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'Beyond thrilled': Barrie librarian earns provincial recognition

Serena McGovern named Children and Youth Librarian of the Year
Barrie Public Library staff are shown celebrating children's services librarian Serena McGovern, who has been named Children and Youth Librarian of the Year by the Ontario Public Library Association.

The Barrie Public Library (BPL) is thrilled to announce that Serena McGovern, children’s services librarian, was recently named the Children and Youth Librarian of the Year by the Ontario Public Library Association.

The award honours a children’s librarian who has made a positive impact on children’s or youth services in the community, while also improving the work experience of their colleagues.

McGovern has been with BPL since 2012. Throughout her 11 years with the Barrie Public Library, she has continually demonstrated her commitment and passion for children and youth services. Serena’s many accomplishments include leading the library’s outreach team, adapting programs to be more inclusive and accessible, as well as strongly and effectively advocating for children in our community.

“We are beyond thrilled that Serena has received this recognition,” says Sandra Sydor, Barrie Public Library manager of community engagement. “Serena is a practitioner of librarianship, and values intellectual freedom, education and providing the highest level of service to our library users.”

Serena plans programs across the library system, striving to find ways to engage families, stay on top of community needs, and promote early literacy. She is dedicated to accessibility within public library spaces and ensures that each story time offered at BPL begins with an acknowledgement of different abilities, and a conversation inviting modifications based on how participants feel that day.

Serena has created many partnerships including with the City of Barrie, YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka, EarlyON, Barrie Police Service, and Barrie Native Friendship Centre to introduce programs such as Reading Champions, the Park Puzzle Project, and the Creating Connections Series.

“Serena is continually working to enhance what we offer at the library,” says Barrie Public Library CEO Lauren Jessop. “She’s also the biggest champion of her colleagues, and a supportive coach to our program planning team. Receiving this award is a testament to her accomplishments. We’re very proud of her.”