Building Better Communities Award recognizes leadership of outgoing Director Elizabeth Tracy
At this year’s B.C. Library Association Annual General Meeting, the Whistler Public Library was named the recipient of the B.C.Library Association Building Better Communities Award. This award 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. The awards were announced at the virtual Awards Ceremony on May 11, 2022.
Whistler Public Library is recognized for its work in creating a space of inclusivity and access for all. 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 2021, Whistler Public Library partnered with the Resort Municipality of Whistler and Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS) to expand access to outreach workers in the library via a Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) Strengthening Communities Grant. In December 2021, the UBCM grant paved the way to activate the first-ever Emergency Weather Response Shelter (EWRS) in Whistler’s history. The WCSS Outreach team provided warming shelter support to over 75 visitors to the library over a six-day Arctic outflow event. Additional funding from Emergency Management BC paid for a security guard to staff an overnight shelter in the library Community Room, which supported 19 individuals over six nights. Several individuals were able to access much-needed mental health support as a result of their visit to the shelter. The activation of the EWRS has led to municipal council support for a short-term pilot for the potential development of ongoing Emergency Shelter activations in the future.
Each year, the British Columbia Library Association (BCLA) invites the library community, partners and stakeholders to nominate individuals and organizations for awards recognizing outstanding work in libraries throughout the province.