Eganville — Patrons, staff and board members had a chance to say good-bye and extend best wishes to a member of the Bonnechere Union Public Library (BUPL) who is moving on to a new challenge as Director of Regional Services for all libraries in Newfoundland/Labrador.
CEO/Librarian Dawn Silver announced her resignation one month ago and on Thursday, she was acknowledged for her contributions to the library since her arrival three years ago.
Board chair Judy Sauve said once the word went out about the drop-in event, there was a great response.
“I have to say it was not that long ago that we were standing here and it was a welcoming party for Dawn,” she said. “So, we really didn’t dream that it would be this soon that we would lose her, but who could pass up that dream job in Newfoundland.
“And we’ll all be out to visit,” she quipped.
Mrs. Sauve extended best wishes to Mrs. Silver, thanking her for the time she had spent at the library and for everything she had added to the institution.
“It’s been a really, really good time and people love coming here. We’ve had such wonderful comments about how friendly a library it is and a lot of the credit belongs to Dawn.
“And we have a wonderful staff,” she added. “That is only one of the things this woman has done, good planning on her part. A really good manager always has a plan in mind in case she has to disappear, a succession plan, and she did that for us in hiring Nikolina (Likarevic).”
Mrs. Sauve announced Ms. Likarevic will be the interim CEO starting April 8.
“She has been having a crash course, but she is very qualified and is quite prepared to jump into Dawn’s shoes,” she said.
Mrs. Sauve noted a few gifts had been delivered for Ms. Silver for the occasion, adding she knew some of them contained a “little help for along the way” in terms of Tim Horton’s gift cards and gift cards for Chapters.
She said she wanted to help introduce Ms. Silver to Newfoundland, adding anyone who knows anything about Newfie culture knows when you arrive, you must kiss the cod to become a native. Pulling out a fish-shaped oven mitt, Ms. Silver planted a kiss on its face much to the delight of the audience.
She said her success at the library is all because of the board, staff and patrons.
“You guys run this library, each and every one of you. You tell us what you want to read, we get what you want to see here, read, participate in.
“A community-led library is something that is dead easy for a librarian to manage because it’s all coming from you guys,” she added. “You all make me look great.”
She described Eganville as a vibrant community with such a huge group of library supporters.
“I just want to thank you all, keep up the good work. Times ahead might be a little rough and rocky, there may be cuts on the horizon.
“Just be ready because you will overcome it, it will be surmounted, because nothing can get rid of this library, the staff that work here, and the community that borrows its materials. Good on ya.”
Preparing For Her New Position
After the formalities, Ms. Silver said since her announcement in the March 6 edition of The Leader, she had gone to Newfoundland for two weeks of training in March for her new role where she will oversee all 94 libraries in the province.
“I told the board first when I accepted the job, but then something came up and I needed to go for two weeks’ training because the woman I’m replacing had to be gone by the end of March,” she said. “The board was very understanding and the staff managed to cope.”
When she returned, she fulfilled the last two weeks of her notice with last Friday being her final day.
Her predecessor left the job March 27, so she has been trying to do work from afar as she and husband David Rowe have been busy packing for the long trip ahead.
“But they’re managing,” she remarked.
She hopes to be on the job April 15, saying she found the training was great.
“The last four days I was there, I was actually doing the job. They’re also in the process of hiring a HR (Human Resources) consultant to take the pressure off that position, so I can actually utilize my library skills to better effect.
“Like every rural public library, you always have pressures about the amount of staff time you can get, the budget, running enough programs, but my community-led library approach is what really is the key. Talking to the communities, getting to know the people that are working there, living there, and that’s something I love to do,” she added. “So it means I get to travel a whole bunch, go and speak to people, find out how things are going, because everybody is really very good at talking about what they love, and they love their libraries.”
Ms. Silver said going from overseeing one library to overseeing 94 is really just doing the same thing on a larger scale.
In her final two weeks at the BUPL, she tried to wrap up several things, noting she was confident Ms. Likarevic, who she hired in July 2018 as the technical services assistant, was very competent.
“Nikolina is a professional librarian, she has a Masters of Library Information Studies, like I do, and she’s just a great candidate to slide in, hopefully, into the position in a permanent way after she’s done the temporary.”
Ms. Silver had mixed emotions Thursday, saying her role at BUPL had been a great job and she had the opportunity to live and work in a fabulous community.
“It hasn’t been perfect, nothing ever is, but man, it’s been a ride,” she said.