CARP – “I know absolutely everyone who walks through that door,” West Carleton librarian Lori Fielding told West Carleton Online from the Carp branch of the Ottawa Public Library (OPL) last week (March 4). “I’ve seen children and families grow up for 17 years. This is my dream job.”
Fielding has been West Carleton’s librarian for 17 years. On March 20 the well-known, and well-read, West Carleton resident calls it a career.
“It’s been my honour to serve as West Carleton’s librarian since 2003,” the McLaren’s Landing resident said. “It’s been a special privilege to work with the various community groups and volunteers over the years.”
Fielding has been an integral part of the Diefenbooker Race steering committee who raised funds for the West Carleton library branches; the Huntley Township Historical Society who keep a local history section in the branch; the West Carleton Art Society whose art brightens the library’s walls; the West Carleton Garden Club who maintain the Reading Garden; the Royal Astronomical Society of Ottawa who hold Star Parties in the parking lot; the Carp Friends of the Ottawa Public Library who run the very successful Carp Book Corner; and the library volunteers who help within the branch.
She is a 20-year member of the library’s book club also know as Book Chat.
Fielding is not just the librarian for the Carp branch, she also looks after the Fitzroy Harbour and Constance Bay branches located in those community’s respective community centres. As a librarian, obviously Fielding is fond of history.
“Over the years, there have been so many changes,” she said. “All three West Carleton branches have been steadily updated and renovated into bright, open, modern and, I hope, welcoming spaces. We also transitioned into state-of-the-art technology whereby materials get checked-in and checked-out automatically by radio frequency.”
Fielding is also fond of what has happened outside the walls too. The outside of Carp branch has been beautified with the planting of the Diefenbooker Gardens, a statue installed dedicated to library volunteers, and a walking path built to access the Reading Garden. She’s going to miss the job.
“What I’ll miss the most is interacting with community members on a daily basis,” fielding said. “I’ll especially miss reading to the kids as Miss Lori during Story times. I’ve watched the local kids grow up and some are now in university.”
Fielding says for a small branch, the Carp branch is a busy and interesting spot that has created some forever memories.
“I’ve also enjoyed working in such a unique facility – not many people can say they work next to a Bunker,” she said. “Being neighbours to the Bunker has led to some humourous situations. A favourite memory is when the Garden Club held a Victorian Tea in the Reading Garden at the same time the Diefenbunker Museum held a military exhibition on its grounds. We had the odd mix of people in Victorian costumes and military uniforms wandering around the library at the same time.”
Fielding says being a rural branch was a challenge with a goal.
“My intention has always been to provide the community with the best library facilities and the best library services possible,” she said. “With the help of my dedicated staff and volunteers, I hope we’ve been able to do that.”
The Carp branch will be hosting a retirement celebration for ‘Miss Lori’ on Friday, March 20 from 1 to 6 p.m. Fielding says drop by anytime for some cake, conversation and a fond farewell.