During October, National Library Month, we are featuring the five CUPE members who won recognition as 2021 BC Library Association award winners. Congratulations to CUPE 339 member Melodie Rae Storey, winner of the BCLA Young Adult and Children’s Services award.
“Amazing, innovative, and special” is how the BC Library Association described the programs developed by Nelson Public Library’s teen and literacy coordinator, Melodie Rae Storey. Storey, a CUPE 339 member, is the recipient of the 2021 BC Library Association award for exceptional dedication and service in children’s or teen librarianship in B.C.
“This is an incredible honour and it was a huge lift in a very tough year,” said Storey, thanking BCLA Young Adult and Children’s Services (YAC) for supporting rural librarians.
As well as her regular library duties, Storey provides programs for teens and literacy services for all ages. Storey is currently doing a monthly program called “New to Nelson Tea Talks”, a play on Ted Talks. The program for immigrants and others new to Nelson connects them with locals and gives them helpful information. Each month features a different topic, such as the upcoming “How to Drive in Winter Snow.”
Storey enjoys the flexibility and creativity of developing programs, often drawing on what she wanted to do as a teen for inspiration. “I get to follow my curiosity and try new things,” said Storey. Older teens need things to put on their resumés, so she thinks about practical programs they need. Even if she may not always get it right when finding ‘the thing’ teens want to do, “creating joy and enthusiasm” brings them in.
“Kootenay Teens’ News” is a new program to develop a library-published regional newspaper. Teens are participating from all libraries throughout the Kootenays. They meet weekly on Zoom and Storey lines up guests to provide training on subjects such as photojournalism or how to interview people. “I’m just so excited about it,” said Storey. “I can’t wait to see the first issue.”
At the start of the pandemic, when Zoom was glitchy and there were technology hurdles to overcome, as one of her literacy programs Storey developed a crash course to learn Zoom technology titled “How to Make Zoom Meaningful.” With the help of an instructor who taught improv workshops, the popular four-part series looked at how to make people feel welcome and connected on Zoom.
2020 programs developed by Storey and highlighted at the 2021 BCLA Awards included “Under the Umbrella” for LGBT2Q+ teens; “Awaken Your Activist”, “Kootenay Penpal Club”, “Leadership Dream Certificate” and “Kootenay Teen Online Bookclub.”
Being from a smaller community, Storey was surprised to have been seen and to win the award. “I’m appreciative and thankful for all the people that I get to work with to create these programs,” said Storey. “All of them should get an award.”