Directors try to avoid library board

The Strathcona Regional District appointee to the regional library board has warned her colleagues that she likely won’t provide “good service.”

Cortes Director Noba Anderson was selected at last Thursday’s inaugural meeting of the regional district to sit on the Vancouver Island Regional Library Board because there were no other takers.

The other two options were Quadra Island Director Jim Abram, who declined because of his busy schedule with other boards, committees and commissions, and Area A Director Gerald Whalley who was ultimately chosen as Anderson’s alternate.

Area D Director Brenda Leigh has been the representative but was ineligible to be re-appointed as directors cannot serve more than eight years consecutively on the library board.

“I would love Director Leigh to be able to continue on with this,” Anderson said after she was nominated by Leigh to sit on the board. “I think it’s a matter of fit. It’s your passion and it’s a fit. It’s not my passion, I think I would be exceedingly frustrated with that board.

“I don’t think I would provide you good service,” Anderson told the regional district board at its inaugural meeting last Thursday. “If it is the only choice, I will do it, but I don’t think I will provide you good service. So I’m looking across the table to see if Jim (Abram) has any interest in libraries or Gerald (Whalley) who swears he’ll never attend.”

Leigh tried to sell the position.

“To me, the library board is one of the most important commissions or committees that anyone on this board could be on,” Leigh said. “It brings opportunity to communities, for community members to raise themselves up, to connect with the computers and the equipment that’s available at the libraries. You don’t get paid a red cent but it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done for either the Comox Strathcona Regional District or the Strathcona Regional District.”

Leigh said bringing new libraries, particularly to small, remote communities is one of the most rewarding things she has experienced in her role as a director.

But that wasn’t enough to entice Anderson.

“I have absolutely no qualms with what Director Leigh is saying. It’s an incredibly important board, I don’t disagree,” Anderson said. “I just had such a souring experience with the whole Cortes situation (when the library was closed in 2012) with the senior staff and library board that I don’t think I would bring a fair-minded approach. I’m still upset over it.”

But, seeing a stalemate and no other alternatives, Anderson said she would accept the appointment.

Campbell River Director Charlie Cornfield extended his congratulations.

“You’ll be just fine,” Cornfield told her. “You’ll provide balance.”

Leigh promised Anderson she would “love it.”

Abram acknowledged Leigh for her work on the library board.

“She’s been a tireless advocate for this regional district,” Abram said. “She deserves our gratitude for her unselfish dedication to this appointment.”

Campbell River Director Ron Kerr, who also sits on the library board, seconded that.

“She served this region very well and I’ve seen first-hand her dedication to it,” Kerr said. “I hope to see you (Leigh) back.”