech from author Angie Abdou. The panellists’ diverse backgrounds provided delegates a wide range of viewpoints on the changes to libraries in recent years. Panellists included:

  • Christina Neigel, Instructor, University of Fraser Valley, Library & Information Technology Program
  • Robin Austin, MLA Skeena and Opposition Critic for Education, Early Learning & Literacy
  • Denise Parks, Circulation Supervisor, Newton Library Branch
  • Beth Barlow, Retired Chief Librarian, Surrey Libraries

Abdou told delegates that she writes all of her books at her local library in Fernie and stressed that libraries are a vital and essential part of every community.

The last half of the conference delegates were able to choose to attend three workshops from a variety of topics which included: violence and bullying, ergonomics, knowing and advocating for your rights, conflict resolution and effects and impacts of the economy on libraries.

The conference wrapped up Saturday evening with closing remarks from CUPE BC Secretary-treasurer, Mark Hancock, who commended library workers on the important work they do in their communities all over BC.