New program librarian at NWT Centennial Library


Paul Bickford/NNSL photo Terri Murrell is the new program librarian at NWT Centennial Library.

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
Terri Murrell is the new program librarian at NWT Centennial Library.

A new person now has the responsibility of creating and implementing programming that will keep attracting people to the public library in Hay River.

Terri Murrell took on her new duties at NWT Centennial Library about two weeks ago.

Her official title is program librarian.

“I co-ordinate programs and provide the opportunity for the community to get together and do things that are interesting or stimulating for them,” said Murrell. Those programs include moms and tots story times, and afterschool activities for younger students.

Murrell hopes to get more members of the community into the library.

“I think that absolutely is one of my goals, in whatever form it takes,” she said. “Whether it’s looking for books, or whether it’s listening to someone speak about fossils.”

Murrell has a sound foundation of existing activities at the library on which to build.

“Right now, I just want to keep what we have going, and then I’ll start bringing in my own,” she said.

The 36-year-old said she hasn’t been on the job long enough to think about making changes at the library.

However, she did say she is interested in possibly offering adult literacy classes.

“Because I am a teacher, I would like to offer some fundamental literacy classes, very basic,” she said. “I think that’s one of my own teacher qualities that wants to come out.”

Christine Gyapay, the head librarian at NWT Centennial Library, said every program librarian brings a different background, different interests, and a different perspective to the position.

“There are certain programs we continue with, but each program librarian brings their own interests and backgrounds into it, as well,” Gyapay said. “So it changes a bit, which is nice.”

She said the library will continue with programming that is known to work, including such popular recurring events as Armchair Traveller, Philosopher’s Cafe and a monthly art exhibit.

Marny Twigge, the former program librarian, will still be at the library on a part-time and casual basis.

Murrell, who is originally from Nova Scotia, previously worked in a library as a student while attending Texas A&M University.

Afterwards, she was a teacher in Arlington, near Dallas.

In all, she spent the last 18 years in Texas before returning to Canada with her children, and coming to Hay River where her sister lives.

“We’ve been trying to come up to Canada for a while and decided this was the time,” she said, noting her husband, who is completing a masters in fine arts degree in Texas, will be moving to Hay River in the spring to join his family.

Murrell didn’t come to Hay River with any thought of working in a library.

“I came up completely open to just see what opportunities come,” she said. “I didn’t have this job in mind. I didn’t have any particular job in mind. I just came up with the hope of getting something.”

Now that she is a program librarian, she is enjoying interacting with the public.

“I’m not stuck behind a desk all day by myself in a cubicle,” she said. “I like the engaging. I like knowing the people in the community.”

Part of that engagement is looking for input from members of the public on what programming they would like to see in the library, Murrell said. “I’d like to know, because what’s the point of me doing programs if it’s not the right ones.”

— Paul Bickford