Category Archives: Community Story Award

“Now I’m a reader, too!”

Francesca de Freitas from VPL’s Children’s Library recently shared this delightful story of “adorable SRC excitement”:

Some kids in our co-op put their reading records on their front doors so they show-off and can see what other kids have been reading, and so the Summer Reading Club is a not an infrequent topic of hallway conversation between the school-aged kids.

This morning my 5 year-old neighbour Ruby (starting K in Sept) came knocking very softly and, unusually shyly, at my door. She wanted to tell me she had joined the ‘library summer reading plan’ and that last night she’d read an entire book all by her self for the very first time. I asked her what the book was she told me it was ‘Time for Bed, Fred,’ and that her mom only had to help her with a couple of words that were hard. ‘Now I’m a reader too!’ she said.

We were so charmed at work that I’m bringing her a SRC poster and few buttons to celebrate this momentous becoming a reader milestone!

Do you have a SRC story to share? The winner will attend the 2020 BCLA Conference as our guest! For more details please visit

Please send your story in an email to, subject line: BC SRC Community Story Award.



We are delighted to announce that Ardie Burnham of the Okanagan Regional Library is the winner of the 2018 BC SRC Community Story Award!

About Ardie

Ardie is currently the Youth Services Librarian at the Salmon Arm Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library system (ORL). Prior to working for the ORL, she taught grade one at a private school and ran her own music studio. Ardie says she has the “best job in the world”! When she isn’t telling stories or carting her big gym bag (a.k.a her Mary Poppins bag!) to an outreach program, Ardie loves to be in motion. She can be found hiking, kayaking, biking, snowshoeing, waterskiing, rock climbing, and walking around her hometown.

“SRC Sanctuary”

Every summer, the youth in our community rush down to the library to sign up for Summer Reading Club. It thrills us that the parents and young people of Salmon Arm see the importance of reading over the summer and are excited to do it. This year, however, was particularly moving for us.

We are all aware of the terrible wildfires that ravaged our province over the summer. Like many other communities in BC, Salmon Arm provided shelter for those who were displaced from their homes due to evacuation orders. In situations like this, a library becomes a safe place and almost a second home for those who have nowhere else to go. This summer, we also discovered that the province wide summer reading program can provide much needed consistency for displaced children.

In July, we had a family come into the library hoping to use its resources. We discovered they were one of the many families effected by raging fires near their town. They had to leave behind almost everything they owned in their rush to escape the fires. After helping the family set up an emergency library account with us, the staff then asked if the children would like to sign up for Summer Reading Club. One of the children looked at the reading record and said, “Mom! They have the same club as us! Am I allowed to get another reading record?” It turned out that these children had signed up for Summer Reading Club at their own library but left their reading record behind when forced to evacuate. We were so happy that we were able to provide the children with the Summer Reading Club materials they had to leave behind, and it warmed our hearts to know that even in the midst of chaos, these children were able to find something from home in our library.

Photo credit: PEA (Professional Employees Association)


We are delighted to announce that Selina Powszedny of the Squamish Public Library is the winner of the 2017 BC SRC Community Story Award!

Our judges loved Selina’s story “because it really showcases a very typical user group of the BC SRC and how the program helps keep kids coming to the library as they get older”.
Selina will attend this year’s BCLA Conference as a guest of RBC (Royal Bank of Canada). She’ll also be joining us at the SRC Conference booth. Please come by and say hello, and congratulate her!

BCLA, in partnership with RBC, introduced the SRC Community Story Award at the 2013 BCLA Conference. Each year, the BC Summer Reading Club will present this award to an individual whose story best demonstrates the impact of the SRC within their community.
We look forward to hearing your SRC stories!

The 2017 SRC Community Story Award Winner

About Selina Powszedny

Selina’s three main passions since a young age have been animals, the environment, and, of course, reading. She tries to combine these three passions often, by reading books about the environment and animals, and encouraging others to do so as well. She was a Summer Reading Club Coordinator at the Squamish Public Library this past summer, and enjoyed coming up with ideas for the “Book A Trip” theme, and reading stories to the kids.

Selina is in her third year at the University of Victoria, double majoring in Environmental Studies and Geography. She tries to find time to read for joy regularly. Her favourite series is Harry Potter, and she doesn’t have a favourite book, as there are way too many. You can catch Selina hiking through the woods, swimming in lakes, and camping on regular occasions. She also loves to travel, and would love to travel more once university is finished, and maybe even write a book or two along the way.

Selina’s Story

“Selina and Cassie, all the boys are cheating on their reading records!” Arlene opens the door of the Squamish Public Library meeting room and yells in. I hear giggles as she lets the door slam shut after announcing this news. Cassie and I look at each other and roll our eyes. We have had our suspicions about this specific group of boys and their reading records before, but in all honesty, we do not mind so much.

It’s not that the boys don’t read. I am sure they do. They listen to the stories attentively while we read them during the programs, laughing along, and if one of them finishes the craft before all the others, they will usually grab a book and read. However, they do seem to ‘finish’ their week of reading before the week has finished each week. But they are a keen group of boys and they love the programs.

Each week, the boys interact with the library multiple times and in multiple ways. On Fridays, the boys will call in. There are about six boys in this group in total. Five of them are in the older kids group, all either eleven or twelve, and one is in the younger kids group, being eight. He sometimes stands outside the meeting room during the older kids group and stares in through the window. Anyways, on Fridays, all of them either call or come into the Squamish Public Library to register for the next weeks programs. Their parents never seem to participate in their registration, which, in turn, helps them learn independence.

When one of the boys call in, they seem to also register their younger sibling, their cousin, and their best friend as well, usually all for different programs on different days of the week. However, the boys in the group always register for Wednesday afternoons. The ones who don’t phone in physically come into the library to register within the first hour the library has opened on a Friday, also registering siblings, cousins and friends. On Mondays or Tuesdays, the boys will usually roll up to the library on their bikes, come into the library to hang out, look around, and update their reading records. They will all look for books together, and spend at least an hour in here. The library has become their meeting ground. And on Wednesdays, they come in for the program, arriving half an hour early to hang out in the library, and usually spending half an hour in the library once the program is finished.

All of the boys have been participating in the BC Summer Reading Club for a few summers now, and they all enjoy it. The BC Summer Reading Club has given them all an opportunity to get out in their community, expand their mindsets, given them motivation to read, and enjoy their summer. Sure, they are not the best listeners, and they goof off a bit in the programs, but the library has become a special place for them, and I hope it continues to be as they continue to grow older and enter middle school.

Walking on the Wild Side at the 2017 BCLA Conference!

What a great time we had at the BCLA Conference! As always, it was a treat to see old friends and put faces to email addresses. Although this year’s chair, TNRD’s Emily Olsen, was unfortunately unable to attend Conference, Incoming Chair, VPL’s Jennifer Lee and Outgoing Chair, RPL’s Kate Adams were on hand to welcome conference delegates to the 2017 BC SRC: Walk on the Wild Side!

VPL’s Jennifer Lee and RPL’s Kate Adams

On display was this year’s gorgeous artwork by  Darlene Gait! Jenn Lee’s stunning cut-outs of BC foliage added a wonderful wild-ness to the SRC booth!

We were thrilled when Darlene generously donated the original painting of the poster for the Conference. In recent years, our SRC artists have worked digitally so it was pretty exciting to see the artwork IRL!

VPL’s Jenn Lee beside original painting for 2017 BC SRC poster by Darlene Gait. Done in ink, coloured Pantone pencil, and gauche; measures 12 x 24″.

Everyone was invited to try the SRC Quiz Conference Edition, created once again by our brilliant Quiztress, Randi Robin. Prizes included a bottle of BC wine and an adorable thematically-correct Folkmanis Raccoon puppet. Stay tuned later this summer, when the SRC Quiz Conference Edition will appear here on this blog, for you to try!

An oversized reading record and some crayons provided an opportunity to explore drawing skills with the Draw Yourself in Nature Activity cards. (Most of us decided we’d best stick with our day jobs! 😉 )

A ballot box invited people to vote for their favourite theme for 2019. They were asked to choose from a shortlist (the top contenders from last year’s poll). 

The possible 2019 themes include:

  1. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
  2. Mysteries
  3. Imagination/Art

If you haven’t yet voted, please do so here! (So far, it’s a very close race!) Voting is open till Monday, June 19th.

If you didn’t make it to Conference this year, we missed you, and hope you’ll send us news and updates about the SRC goings on at your library.

Be sure to tell us your stories, too! We are now accepting submissions for the 2018 Community Story Award! Please see here for more details!

Looking forward to A Walk on the Wild Side with you this summer!


We are delighted to announce that Lise Kreps of the Burnaby Public Library is the winner of the 2016 BC SRC Community Story Award!

Our judges loved Lise’s story about an ESL mum and her two daughters signing up for the BC SRC, together! Said one judge: “I think the story really captures what SRC is all about.”

Lise will attend this year’s BCLA Conference as a guest of RBC (Royal Bank of Canada). She’ll also be joining us at the SRC Conference booth. Please come by and say hello, and congratulate her!

BCLA, in partnership with RBC, introduced the SRC Community Story Award at the 2013 BCLA Conference. Each year, the BC Summer Reading Club will present this award to an individual whose story best demonstrates the impact of the SRC within their community.
We look forward to hearing your SRC stories!

The 2016 SRC Community Story Award Winner

About Lise Kreps:

Lise earned her MLS in the Dark Ages just before the Internet was invented, when we still consulted printed indices and scried in inkwells. She has started and run three madrigal choirs, as well as designed sound for theatrical productions, which led her into twenty years as a software documentation and usability consultant in Seattle, as well as teaching at the University of Washington’s iSchool, and back to librarianship at Cornish College of the Arts. In 2007 she returned to Canada and began working at Burnaby Public Library, where she enjoys helping
patrons of all ages and backgrounds at the McGill Branch.

Lise’s Story:

Margaret, an ESL mum, just signed up not only her two daughters for SRC but herself as well. She told me her daughters want her to read in English every day, so they all sit on the couch and read their own books. Her daughter times it to make sure they read at least a half hour. Last year they all joined the SRC, and Margaret got a medal along with her daughters at the medal ceremony at Metrotown Library. Margaret described the experience as, “We stand in line. Very happy! Very proud.”

She asked about the robot, and I explained the Build-It theme, and pointed out the SRC activities we have coming up, like the kick-off party this Saturday, the Lego, and the Marshmallow Building event. Margaret was thrilled, and exclaimed, “We love library!”

This Year’s Winner

We are delighted to announce that Gen Carmody of the Pemberton and District Public Library is the 2019 BC SRC Community Story Award Winner! 

Our judges sure had a difficult time selecting a winner this year! Ultimately, Gen’s story was chosen because “this story speaks of building great connections with the community through SRC .” We think you’ll agree!

Gen will attend this year’s BCLA Conference (May 8-10) as a guest of CUPE BC. She’ll also be joining us at the SRC Conference booth. Please come by and say hello, and congratulate her!

BCLA, introduced the SRC Community Story Award at the 2013 BCLA Conference. Each year, the BC Summer Reading  Club presents this award to an individual whose story best demonstrates the impact of the SRC within their community.

We look forward to hearing your SRC stories! You may submit them anytime, directly to with the subject line: BC SRC Community Story Award.

The 2019 SRC Community Story Award Winner

About Gen Carmody 

Gen is the Technology and Digital Services Coordinator at the Pemberton & District Public Library and she loves her job! Everyday is different and exciting and she is always learning! She is extremely grateful to have such a wonderful library and team to work with.

Gen grew up on a small island called Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia. She came to Canada for a holiday in 2007, and after spending the winter in Whistler, fell in love with the place and the people. She’s been there ever since.

When she’s not curled up with a book, you can find Gen outdoors – snowboarding in winter; skateboarding, hiking, climbing, camping and fishing in the summer.


Gen’s Story: “Welcome to Summer Reading Club”*

This year was the first year I was involved in our Summer Reading Club Program at the Pemberton & District Library and I loved it! Our small community is very busy during summer, enjoying the outdoors, and we are usually pretty quiet during these months. Our Summer Reading Club program in previous years had become a little stagnant. Parents would sign up the same few children every year whether they were interested in the program or not, program attendance was very low and in 2017 only three reading logs were completed and handed in. We felt that a new approach was necessary to get children excited about reading over summer while supporting literacy through activities and programming that would fit in with busy summer vacations and family adventures. After an amazing afternoon brainstorming session (this literally was one of my favourite days at work), we decided to create and design our own scavenger hunt full of activities (many came from the SRC website). These activities could be completed anytime during the summer. All of the staff were on board and we were really excited about our revamped SRC!  We set ourselves a goal of handing out 50 reading logs and having way more than 3 reading logs returned.

By completing activities in the scavenger hunt and by reading every day, participants would earn points. The child with the most points in their age group by the end of the program would win a prize. Children and parents loved it! We had well over 100 children register and over 50 returned completed reading logs! The programs we held during the SRC were incredibly popular with over 100 in attendance at our SRC End Party. We even had to rent a room in the Community Centre to fit everyone in! All on a shoestring budget and without our usual summer student.

This was an incredible experience! I remember so many moments where one of the staff would come out to the staff area and share a story of how a child had just melted their heart with the amount of effort they went to and just how adorable they were!  I was also blown away by the reception our SRC programming received in the community! We did not expect it to be as well received as it was. We had to hold a tiebreaker event to decide a winner as so many children completed every single activity and read every single day! Although it was a lot of hard work and there are things we will change next year, the feedback from parents and children was overwhelmingly positive and heartwarming. Parents loved that the scavenger hunt allowed them to do the activities as a family and have quality time together. Many said the library became an active part of their summer, for some SRC became a weekly routine and the children were nagging them to go to the Library! Children were excited and engaged, they loved finding the secret words we had hidden around town and many told us that they couldn’t wait until next year’s SRC!

If I had to choose, just one thing that made SRC so special this year, it was how many children I have gotten to know better through my interactions with them. Many of the scavenger hunt activities required that children come to the library and use resources or interact with staff. This then gave us an opportunity to connect with many of the children and their parents. I especially loved the activity where participants had to come and tell a staff member a joke. Many children had never even spoken to a staff member before and many practiced their jokes at home before coming to tell one of us. It was very moving to watch them overcome their shyness and interact with us, and we all were able to create special bonds with many of the children over the SRC that have lasted long past the summer! I feel so proud of our team and what we achieved this year with SRC and I too can’t wait for next year!

*A note from Gen: I titled my story “Welcome to Summer Reading Club”.  This was not only the title of a letter we sent home with the children who registered, it was also my welcome to SRC.



We are delighted to announce that Miranda Mallinson of the Vancouver Public Library is the winner of the 2015 BC SRC Community Story Award!

Our judges were deeply affected by Miranda’s story about handing out SRC medals. This is what they had to say: “This story is a wonderful example of not only how the passion and enthusiasm that library workers have is passed along to SRC participants, but also how the accomplishments of each child matter to us, and make an impact on our lives, too.”

Miranda will attend this year’s BCLA Conference as a guest of RBC (Royal Bank of Canada). She’ll also be joining us at the SRC Conference booth. Please come by and say hello, and congratulate her!

BCLA, in partnership with RBC, introduced the SRC Community Story Award at the 2013 BCLA Conference. Each year, the BC Summer Reading  Club will present this award to an individual whose story best demonstrates the impact of the SRC within their community.

We look forward to hearing your SRC stories!

The 2015 SRC Community Story Award Winner

About Miranda Mallinson

Miranda was born in Toronto and grew up on Mir_and_Lucky-270x3001Vancouver’s North Shore, near the ocean. Before she worked in libraries, she worked mostly in child care, where she honed her storytelling skills. At university, she studied  painting and printmaking. She lives in East Vancouver with her husband and their three cats.

As a child, Miranda’s favourite relationship with books was having them read-aloud to her by her mother. She loved this time together. She especially loved the illustrations and would pore over them, in a state she describes as “close to bliss”. She would prefer a world where all the books were illustrated! These days, Miranda favourite authors include Mo Willems, Jeremy Tankard, Nicholson Baker, and Naomi Shihab Nye.

It makes perfect sense that she has ended up in the Children’s Library at VPL, surrounded by gorgeously illustrated books, welcoming children, reading to them, and sharing with them her love of pictures and of art. She tells kids that the best thing about books is that anything can happen. For Miranda, the most important thing to have happen is when someone arrives at the library, they feel welcomed, safe and significant.

Miranda’s Story: Summer Reading Club Medals

I’m a Library Technician in the Children’s Library at the Vancouver Public Library. I get to do a lot of amazing and profound things in my job, but honestly, one of the most inspiring and happy things I do all year is give out Summer Reading Club medals.

As a kid, “completion” was always an issue for me, so when a kid comes in with a Reading Record full of books that they’ve read, I go all out making a fuss over it.  In that moment, nothing else exists. I look the kid in the eye, and express in the most heartfelt way I can, how proud and impressed I am at what they have done. What I want them to feel, in that moment, is that we, as grownups, as role models, think that what they have accomplished is fantastic. Yes, reading should be, and is, its own pleasure; but athletic kids, math kids, they get tangible rewards all the time for what they are good at. I want the kids who are into reading, and the kids who struggle with it, too, to know that we think they are awesome, just for doing what they do.

Today I had two kids come in, brothers, to collect their medals. I pored over their reading records, asked them about what they had read and told them how proud I was. I wrote up their certificates, and then I came around the desk to give them their medals. When I do this, I always envision the Olympics Medal Ceremony in my head… that’s what it is for me “…on behalf of the Vancouver Public Library, it is my great honour to bestow upon you this medal for the completion of the Summer Reading Club of 2014. Congratulations.”

I shook their hands and applauded. And just at that moment, a gang from the Book and Writing Camp were going by.  I called out to them, “Hey guys, these kids just got their medals for Summer Reading Club!”

“Wow,” said the campers, “that’s great!” and they applauded, too.

Maybe the young brothers will remember it, maybe they won’t, but they are readers, they love books, they told me so, and today a whole bunch of big kids and one goofy adult told them that that was very cool.


And the SRC Community Story Award winner is….

We are delighted to announce that Beverley Rintoul of Rossland Public Library is the winner of the first ever BC SRC Community Story Award!

BCLA, in partnership with RBC, introduced the SRC Community Story Award at the 2013 BCLA Conference. Each year, the BC Summer Reading Club will present this award to an individual whose story best demonstrates the impact of the SRC within their community.

We received some wonderful submissions this year, but we think you’ll agree that Beverley’s story perfectly captures the not only the deep impact of the SRC program, but also the commitment and care that library workers bring to their communities.

Beverley will attend this year’s BCLA Conference as a guest of RBC. She’ll also be joining us at the SRC booth. Please come by and say hello, and congratulate her! Beverley will be formally presented with the SRC Community Story Award at the BCLA AGM on May 2, 2014.

About Beverley Rintoul

Beverley-RintoulBeverley Rintoul started as a volunteer at RPL 18 years ago. Two years later she was hired as part-time staff, and then last fall, became Director. A Girl Guide and early childhood educator, this lifelong Kootenay-resident has been married to the same guy for 34 years. They have three adult children, and one grandchild on the way.

They are a reading family and Beverley’s favourite authors include Bill Bryson, Michael Wood, Terry Pratchett, Jane Austen, and Shakespeare. She spends much of her free time keeping her almost 90 year-old mum in books.

Here’s Beverley’s description of the SRC in Rossland: “It’s a big deal here — 120 kids in a community of 3500. I love working with the students we hire and playing with the kids who attend. Given the ECE and Girl Guide background, I find planning programs easy and usually have more ideas than we can use in a summer. It’s such a joy to find a book or theme or activity that makes a child light up.”

The 2014 SRC Community Story Award Winner

All Summer by Beverley Rintoul

“All summer we had a delightful 8 year-old boy attend the Summer Reading Club. He came every time, took part in every thing, helped with clean-up and almost cried when told our student was going back to university.

However, he struggled to read. We spent time finding books that were interesting but not difficult to read. And still he struggled.

Last week I ran into his mum and we talked about what fun he’d had. She said she was frustrated by the lack of improvement in his reading until the day before, when suddenly, out of a clear blue sky, he read recipe instructions to his dad without stumbling or stopping to sound out words.

She believes it was because we spent the time, making him believe that there were books out there for him.”

Community Story Award

SRC Community Story Award Nomination Form

Each summer amazing things happen all across the province of BC.

Libraries start to implement the BC Summer Reading Club and creative ideas flow from Fort St. John to Sardis. There are parades, posters, picnics, parties, and programs, all specially designed to suit the needs of each community. The end result is a landscape of welcoming and encouraging environments where children have the opportunity to read for pleasure and to explore other worlds.

We do a great job of tracking statistics. Those numbers don’t tell us nearly enough about how SRC impacts you or your community. Stories are what move us, transform us. They speak to the heart of why we do what we do — and we’d like to hear your stories.

In 2013, BCLA, introduced the SRC Community Story Award in order to recognize and honour those stories. Each year, the BC Summer Reading Club will present this award to an individual whose story best demonstrates the impact of the SRC within their community.

Here are some ideas to get you started, but by all means feel free just to tell us your story:

  • Describe a time when events at a SRC program left you feeling proud of yourself and your work.
  • While chatting about his/her summer reading, have you ever met a child so in love with books, you were reminded of why you do this work? Tell us about that.
  • Were you impressed with the way a parent or caregiver helped a child choose a book? Describe what you noticed and how it made you feel.
  • When you tell your friends and family about your work and the SRC, what story do you tell?
  • Has a parent or caregiver ever told you how participating in SRC has changed the way their child feels about books and reading? Describe what they said and how that made you feel?

To submit a story for nomination for the SRC Community Story Award, please contact us with the subject line: SRC Community Story Award.

The winner of the BC SRC Community Story Award will be announced in early spring of next year and the award will be presented at the BCLA Conference Awards ceremony. The winner will attend the conference as our guest!

Stories will be accepted throughout the year and may be submitted both by an individual or about an individual. All submitted stories will be shared with our stakeholders and may be published to help demonstrate the powerful impact of the BC SRC. You may submit as many stories as you wish. Can’t wait to hear yours!