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Library Board


Avnish Mehta

Board Chair
Committee Membership: Audit & Finance, Governance, Strategy & Community
Community Library: Country Hills, Judith Umbach, Sage Hill
Term End: 2021

Avnish believes that libraries are the great equalizer because, as he says, “By their very nature, libraries remove barriers and allow for anyone and everyone to find information of any topic they want to explore.” Born and raised in Calgary, Avnish believes our city is becoming the city that so many dreamed it could be. “Calgary Public Library is creating the best library system in the world — the system that Calgarians deserve; a system that will challenge Calgarians to strive even further, as well as support them with the resources that they need to meet those goals. We want a system that is embedded in one's life, so that no matter where a person is at, they can always find value in the Library and the Library can bring value to them. That’s why I’m so committed to bringing the Library into the lives of more and more Calgarians.”

Shereen Samuels

Board Vice-Chair
Chair, Governance Committee
Committee Membership: Governance, Strategy & Community
Community Library: Fish Creek, Quarry Park, Southwood
Term End: 2021

For Shereen, bringing the Library into more people's lives is not just about physical buildings in new neighbourhoods. Shereen knows first-hand how invaluable the Library can be. “As my wife and I embarked on our parenting journey, the Library was our touchstone. Through the myriad books we checked out, we found community, support, wisdom, challenge, escape, inspiration. As a queer multi-racial adoptive family, we found proof of others like ourselves. I truly don't know how we could have survived those days without the Library.” She believes that the Library is vital to the future of Calgary. “In this 21st century environment, libraries are uniquely poised to be the new public sphere, a space where citizens gather together to generate ideas and discussion about who we are, and where we see ourselves going. The Calgary Public Library has the potential to be at the forefront of shaping that vision.”


Haritha Devulapally

Committee membership: Audit & Finance, Governance
Community Library: Nose Hill, Signal Hill
Term end: 2022

Haritha’s passion for the library dates back to when she was a child. One of the very first books she picked up at the Calgary Public Library was Matilda, written by Roald Dahl. In that instant she fell in love with reading, and through the Calgary Public Library she had the opportunity to read a vast number of books and publications that helped her succeed in her academics. Haritha believes that the Calgary Public Library is the cornerstone and heart of the Calgary community, promoting empowerment, inclusion, and economic, social, and cultural integration. Haritha looks forward to bringing her financial acumen as a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) to make a positive impact on the Calgary Public Library Board.

Councillor Druh Farrell

City Councillor, Ward 7
Term End: 2021

Druh Farrell is a lifelong Calgarian who brings a depth of experience to Calgary City Council and to the Calgary Public Library Board.  Instrumental to the Central Library project, Druh co-chaired the advisory committee and steered the project through council approval. Druh helps communities respond to change with resiliency and foresight by championing initiatives that promote a liveable, walkable city and sustainable, fiscally responsible growth. Druh combines long-term vision with the tenacity to get things done.


Sandy Gill

Committee Membership: Audit & Finance, Governance
Community libraries: Giuffre Family, Louise Riley, Memorial Park
Term End: 2022

Sandy is a self-described word nerd and believes that literacy is the key to freedom and development. The library system provides access to that freedom to everyone with a library card. Her own love for books and reading began with many trips to the library with her mother, feeling the wealth of checking out as many books as she could carry, week after week, as a child. Since then, Sandy has relied on the library system throughout her life to provide a sense of community, access to an increasing variety of resources at no cost, and even a kind of home for she and her young daughters when home was not accessible. Sandy is especially interested in children’s literature and believes that consistent, early exposure to a variety of books forms the foundation of a lifelong love for learning and the ability to continuously travel to new worlds, learn new skills, and consider new ideas. Sandy’s favorite book is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day, and she refers to it often. She has no plans to move to Australia.

Crystal Manyfingers

Committee Membership: Governance, Strategy & Community
Community Libraries: Forest Lawn, Saddletowne, Village Square
Term End: 2023

When Crystal was a little girl in grade school, she spent many hours in the library commons at the University of Lethbridge where her mother, Dr. Helen Manyfingers, was completing her degree in Early Childhood Education. Her favorite section in the University library was the children’s book section, where she would lose herself in tales of adventures from around the world. As a First Nation member of the great Blackfoot Confederacy, Crystal has lived in the City of Calgary (Mohkintsis) for over 25 years. Her love of reading eventually led her to complete a master’s degree in Education at the University of Calgary and to publish a children’s book of her own called “A’pistotooki kii Ihkitsik Kaawa’pomaahkaa – Creator and the Seven Animals, why are we here?” Crystal is a bridge-builder between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities and looks forward to using this passion to make a positive impact on the Calgary Public Library Board.

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Jocelyn Phu

Committee Membership: Governance, Strategy & Community
Community Library: Central
Term end: 2021

Born and raised in Calgary to refugee parents, Jocelyn credits the Calgary Public Library for helping her family settle into their new community and adapt to Canadian culture. Thanks to the librarians and clerks who encouraged her to share her love of reading with others early on, it was  at the Library that Jocelyn developed a lifelong passion for volunteerism, knack for storytelling, and deep interest in place making. She considers libraries as essential components in all communities because they are spaces where ideas are born and grow; most importantly, libraries are versatile institutions that serve all of society regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, or socioeconomic background. Jocelyn is a fierce advocate for the right for accessible digital literacy education in Alberta and strongly believes that knowledge should be democratic, free, and open.

Andrew Rodych

Chair, Audit & Finance
Committee Membership: Audit & Finance, Strategy & Community
Community Library: Seton and Shawnessy
Term End: 2023

Andrew’s love of reading stems from his parents’ passion for education, including early memories of his father reading bedtime stories and his mother’s work as a library technician and volunteer. Now with young kids of his own, he feels there is no better place to grow their own love of reading and learning than the library. In the fast-changing information landscape, the library has evolved too, continuing to offer critical paths for learning and opportunity. Whether as a student, a reader, or a father, Andrew has been able to experience the wide opportunities of the Library system and see how Calgary’s libraries are diverse institutions that help shape the communities where they are located.

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Sheeba Vijayan

Committee Membership: Audit & Finance; Strategy & Community
Community Library: Bowness, Crowfoot, Rocky Ridge
Term End: 2023

Sheeba recalls her first home library that her father set up with the help of a neighbour, who gave them boxes of books that his children had outgrown. “My brothers and I enjoyed reading the variety of books — fiction, encyclopedias, fun fact books, dictionaries, and poetry. We managed our little library and were always excited when relatives and friends either borrowed or added to the collection.” Public libraries naturally became Sheeba’s favourite hangout as she developed a deep passion and appreciation for the wide variety of reading material and resources. When she moved to Canada with her husband and two sons, the Calgary Public Library was their cultural hub to learn more about Canada and a community hub to meet people through volunteering and participating in programs. Sheeba is passionate about spreading the joy of using knowledge and stories to empower communities with low literacy. She envisions the Library as a safe space for all Calgarians to share their stories of resiliency.

Councillor Evan Woolley

City Councillor, Ward 8
Community Library: Central, Nicholls Family, Rocky Ridge
Term End: 2021

Evan’s relationship to the Library goes back to childhood. "Giuffre Family Library has a grassy, sloping roof. When I was a kid, we would take out books after my soccer games in the adjacent field, sit on the roof, eat oranges, and read. It was awesome." He believes that the Library is one of our city’s most important resources, one that is vital in building community across Calgary as foundations for strong, resilient, and livable neighbourhoods. Evan knows that Calgary Public Library has changed lives. He sees the Library playing a key role in helping this diverse and growing city fulfil its boundless potential. "The future I want to build," he says, "includes a popular, robust, world-class, and totally accessible library system of which all citizens will be proud."