This week we heard from Maureen Sawa, CEO of the Greater Victoria Public Library about the resilience and agility of our Libraries, particularly during the pandemic, and the importance of their services in helping people in isolation or with homeschooling.
We also had the pleasure of hearing author, songwriter and professional speaker, Stephanie Staples speak of her journey and current endeavors in writing children's books and recognizing our healthcare professionals.
Maureen Sawa is the Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL).  In the last 10 years, Maureen has led GVPL through transformative change, including the challenges of COVID this past year. She is the author of two children’s books and holds a Masters of Information Studies from the University of Toronto. Maureen is recognized for her collaborative and non-traditional approach to library services and she has been recognized with several awards.  She is also on the Victoria Welcoming Taskforce. She once caught a 100 lb Marlin off the sea of Cortez. Her full bio on the Harbourside website.
Maureen acknowledged the territory.  She spoke of the shared service model that the Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL) engages in to serve 352,000 residents. There is a municipal Library Board governing 13 branches (12 physical and one digital).  Maureen shared how the GVPL pivoted to a remote service model when the pandemic hit in March, 2020.  Demand in digital resources increased by 77% and physical branches needed to be reconfigured for safe use. Patrons’ social and emotional isolation was helped by access to resources.  GVPL already had an online registration process, unlike many libraries in the country. GVPL spent $500,000 to gather additional digital resources many of which helped with homeschooling. They have introduced several new programs such as the Emerging Local Authors Collection. Check out the GVPL website.  3 delivery vans are on the road constantly.  Current campaign “It’s time to Change your Mind” won international recognition.  Also recognized is their model for cataloguing Indigenous materials, which is being copied by other libraries.  Looking forward to the Summer Reading Club. Libraries are resilient and agile and we can meet the needs of people across time and place.

Angus introduced our second speaker, Stephanie Staples (CSP). Stephanie is a recovering burnt-out nurse and a serial entrepreneur. She has founded three businesses and is the 2014 Manitoba Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Contribution to Community award winner. She is the author of two books (soon to be 3), When Enlightening Strikes: Creating a Mindset of Uncommon Success and Your Life, Unlimited: A Guided Journal and a regular expert columnist for both print and online periodicals including  Stephanie Staples is the Radio/TV host of Your Life, Unlimited. She is also a professional Master of Ceremonies and is the host/producer of momondays Winnipeg (Motivational Mondays) a super-fun and uplifting evening where real people get to tell real stories that help inspire others to make the world a better place. Her full bio is on the RCVH website.
Stephanie did 50 “try something new” challenges in her 50th year and wrote a book about it.  Stephanie decided to help children try new things and she decided to do it by writing a book - Noah & the Try-ceratops.  She found it hard to start writing a book so she started by writing a song and it became the basis for the book. She did a crowd-sourcing campaign (kick-starter) and people (besides her mother J) came forward and they met their goal. She partnered with 1000X5 and looks forward to working with them.  As a former Nurse, Stephanie reminded us that Nurses Week is coming. She, with others, decided to put together a global health care providers campaign. With several philanthropic partners they are getting the word out to celebrate our healthcare providers. Stephanie ended with some encouragement for everyone: whatever idea is in the back of your mind, find a way to try it!  Do what brings you joy! Then Stephanie demonstrated what brings her joy by singing her sone “Noah and the Try- ceratops”.