Where Community Happens

November 20, 2020

As a newly elected City Councillor, Erin Hemmens understood the role of Library Trustee was a coveted position. She poised herself to fight for the appointment! As a lifelong library lover, she was determined to be part of the process of sharing the library with her community.

Looking back on life as a young mom in a new community, Erin recalled that some of the fondest moments took place during Storytime at the Harbourfront Library. “Originally, I was concerned with keeping my kids quiet.” She quickly realized there was no need, as Children’s Librarian Lee opened up the Storytime with his infectious energy and enthusiastic ukulele strumming! During that vulnerable time navigating life with a new baby, “at the library I never felt alone.”

Erin grew up in a family that valued libraries and she has passed those values to her children. “Books opened up my world!” she exclaimed. In the photo accompanying this post, her son, Sully is reading the 1,000 Year Old Boy by Ross Welford in an after-school reading session. As for Erin’s reading habits, you would find a copy of Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth on her desk. On her nightstand sits The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante. She even confessed, “hilariously on my nightstand is also an overdue VIRL book: Cougar Annie’s Garden by Margaret Horsfield.”

Erin knew how much the library meant personally but the pandemic highlighted the value within the community. During the temporary suspension of library services, people were not afraid to approach her and share just how much they missed their ‘common living room’. Erin was overwhelmed with passionate stories about how much the library meant to people within the city. During a tour in Quebec City, she saw the contrast between the different styles of libraries — the modern contrasted with the ancient — and they shared no visible commonalities except they both welcome everyone.

No matter the size, shape, or location, a library is a place where community happens.