Internship creating opportunities at Invermere Library

by Julie Matchett
Blair McFarlane reading book to group of children in library.

Invermere Public Library intern Blair McFarlane has spent many years as a volunteer and summer student at the library. She is eagerly embracing her new role as Community Outreach Library Assistant. — Photo courtesy Tracy Connery Photography/CBT

A move to the brand new, state-of-the-art Columbia Valley Centre has been beneficial for the Invermere Public Library. Providing services throughout the Columbia Valley to a population that fluctuates seasonally from 9,000 to 20,000 people, the library has been able to expand its selection of books and activities. With minimal staff, however, developing and implementing new and engaging programs has been difficult. Thanks to help from Columbia Basin Trust’s Career Internship Program, the library created a new, full-time position to help deliver existing programs and develop a host of others.

“The new role boosts our community outreach,” says Nicole Pawlak, Library Director. “After providing community programs only as our limited resources would allow, this is the first time we’ve been able to properly define and fulfill the role.”

The Career Internship Program provides employers with wage subsidies to hire recent post-secondary graduates for full-time, career-focused positions that lead to permanent employment. The benefit is twofold: employers are able to expand their teams and capacity at a reduced cost, and graduates are able to find fulfilling, full-time employment in their chosen fields.

As the new Community Outreach Library Assistant, Blair McFarlane has eagerly embraced her new role at the library. McFarlane takes the lead on activities ranging from the summer reading program to the new STEAM initiative, as well as promoting the library in various ways.

“I love the responsibility,” McFarlane says. “Organizing events such as author visits where I get to interact with the writers—it’s exciting to host an event that attracts people who don’t typically come into the library. Developing programs is creative and fun, particularly for kids.”

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