However the Sicamous library has changed over the years, one constant has been Eileen Veideman’s love for reading books to children.
This likely won’t change next February when Veideman retires from her job as head librarian.
“It’s my talent – I don’t know what you want to call it,” said Veideman of reading with kids. “I’ve always loved kids and children. I even do storytime with my own grandson. He loves books. I’m really lucky that he loves books.”
Veideman said storytime readings and summer programs geared towards youth rank high among the highlights of her 33-year career at the Sicamous branch.
“The little people are my favourite,” said Veideman. “I wanted to be a teacher and it just didn’t work out that way, so I’ve got the best of both worlds.”
Veideman said her decision to retire has to do with wanting to spend more time with family (her grandchildren in particular), and a desire to take on new adventures. Also, she just knows it is time.
“Someone told me that I would know when it was time to retire, and that is the honest truth,” said Veideman. “When I decided to do it, I notified my supervisor and I felt great. But I’ve had a long run; 33 years is a long time.”
Veideman was raised in Vernon and, after graduating from college, began her professional career there – though not behind a reference desk.
“I ended up with a job with the Vernon Irrigation District – I was there until I got married, and then I had to move to Sicamous,” said Veideman. “And then, all of a sudden, I looked in the paper one day and they were advertising for a librarian… So I applied and I got the job and the rest is history.”
When Veideman started with the Sicamous library, the branch was located at 444 Main Street, where Inkz Design Solutions is currently located. She guesses the library had around 2,000 books at the time. From there, the library moved to the Parkland Mall, and the number of books available for circulation increased to around 6,000. In 2011, the library returned to Main Street, moving into its current location in the district civic centre. Veideman said the number of books stayed about the same, but the floor space grew significantly.
“I bet this is the most beautiful library in the whole library system,” said Veideman, referring to libraries within the Okanagan Regional Library system. “I haven’t visited them all yet, but it’s beautiful in here, I love it.”
Veideman has become accustomed to change at the library, and not just in terms of its location. Computers, especially, have played a huge role in transforming not just how librarians do their work, but also the way people read. But, despite the growing popularity of E-books, Veideman is among those who would rather turn, than tap over a page.
“I prefer to have a book in my hands – but then I’m from the old school. And I think it’s important, especially for the young children I read to, that they are in book form…, said Veideman. “I think there will always be something new at the library as the years go on.
“I’m still going to be coming once a week to visit the library and take out books. I’ll just be on the other side of the counter, that’s all.”