Being a community resource and helping to improve what is already a good library is among the goals for Ponoka’s new head librarian.
Dan Galway started last week at the Ponoka Jubilee Library after eight years working in Canada’s far north, the last five as the library manager for the Iqaluit (Nunavut) Centennial Library.
“Working in the north was a great way to gain experience and put my education to use,” said Galway, who is originally from St. John’s, Newfoundland and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology and Music History from Memorial University.
He held a few positions, including being archivist and assistant librarian as well as resource centre manager for the Nunavut Wildlife Management board, before taking on the top job at the Iqaluit library.
“Once I got settled, I knew what I wanted to do. I love (being a librarian) and I cannot imagine doing anything else,” he added. “And I really felt ready to leave and it was time to put all of those skills I’ve learned to use elsewhere.”
His idea of what libraries should be can be summed up by the term — Library 2.0, which is fairly relevant in this new post as it really reflects all of what is currently being done in Ponoka. That includes having a great staff that are open and receptive to making the library a part of the community and working with new technologies and products to give patrons what they want.
A couple of things that will be different here than up north include how the library is funded and having it part of a regional system.
“Being part of the Parkland Regional Library is great because without that unified bond, patrons would not be able to access a lot more of the different resources that are available at other libraries in the system,” he stated.
“The funding structure up north was through government, so with many small town libraries there can be lots of issues in how much funds are available and what kind of fundraising is done. In order to help mitigate those issues, we can prove our worth in a variety of ways from our circulation figures to the programming we offer that will quantify and measure our success.”
Something Galway likes is the library’s recent change to free memberships and believes all libraries should be free to use.
“The cost benefit to having paid memberships is not there, it needs to be free. Where I worked previously, I abolished membership fees and was pleased to see a similar program in place here,” he said.
“It’s difficult to enforce and excludes, plus deters people that either don’t or can’t pay a fee. What libraries do is purvey information to patrons and we need to work on meeting their needs.”
An improvement step Galway would like to see is for the library to work on making its public social media profile more prominent as well as increase the number of programs that are available for both adults and children.
Galway, who likes to snowmobile and ride his dirt bike, also brought along his wife and three-year-old son on this new adventure.