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West Vancouver Memorial Library honoured for excellence in seniors programming

Memorial Library's Indigenous storytelling with Squamish Nation highlighted by awards committee
West Vancouver Memorial Library has received a national award for outstanding service to seniors. Library assistants Kim Enjo and Kelly Bailey are part of the Assistive Services team who were recognized by the award.

West Vancouver Memorial Library has been recognized nationally, winning an award for its service to seniors.

Presented every two years by the Ex Libris Association and the Canadian Federation of Library Associations, the award is given to a library which offers “innovative and excellent service to their senior population.”

The national association said in a release the committee was particularly impressed with programming the library had put on in collaboration with Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation’s) Elder’s Centre, called “Dial-a-Story: Indigenous Storytelling by Squamish Elders.”

“This program provided a low-barrier opportunity for patrons to connect with others, and not only allowed isolated members of the community to listen to a story, but also gave Squamish Elders a chance to tell their stories and connect with their wider community,” Kendra Sakamoto, acting customer and community experience co-ordinator, said.

The program engaged 230 members of the library’s senior population, and sessions are ongoing.

“This award is an unbelievable honour and is truly deserved by WVML’s amazing Assistive Services team,” Sakamoto said. “Their tireless efforts have ensured that their patrons, most of whom are unable to come to the library, have been able to remain connected and engaged during this unprecedented period of social isolation. The Assistive Services team is incredibly valued in this community and this award is truly a testament to their ongoing efforts to improve the lives of West Vancouver seniors.”

The assistive services team programming also includes weekly deliveries of library materials to approximately 175 seniors in the community. The team also maintains collections of audiobook players, Talking Books, and dementia-friendly pastime kits and simple music players, and offers extensive readers’ advisory.

The selection committee received 13 “excellent” submissions from libraries across Canada and said selecting a winner for the award was “very difficult.” Brighton and Oakville public libraries, both in Ontario, shared the runner-up award for their novel seniors’ programs.

The award includes a $500 cash prize for the assistive services department.