During a public meeting held in late December 2017, Lynda Poyser, Head Librarian/CEO of Champlain Township Public Library, announced to the members of Council that she would be retiring in spring 2018.
Poyser has held the position for over 13 years.
“I started part-time in October 2001, just before the big renovations. The head librarian at the time retired two years later, so I applied for the job and got it.”
Even before taking on the role, it was clear that Poyser had found a new home for her skills.
“I took courses that gave me a really good idea of how a library operates,” said Poyser.
“I had already started, just because I wanted to know what I had to do; I had no idea I would become head librarian. I just enjoyed working here.”
Poyser’s background, which is as varied as the collection she curated for over a decade, has definitely been put to good use by the township. “I was an administrative assistant at Concordia University, I worked in a lab, I was a pig farmer and I owned a computer store. It’s a fantastic background to have when starting in this field.”
In a fast-paced, ever-changing world, Poyser’s eclectic professional background and open mind have played a key role in keeping the public library modern and relevant in the eyes of the community. “Although the library is a service, it still has to be run in a business-like fashion”, said Poyser, adding that, “You’re always changing to fit the needs of the public.”
A laundry list of accomplishments
Poyser and her team have certainly kept busy in the past years. When asked to reminisce about past successes, the Head Librarian/CEO had much to say: “I’m very proud of our programming. Last year, we had FemPower, where we had women who had travelled the world host talks. We also bring in a number of authors; we have something for kids, for teens, three book clubs, a summer reading program… It’s a very well organized library.”
Over the last six years, the library has also joined the A book on every bed initiative, aimed at promoting literacy by sharing the joy of reading to the less fortunate.
“We ask the public to donate new books and gift bags. Children whose families are receiving a Christmas basket now have a book on their bed on Christmas morning.”
During her stay, Poyser also managed to accomplish quite the tour-de-force regarding the library’s budget for books. “In 2001, we had a yearly budget of $5,000, split between English and French books.”
Nowadays, the library operates on a much more comfortable budget, allowing for weekly purchases. “It allows us to do programming, to buy lots of books, e-books, DVDs, CDs and magazines,” said Poyser, adding that, “they used to go buy books twice a year.”
When asked how she managed to accomplish such a feat, Poyser gives credit to the township. “The councillors at Champlain Township have been very supportive. They understand the importance of literacy.”
In addition to being a social and cultural hub for the community, the Champlain Township Public Library has amassed quite the collection over the years. Nowadays, the library holds approximately 17,000 items and its mission statement, “Offering equitable, bilingual access to the worlds of information and leisure”, still holds true.
The next step
“I want to try other things,” said Poyser, when asked if she had anything lined up for the start of retirement. “I’ll be travelling to the UK with my daughters, I’ll take time to enjoy summer, volunteer and have fun.”
When asked what she would miss most, Poyser didn’t hesitate: “The people, the staff, the work… There’s never been a dark day. If I was 10 years younger, I’d still be doing it!”
Thursday, April 26, 2018, Poyser’s last day as Head Librarian/CEO, will indeed mark the beginning of a new era for the library. “I’m very grateful for the patrons and their support, for the staff and their faith in me. Together, we can offer a wonderful place for people to come and read, listen to music, share opinions and learn.”