The Whistler Public Library (WPL) was the recipient of a prestigious provincial award last week handed out by the B.C. Library Association.
Announced at a virtual ceremony on May 11, the WPL received the Building Better Communities Award, which "recognizes an individual or organization responsible for increasing the relevancy and impact of library service through partnership and collaboration, and building trust where little has previously existed," according to a release Thursday from the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW).
"Whistler Public Library is recognized for its work in creating a space of inclusivity and access for all," the release went on. "Under the leadership of their Director, Elizabeth Tracy, the library team has taken significant steps to support vulnerable and marginalized people in Whistler. This work is exemplified by the library’s ongoing partnerships with local community service providers to host weekly drop-ins for immigrant settlement services, homelessness outreach, employment services and more."
In the spring of last year, the WPL partnered with the RMOW and the Whistler Community Services Society to expand access to outreach workers in the library through a Union Of BC Municipalities grant. That led, in December 2021, to Whistler's first ever Emergency Weather Response Shelter, in which outreach workers provided warming shelter to more than 75 library visitors over a six-day cold snap. Additional funding from Emergency Management BC paid for a security guard to staff an overnight shelter in the library, which assisted 19 people over the six-night span.The emergency shelter motivated Whistler's mayor and council to support a short-term pilot "for the potential development of ongoing Emergency Shelter activations in the future," the release said.
The Village of Pemberton announced earlier this month that Tracy would be leaving her role as library director after 10 years to take on the role of chief administrative officer at the local government. You can listen to Tracy's award acceptance speech here.