New librarian dedicated to helping you find literacy resources

“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers, a librarian can bring you back the right one.” -Neil Gaiman, Author

Are you a parent who wants to inspire a love of reading? Or someone helping a senior learn digital technologies? Or a literacy practitioner new to remote teaching who needs to get up to speed in a hurry?

The Decoda Literacy Library has over 5000 free resources available for anyone in BC to borrow by mail. But even with a user-friendly search system, online catalogue and materials listed by topic, finding the right resource can be a daunting and time-consuming task.

It doesn’t have to be. Decoda Literacy Solution’s new librarian, Lea Edgar, is professionally trained in information science and is motivated to save you valuable time so you can direct your energy to learning or teaching or reading.

“I can vet resources so that literacy practitioners can be sure they are getting accurate, reliable and up-to-date information,” says Lea. “But I’m really happy to help answer any question or find any resource people may need!”

Knowledge equity

She believes a librarian brings equity to access to knowledge. You don’t need to be a literacy practitioner or know how to access the library online. A phone call or an email gives everyone the same access to the library materials.

“Like many librarians, I feel a strong urge to help people and give back to the community,” says Lea. “I see the challenges that people with limited literacy skills have on a daily basis. I learned about the great work that Decoda does, and I wanted to be a part of it. I want to help all people achieve their dreams.”

She’s excited that Decoda’s materials will get into the public’s hands and homes.

“Many special libraries do not circulate materials to the public, but Decoda does,” says Lea. “That’s unique for a special library.”

‘Special’ library

A ‘special’ library, Lea explains, is one that provides resources on a particular subject or serves a specific clientele. Special libraries can include law libraries, medical libraries or museum libraries. Decoda’s library focuses on literacy, with resources to support early literacy, family literacy, adult literacy, digital literacy, health literacy and more!

Before joining Decoda this year, Lea was the Librarian and Archivist for seven years at another special library, the W.B. & M.H. Chung Library at the Vancouver Maritime Museum.

“I see becoming a subject specialist in literacy as a thrill and an interesting challenge. I may not know the answer, but I know how to find it!”

While many libraries also have several librarians that specialize in areas of cataloguing, collection development, or reference; special libraries often have just one librarian who does it all.

“At Decoda,” Lea explains, “I work on acquisitions and collection development, circulation, cataloguing, reference services, outreach and instruction, and creating online subject guides and resources. It never gets boring!”

UBC iSchool connections

Lea is well equipped to handle all these responsibilities with two master’s degrees in Library and Information Studies and in Archival Studies from UBC’s iSchool (School of Information).

Her connections at UBC have sparked a new project with Decoda. Three of UBC’s library school students are producing a “how-to” video introducing Decoda’s new website, library resources and the Read All About Lit blog.

“It’s another great resource to help people access Decoda’s fantastic resources.”

Immigration and travel add perspective

Her travels have given her a unique perspective and a connection to newcomers to Canada.

“I was born in Tel Aviv, but I like to say I was born on the road,” she says. “My father was a contract aerospace engineer, and that profession took our family around the world in my early years. After living in South Africa for a time, we settled in Chilliwack, BC.”

“Although we are an English-speaking family, I had a small taste of the immigrant experience in Canada and what it is like to become ‘Canadian’ and adopt that as part of my identity. I believe my experiences add to my understanding and empathy for people of all places and all walks of life.”

And while she misses travelling these days, the pandemic has inspired her to tap into her artistic side and she has been creating digital art. She is also in the process of adopting a cat, which she says will complete her librarian look!

Contact Lea with your requests or questions at library@decoda.ca or 604-681-4199 x406.

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