Joan Holzer (left) and Ellie Bay hand out cake to some children on the occassion of Okanagan Regional Library’s 75th anniversary Saturday at the Revelstoke Library.

Okanagan Library celebrates 75 years of lending and learning

How much do librarians love their jobs? Well, there’s only been three chief librarians in the 75 year history of the Okanagan Regional Library.

“It’s a nice job and one time someone said the only way you can work in a library is if someone retires or dies,” joked Joan Holzer, head librarian at the Revelstoke library.

Holzer was speaking at the Revelstoke library on the occassion of the 75th anniversary of the Okanagan Regional Library.

The library was founded in 1935 and opened in 1936 with a budget of $11,025, Holzer said. That compares to about $12 million across branches in 25 communities today.

The Revelstoke library dates to 1946 and was located in City Hall, the Selkirk Medical Building, the old civic centre and elsewhere before it moved into it’s current location when the community centre was built, said historian Cathy English.

“It was a big deal in the community when they decided to build the library here,” said her husband Ken.

Holzer read out some region-wide library statistics from 2010:

• More than 3 million items lent out.

• 440,400 reference questions answered.

• 157,490 times a computer was used.

• 89,125 people attended library programs.

• 1.36 million web hits.

“Libraries are not a dying institution,” said Holzer. “We’re still here and we’re still a viable part of the community.