Smitty Miller, Community Develop Librarian for Fraser Valley Regional Library (Abbotsford, British Columbia) “gets it.”  She REALLY “gets it.”  She “gets” that libraries need to be “in” the community, not just think the community is going to come “in” to the library. She “gets” that community development is about interaction and conversation.  She “gets” that the library needs to be a fun, happening place, connecting with people where people are — at food banks, shelters, senior homes, and other community hubs.”  And she’s done it. WOW has she done it!

I had the absolute privilege of meeting Smitty 2 years ago when she’d been asked to lead the Library’s project to bring in a book mobile service.  After doing her research into bookmobiles (if you want to know anything about bookmobiles, just ask her — the conversation is worth it – she’s infectious!), she put forth to the Library that developing deeper inroads (ok, the pun IS intended) with the community demanded a different type of librarymobile. Different they got.

This is LiLi – Library Live and On Tour!  A “mobile initiative’ LiLi is a 2012 Nissan Cube, designed to deliver the library to people by “shattering stereotypes and misconceptions about library services. LiLi is an adult literacy initiative “targeting folks aged 19+”, first by getting their attention, then prompting conversations, making friends and then offering services.

An “Abbotsford custom car fabrication business” donated close to $20,000 worth of the audio visual equipment, and the rest was funded by the provincial grant.  And, there’s more — LiLi’s swag (giveaways) include books, all-access library passes (lanyards), mini tire gauge key chains, earbuds and branded sunglasses.

LiLi makes her “first public appearance at a school fundraiser silent auction and barbeque for the Agassiz Centre for Education (ACE)” as reported in the Chilliwack News 2 days ago. 

Congrats to Smitty, to Fraser Valley Regional Library, and to all those who have created LiLi.  I hope she’s coming to a neighbourhood near you soon!