Big task is maintaining library’s relevance
Denise Corey is the Cumberland Pubiic Library's new chief librarian.
© Darrell Cole - Cumberlandnewsnow.com
Denise Corey is the Cumberland Public Libraries new chief librarian, taking over from Beth Clinton who has returned to Prince Edward Island to study in the health-care field.
AMHERST – You won’t hear Denise Corey shooshing anyone anytime soon.
The new chief librarian of the Cumberland Public Libraries is looking forward to continuing the work of her predecessor by making the library a cool place to be for people of all ages.
“For some reason people get this idea of libraries being a boring place to go, where you have to be quiet all the time or risk getting shooshed, or place where you can only find books,” Corey said. “Our biggest challenge in telling people the library is still relevant in today’s society.”
Corey is in her second week as the new chief librarian, succeeding Beth Clinton who returned to her home in Prince Edward Island to take training in the health-care feed. She enters her new position as the Cumberland library system, like others in the province, is in the fourth year of a provincial funding freeze that has created a number of challenges for library staff to offer the programs and services people want and expect their library to offer.
A graduate of the NSCC library technician program, Corey went back to school to get her masters degree and worked in libraries in both Halifax and Fredericton, N.B. before coming to Amherst in 2008 to become the deputy chief librarian.
“I like this community, it’s a great place to live and work,” Corey said. “I like Cumberland County because it’s so beautiful and everything a person needs is right here. My family is only 45 minutes away and when I can’t find something I need here Moncton is only half an hour or so away.”
As she settles into her new job, Corey is hoping people will continue to see Cumberland County’s public libraries as more than a place to borrow books. While the print collection is a major part of what the library does, Corey said it has evolved so much in recent years to become a community hub.
There are programs and services at the library that can’t be found elsewhere in the community and the collection has grown to include many newspapers and magazines, ebooks and ereaders and DVDs.
Corey said the library offers numerous programs for children as well as for adults and hosts author readings and book clubs. It also works to promote literacy by working with CAN-U and the GAP program.
“The biggest thing we can do is foster a climate in which people read for enjoyment,” Corey said. “If a parent reads because he or she enjoys it, chances are their children will also be readers. If there’s anything we can do to promote the enjoyment of reading we’ll do it.”
Something else she’s looking forward to continuing the community classes started by Clinton that have grown to include 60 participants in both Amherst and Springhill.
She’s also hoping to maintain public Internet access through the public library system’s 38 computers.
“We had 21,000 hours of use last year. One of the reasons the federal government cut its funding for C@P sites is because it said most Canadians have access to the Internet at home. What we’re finding is there are still a lot of people who don’t have Internet access and they have come to rely on the library,” she said. “In tough times one of the first things people cut are the cable TV and the Internet, while there are others who don’t have a huge circle of friends and come to the library to use the Internet so they can connect with others.”