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New chapter for local library clerk

Like many of Jasper’s residents, Holly Llewellyn showed up in town with only a backpack and the intent to stay for a few days. 

After two years working as a clerk at the Jasper Municipal Library, Holly Llewellyn is heading back to school to become a certified library technician. K. Byrne photo

After two years working as a clerk at the Jasper Municipal Library, Holly Llewellyn is heading back to school to become a certified library technician. K. Byrne photo

That was more than two years ago.

“I was in Jasper on vacation, just travelling around by myself, but once I got here I fell in love,” Llewellyn said.

Hoping to make Jasper home, Llewellyn started scrolling through a slew of job postings until she came across a technician position at the Jasper Municipal Library.

“I thought it was perfect because it combined my love of books and technology,” she said. “I had went to college for a multimedia design and production technology program, but I didn’t have any library experience. I never thought I’d get hired.”

A few day’s later, Llewellyn received word from Angie Thom, the director of library services. The job was hers.

“I felt really lucky because they actually took a chance on me,” Llewellyn said. “That probably wouldn’t happen anywhere else.”

In the months that followed, working at the library became more than just a means to stay in Jasper. It became Llewellyn’s passion.

“Most of my life I’ve just been winging it, not really knowing what I’m doing—just going by the seat of my pants, but everything about the library just felt right,” she said.

Through the library Llewellyn started taking various training courses, increasing her skills and responsibilities at work, which included a whole lot of cataloguing and organizing a weekly game night.

“Angie kept letting me do more and more. It was awesome that they saw my potential,” Llewellyn said.

For the first time in what seemed like forever, things were going well for the 25-year-old as she settled into adulthood. However, that comfort bubble popped a few weeks ago when Llewellyn was reminded that the lease on her apartment was almost up and her housing options were limited.

Rather than become overwhelmed, Llewellyn saw her predicament as a new opportunity. She applied to the Library and Information Technician program at Algonquin College in Ottawa. The program would allow her to expand on both technical and public services within the library world, teaching Llewellyn everything from cataloging and processing new material to teaching clients how to use electronic and print resources.  

“My lease was up and I was like ‘you know what, this is what I want to do’ so I thought maybe I should be taking the next step in my life by actually going to school for this,” she said. “I’ve been able to help get us into this beautiful new building (the Jasper Library and Cultural Centre) and we’re all finally starting to get comfortable there, but that’s the thing—I’ve become so comfortable that I think it’s time that I try something new.”  

Within a week she got the news. Llewellyn’s application was accepted.

“When I got into school my mom told me that she was really proud of me because I finally figured out what I wanted to do,” Llewellyn said. “I was a lost soul for a bit, but after working here for a few years I just know that this is what I want to with my life.

“I feel so lucky that I got to work with such great people that inspired and helped me.”

Llewellyn leaves for school in June, where she’ll remain for the next two years. Whether she’ll come back to Jasper with her new skills is still undecided.

“I will miss this community for sure, but I really think this a step in the right direction as far as my long-term goals,” she said. “Life is always fluid so it’s hard to say what will happen in two years.”

Kayla Byrne

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