Kathryn Foley is more than ready to be the face of the Trail and District Public Library.
The library levels the playing field for a lot of people who may not have the where-with-all to modern day technology, she says.
“So we are in the position of being more important than ever with free access,” Foley explained.
However, digital content is not being published electronically as fast or as much as in print, she said, noting that people can lose out on a huge amount of both written and recorded resources the library continues to provide.
“We need to get that message out and I am more than willing, it’s an important part of this position.”
Foley is finishing up her first week as the new library director of the Trail facility. She’s happy to be back in small town B.C., and more than ready to tackle the busy year ahead.
“I like that the area is not growing as fast as Cochrane (Alberta),” she explained about her choice to leave that community and move to Trail. “Growing at 10 per cent a year, it was hard to keep infrastructure up with the pace. And the flavour of the community also changes when growth is so fast.”
After an interview with the library board via Skype and a follow up visit to Trail in December, Foley and her husband packed up and returned to Trail two weeks ago, with plans to stay long term.
“I am a B.C. girl and I love the mountains,” she said. “My husband, who is from Idaho, had been to Trail with hockey years and years ago. He remembered the city and had a good idea where we would be going to.”
The Trail and District Library Board is hosting an open house Friday from 1-3 p.m. and they welcome all library users to drop by and meet the new librarian.
Born and raised on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Foley spent a number of years both travelling and working in North America and abroad.
While she is an avid reader of mainly mysteries and historical books, citing Diane Gabaldon as one of her favourite authors, Foley recognizes the integral role online content plays in reaching all readers.
“It’s important to use all media to connect with people,” she said. “You can lose some, because when they mostly use electronic resources, you might not have any contact at all, other than the first time they come in to show proof of residency,” she said.
“So I think we are bound by duty to have a good relationship with local newpapers and to keep up our web page and Facebook posts.”
She has a Bachelor of Education, taught Kindergarten through Grade 12, and worked as a Teacher Librarian for over 10 years.
Using her experience of public service in education and volunteering, Foley was co-chief librarian in Wainwright, Alberta before enrolling and achieving her Master of Library Studies from the University of British Columbia in 2002.
Additionally, she’s worked for almost four years in Kelowna as Youth Services Librarian before building a youth services department at a library in Idaho.
Foley’s experience in grant writing and fund raising is timely for Trail, with the new library/museum set to break ground this spring.
While she’s still catching up with the new Riverfront Centre plans, her experience seeking out funding sources will be an asset to the $6 million project.
“I was very much involved with getting a planning committee together and raising money through grants and other means in Cochrane,” she said. “I’m an extrovert and more than happy to talk to anyone in the community, which is an important part of this position. Because when you go to your community to ask for something, they want to know who you are, and what they are getting back.”
The task of promoting the library in the community and the new facility design is high priority this year, says Foley. “You can’t move into a lovely new building and have nothing new to put in it.”