December 18 marked a ‘changing of the guard’ at the BWG Public Library and Cultural Centre in Bradford.
Terri Watman, CEO of the library since July 2015, will be retiring at the end of this year. On Wednesday, she welcomed her replacement and new CEO of the Library, Matthew Corbett, to Bradford.
Corbett, who holds a Masters of Library Science from Western University, comes to the community with experience in three very different library settings – the prison library in Penetanguishene, the public library in Tay Township, and the St. Mary’s Public Library, just south of Stratford, Ontario.
The St. Mary’s Library serves a community of about 7,000, and surrounding area; the BWG Public Library, a community of about 38,000. With its extensive collection of more than 100,000 books, digital resources, DVDs and CDs, Corbett acknowledged that this “is the largest facility” he’s taken on.
But he comes to Bradford well-prepared for the library’s plans to transform the existing computer lab into a Maker Space next year, similar to Innisfil’s ideaLAB – offering programming for all ages, and technologies that include 3-D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, and video/green screen resources.
“I love ‘maker spaces’,” Corbett said. “I’ve developed a maker space at St. Mary’s,” that not only includes a range of technology and digital materials, but programming for all ages.
Library Board Chair Jennifer Harrison said that Corbett’s experience with innovation and maker spaces was key to his appointment to the position of CEO.
“I really liked his innovative approach,” Harrison said. “He really takes a look at what the community needs, and provides that,” reaching out to “all demographics.”
In its vision statement, the St. Mary’s Public Library “encourages the spirit of exploration, the joy of reading and the pursuit of knowledge for people of all ages and backgrounds, beginning with the very young… A gathering place that connects people to each other, to their community, and to their hopes and dreams.”
Harrison suggested Corbett will bring “fresh eyes and an innovative approach” to Bradford.
On Wednesday, Corbett was introduced to library staff, and toured the Bradford facility. “Information download,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to a new adventure.”