COLUMN: Golden apple time at the Summerland Library

Do you ever stop and think about what a wonderful town we live in? It doesn’t matter if you have lived here all your life or are a new resident, there is something pretty special about Summerland.

My husband and I have resided here for 27 years. We moved to Summerland with the intent of raising our children close to family and in a town with access to amenities usually found in bigger cities.

An indoor pool, skating arena and a public library were just a few of the perks. Taking my two sons to the library when they were little and letting them choose picture books to bring home was a joy.

My fondest memories are of reading aloud to them, one on either side of me, snuggled up on the couch.

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A few years later, a job opportunity opened up for on-call work at the library. I applied and was asked to come in for an interview.

The librarian told me to come prepared with a story to read. I chose the picture book King of the Woods, by David Day. A tale about a juicy, golden apple left on a tree stump that bigger and bigger animals of the woods each want for themselves. In the end, it is the smallest of creatures that outwits them all for the apple.

I was pretty confident in my ability to read a story well. After all, I had been doing that for years with my own children.

When I was offered the position at the library, I was excited. It was not just a job, but a real passion. I have always believed in the power of knowledge and how literature and literacy can change our lives for the better.

The public library was the place where I could take my children and let them choose whatever books they wanted to read without any worry about the cost.

As they grew older, they joined the Summer Reading Club, attended the fun, free programs and earned medals that they still treasure years later.

I hope that my small investment of time spent reading with them returns all the positive benefits that I had growing up surrounded by books.

Flash forward 17 years later and I am still employed with the Okanagan Regional Library here in Summerland.

A lot of hard work and dedication to that same philosophy that reading for knowledge or pleasure is an investment. Whether that be for your own children or yourself.

Having a public library for all to access in our hometown speaks volumes about what we value as a community. I chose to live here partly because of the library, not knowing what a big part of my life and career it would become.

Last month, I found myself once again applying for a job. One with a lot more responsibilities and challenges.

At the interview, I was not asked to read a story out loud, but rather outline why I might make a good community librarian for Summerland.

Perhaps the answer lay in any of the reasons I mentioned above, or maybe it was the love for my hometown and the people that live here, but I got the job!

This past week, a patron came in with a present for the library staff. I opened up the bag and inside there were golden apples.

Caroline McKay is the community librarian at the Summerland branch of the Okanagan Regional Library.

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