The library was only a cubbyhole when Jane Jones arrived in Radium 16 years ago. It had a typewriter, a card-catalogue system and a desk, she recalled with mirth.
Ron Verboom, who was the library’s council representative, also laughed when he remembered the tiny space. At about 10 feet by 10 feet, the books could only be shelved along two walls since a window took up the third wall and the door occupied the last, he said.
The library moved from the cubbyhole to the Radium Plaza and later, in 2018, took up residence in the brand new Radium Hot Springs Centre.
Mr. Verboom said Ms. Jones deserves credit for expanding the library.
“June was an integral part of the growth of the library,” he said. “She was bringing more and more people into the library.”
Councillor Mike Gray called Ms. Jones “the sassy lady who comes out and busts my chops.”
Far from being a stereotypical librarian who is endlessly telling patrons to pipe down, he said her “fun, bubbly personality” warmed the library and turned it into a welcoming place and popular hangout spot.
“When you break the mould of what a librarian is, you break the mould of what a library is,” he said.
Ms. Jones would agree.
“The attitude in the library is not a library attitude,” she said at her retirement party on Friday, December 14th. “It’s a friendly visiting place for the public… It’s not just a place for books. It’s a place for people. You always feel very welcome.”
Surveying the group of around 30 people who gathered to wish her well, Ms. Jones said: “As I look around I see volunteer, volunteer, volunteer, volunteer.”
One of those volunteers, Phyllis Jackson, gave Ms. Jones a big hug.
“The children just love her – like the rest of us do,” she said.
Ms. Jones said the feeling is mutual and that she’s never met such friendly people as those who walk through through the library’s doors.
The highlights of 16 years leading story times, ordering books, arranging book drives, coordinating volunteers and moving into bigger and better spaces are the relationships she made along the way and “seeing all my little ones growing up and going to university.”
New library director Jacqueline Wagner said she’s grateful to Ms. Jones for her example.
“I’m hoping to emulate how she interacts with people,” Ms. Wagner said. “It’s been wonderful to have Jane as my mentor.”