VIRL Board elects Chair, Vice Chair, and Executive Committee

January 30, 2023


VIRL Board elects Chair, Vice Chair, and Executive Committee for 2023 and welcomes 21 new Trustees 

On January 28, 2023, the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) Board of Trustees held its Annual General Meeting and elected its officers and Executive Committee members for the year.  

Erin Hemmens, Councillor for the City of Nanaimo, was elected as Board Chair by acclamation. Hemmens, who brings years of experience in library governance, served as Vice Chair in 2022 and sat on the Executive Committee in 2019 and 2021. She has been the Acting Chair since the municipal election in October.  

“This is an exciting time of change and opportunity for our library system,” Hemmens says. “Looking ahead, we are focused on meaningful and lasting Reconciliation, activating our new Strategic Plan, re-energizing our capital project processes, improving literacy levels, leveraging the power of partnerships to address regional challenges, and continuing to provide library services that lift our communities up and ensure an equity of services across our vast service area. Thank you to my fellow Trustees for entrusting me in this important role.”   

The role of Vice Chair was claimed by District of Port Hardy Councillor, Fred Robertson. Robertson is a long serving Trustee, first joining the Board in 2017 and sitting on the Executive Committee from 2018 – 2022.  

The following nine members at large were elected to serve on the Executive Committee:  

  • Daniel Arbour (Comox Valley Regional District)  
  • Penny Cote (Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District)  
  • Vanessa Craig (Regional District of Nanaimo)
  • Sheri Disney (Village of Masset) 
  • Jayme Kennedy (Central Coast Regional District) 
  • Jonathan Lerner (District of Lantzville) 
  • Cheryl Northcott (Village of Tahsis)  
  • Richard Novek (Town of Sidney) 
  • Evan Putterill (North Coast Regional District)  

This was also a year of notable change in the Board’s composition, with 21 Trustees either starting their first term or returning after years away. The new Trustees are: 

  • Carolyne Austin (Town of Cowichan Lake) 
  • Mary Beil (City of Parksville) 
  • Michelle Carson (Town of Port McNeill) 
  • Will Cole-Hamilton (City of Courtenay) 
  • Karen Deck (Cowichan Valley Regional District) 
  • Ronald Deck (Village of Zeballos) 
  • Sheri Disney (Village of Masset) 
  • Kazamir Falconbridge (Village of Port Clements)
  • Henry Fossen (Village of Gold River) 
  • Kohen Gilkin (Village of Sayward) 
  • Jennifer Hoar (Town of Ucluelet) 
  • Ron Kerr (City of Campbell River) 
  • Jonathan Lerner (Village of Lantzville) 
  • Tek Manhas (Municipality of North Cowichan) 
  • Russell Murray (Village of Port Alice) 
  • Richard Novek (Town of Sidney) 
  • Todd Patola (City of Port Alberni) 
  • John Rice (Strathcona Regional District) 
  • Troy Therrien (Village of Cumberland) 
  • Al Wickheim (Capital Regional District) 
  • Jean Young (Town of Qualicum Beach) 

The Board of Trustees, comprised of elected representatives from 28 municipalities and 10 regional districts, administers a budget of over $33 million.  

For more information about the 2023 Board of Trustees, including elected officers and the 2023 meeting schedule, please visit  


Media Contact
David Carson, Director of Communications