Familiar face leaving library

After nearly nine years working at the Drayton Valley library, children’s program coordinator Verna Wicks will be leaving the position.

Wicks started working in the Rotary Children’s Library in 2015, where she first started at the desk. She says at that time she helped out with the programmer whenever she could.

In 2018, she moved over to the main library where she worked at the front desk. When the youth and adult program coordinator retired, Wicks was encouraged to apply for the role.

“When I said I was concerned about working with adults, [my dad] said, ‘Just remember, you are one,’” says Wicks. She says the words reminded her that she had lots in common with other adults.

While Wicks’ experience working as a teacher and at the library was primarily with younger children, she decided to apply for the position.

Then, once the Rotary Children’s Library closed in 2020, she once again added children’s programming to her job description.

“I’ve just always liked kids,” says Wicks. “They’re fun; they’re enthusiastic about finding out new things and learning new things.”

Over the years, Wicks has run hundreds of different programs for community members. On some weeks, she would run nine programs in a week. Then there were also seasonal programs, such as Battle of the Books, that she organized.

Wicks says she’s loved her time with the library, but feels at this point in her career it’s time for a change in direction.

“I’ve loved my time there so much. I got to do so many cool things and it’s very sad for me,” says Wicks.

She’s called Drayton Valley her home for 20 years and she hopes that she will be able to continue on in the community. However, Wicks has family in Edmonton and says she wouldn’t mind being closer to them, either.

Right now, she has a summer position working on building programming for the new Canadian Adult Education Curriculum (CAEC), which will be replacing the General Education Development (GED) in Canada. After that, she plans to find work that will allow her to explore new opportunities.

Wicks says that she’s not necessarily saying goodbye to Drayton, but she is sad about the connections she will miss out on.

“The library is such a hub, where you see people a lot,” she says. “I won’t be at that hub. I won’t see the people dropping in and out.”

The different organizations and people she’s had a chance to work with have all had a positive impact on her life, and she says she will miss that quite a bit.

“It’s been awesome, and I want people to know that.”

Amanda Jeffery, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Drayton Valley and District Free Press