There is a new face at the North Grenville Public Library (NGPL). The library’s new CEO, Rachel Brown, started her position in June and has been busy since then getting up to speed on everything that goes on at the library.
From Ottawa, Rachel has always loved libraries. As a young girl, her father would take her on weekly visits to the local library in Nepean and, when she reached high school, she got a job there. “I loved the atmosphere. I loved card catalogues. I loved everything about it,” she says. “I pretty much knew from the time I went to university that I wanted to be a librarian.”
Rachel went to Carleton University for her undergrad, and then went on to get her Master’s in Library Science from the University of Western Ontario. The program was fairly cutting edge at the time, and there was a lot of emphasis on the use of technology in libraries, even in the mid-90s. “I did a project on the Internet,” Rachel remembers.
Since becoming a librarian, Rachel has worked in both traditional and non-traditional settings. She has worked in university libraries, the Library of Parliament, other government libraries, and even held a position in a federal agency for a while. For the past several years she has been working in the non-profit healthcare sector at several different organizations. “I wore so many hats,” Rachel says. “I got to work with a variety of audiences, doing traditional information gathering, but also creating and implementing new systems.”
Although she says her career, thus far, has been both rewarding and interesting, Rachel always knew she wanted to get back into public libraries. When the position came up in North Grenville, she jumped at the opportunity. “I wanted to get back to the community,” she says.
Rachel has felt nothing but welcome in her first month at the NGPL. “The staff here are amazing,” she says. “They are so customer service oriented, and they really know how to run the library.”
She also gives credit to her predecessor, Sue Higgins, who was with the library for 27 years. “I walked into a very well-run library,” she says. “I feel very fortunate.”
Rachel is looking forward to getting to know the people of North Grenville even more, and fostering the position of the library as a community hub. She hopes to continue with the partnerships the library already has with various community groups, and to pinpoint other ways that the NGPL can be a valuable resource to its patrons. “We want to serve all the groups in the community,” she says.
Even after only a month on the job, it is clear that Rachel is in her element. She smiles from ear to ear when she talks about the library and the people she has met who truly value the community space. “I always want to work in a place where people believe in what they are doing,” she says. “The community loves its library.”