Including All In Our Community Hub

Fernie is diverse by nature and inclusive by choice. As a community we not only welcome but encourage others to spend quality time in our mountainous backyard. We embrace those who have come to visit, and those who decided to stay. I write from a personal place as much as I write for the community hub in which I work, the Fernie Heritage Library (FHL). Within the open minds, supportive arms, and challenging curiosity of Fernie, we grow.

This creative, naturally breathtaking space of welcoming, progressive, and just people is the bedrock of our community. As a public institution, FHL is responsible for supporting this community in a way that respects diversity and fosters inclusion. One of the ways we do this is by amplifying all voices; diverse through cultures, ethnicities, social classes, ages, gender identities, sexual orientations, physical and mental health, beliefs, education, and more resources.

Advancing inclusive environments means challenging censorship and giving all the opportunity to be heard. While these inclusive materials, programs, and services may not be universally popular, it is our responsibility to provide access to all points of view. If what you’re looking for isn’t in our home collection, we can arrange an Inter-Library Loan, or search our array of databases for more.

We strive to deliver services which affirm the dignity of those we serve. To ensure our patrons can enjoy the services we offer, we do not attempt to impose financial restrictions. In both our online and physical presence, we try to be inclusive of all in the language, tone, and imagery we use, the services we provide, the content in our collection, and in our physical space. We may not always get it right, but we are open ears to community feedback.

To further accessibility and inclusion during the pandemic we shifted from in-person events to an online platform. This is something we will continue to support and explore, intertwining both in the future. Social distancing also led to Curbside Pick-Up, a popular service we continue to provide where patrons can call, email or place holds online for us to prepare materials for pick-up during business hours. This service is also available by email for printing.

Collaborating with community partners is another way we further our inclusive environment. Working with the Fernie Pride Society, the Columbia Basin Alliance of Literary, the Fernie Women’s Resource Centre, the Fernie Arts Station, the Ktunaxa Nation, and many more organizations. We support inclusive opportunities for our patrons as we offer creative programs and services that foster respect, inclusivity, and accessibility.

From students and lifelong learners, to casual readers and those who simply need a comfortable space to just be, all are welcome and supported at FHL. Even when our doors are closed, our virtual Library is accessible via Libby, and we offer 24/7 wifi in the garden, a Stick Library for pets, and sheltered seating. This is our community hub, and you are all welcome.