The new Chestermere Public Library Chief Librarian is excited to fulfill the facility’s goals while expanding community partnerships.
Miranda Johnson has worked in libraries for over 20 years and chose to become a Librarian halfway through her career.
“I absolutely loved libraries, I loved being in the library, and I wanted to work at a higher level on a more strategic basis,” Johnson said.
To pursue her goal of becoming a Librarian, Johnson obtained her master’s degree in Library Science and a master’s degree in Leadership.
“Public libraries play such an essential role in the community that I wanted to be a really great leader, so I went back and obtained my master’s degree in leadership,” Johnson said.
Johnson is now head of operations at the Chestermere Public Library and is responsible for staffing, services, programs, and collections.
“I select the items that are put in the collections that are based on publishers’ reviews, review sources, and community feedback,” Johnson said.
Johnson is extremely excited about the opportunity to become a part of the Chestermere community and work with Chestermere Public Library members.
“We’re so lucky at the library, we get to look out every day at the beautiful lake,” Johnson said.
“Chestermere is a growing city, and there is a lot of potential for the library to grow, for individuals to grow alongside the library, and for the library to be a part of everybody’s day-to-day,” she added. “There is a lot of opportunities, and a lot of opportunity for growth.”
Moving forward, Johnson’s goals for the Chestermere Public Library is to continue to fulfill the vision of being vital beyond words, achieving strategic vision goals set by the Library Board, and achieving business plan goals.
“I view public libraries as a dynamic community learning hub that support a range of skill-building and literacy development, my personal goals would be to fulfill that vision,” Johnson said.
Although Johnson has always loved working in libraries, there have been challenging aspects that she has had to overcome.
“The perception that the library isn’t an essential service or isn’t essential in the community, that’s very confusing to me because public libraries in my experience are often overflowing with people and interest and people learning,” Johnson said.
“That is a challenge when I hear that, and I work very tirelessly to ensure that perception is addressed,” she said.
Obtaining library funding is another significant challenge for Johnson.
“We have a lot of funding challenges, we’re very appreciative of public libraries and the funding that we are run primarily through government grants, and we’re so appreciative of that, and we do have some revenue sources,” Johnson said.
She added, “We do accept donations, and we appreciate them very much.”
Johnson is continuing to work to ensure libraries continue to receive government grants and continue to be recognized as an essential service.
“Libraries are a dynamic community learning hub that supports a range of skill-building and literacy development, there is so much potential with that,” Johnson said.
Although the Chestermere Public Library is not currently open fully, they are offering a wide range of eResources and curbside pick-up.
“With COVID-19, where we have moved on to be online, that’s a gap that we’ve been filling in supporting digital literacy,” Johnson said.
“There are a lot of opportunities, and the future is really bright for public libraries. As the world changes and technology changes the way we operate, we’re so creative at the library with the programs we offer to support skill-building and literacy development,” she said.
Adding, “The other potential that is exciting is to work more with our community partners to really achieve community goals. There is a lot of room there to work with partnerships and work collaboratively.”
Curb-side pick-up has gone extremely well, with over 250 Chestermere Public Library users coming to pick up their items.
“We’re trying to figure out how to move to the next stage with curbside pick-up, while ensuring that our staff is safe and that the community is safe and we’re following public health directions,” Johnson said.
“The demand is there to have the library open,” she said.