Meet Our Volunteers

Sean Brown

Tech programs

By day, Sean Brown is a software developer specializing in video game development. By night, he lends his expertise to the Calgary Public Library, volunteering for coding programs for kids and teens.

It all started three years ago, when Sean graduated from university with a degree in Computer Science. He was looking to volunteer and knew the Library offered free coding programs. “It seemed like a really good fit,” he says. Read more >

Henry Bastidas

Math Quest

An engineer in Venezuela, Henry Bastidas arrived in Calgary speaking only Spanish. He soon started an ESL program at the University of Calgary, where a friend recommended he also attend drop-in ESL classes at the Calgary Public Library. Eager to improve his English, he decided to check out the free newcomer programs.

In early 2015, less than a year after arriving in Canada, Henry applied to volunteer at Calgary Public Library. “The Library helped me a lot,” Henry says. “After I finished my courses, I decided to try to give back to this community that now I call home.” Read more >

Marje Wing

Architecture Tours of the new Central Library

Marje Wing was working as manager of Memorial Park and Giuffre Family Library (then known as Alexander Calhoun Library) back in 2014, when architects first shared the plans for Calgary’s new Central Library building. Standing at the back of the room, where Calgarians had gathered for the unveiling, Marje remembers feeling blown away by the plans.

Fast forward four years and Marje — who is now retired — will start leading patrons through the stunning new Library this November, as a volunteer guide for architecture tours. “I’m very excited,” she says. Read more >

Lindsay Hracs

Learning Advantage Program

Growing up near Fish Creek Library, Lindsay Hracs would visit the pyramidal building often. “It’s just somewhere I always gravitated to,” she says.

Through university — a bachelor’s and master’s degree in linguistics — Lindsay would travel out of her way to study at the Library. Today, Lindsay is a PhD candidate in linguistics, and Fish Creek Library continues to be an important part of her life. Read more >

Giselle Wong

Homebound Readers

A few times a month, Giselle Wong brings the Library directly to others. She’s a long time volunteer with Homebound Readers, a program for people of all ages with mobility or health concerns.

The Library program is more than just a book delivery service. “It’s about companionship,” Wong says. The Calgarians she helps are delighted to have fresh books to read and a friendly face to talk to. Read more >

Jackie Portelance

Early Literacy Volunteer Corps

Walk into Central Library on a Wednesday morning and you’re likely to be greeted with a warm smile from Jackie Portelance. 

In her role with the Library’s Early Literacy Volunteer Corps (ELVC), Portelance’s responsibilities include shepherding youngsters to storytime with a firefighter at Engine 23 (the Library’s fire truck exhibit), encouraging safe play, and sharing early learning principles with families. Read more >

Jesse Campbell

School Support Program

For Jesse Campbell, growing up down the road from the public library in the southern Alberta community of Crowsnest Pass was a big deal.

“I was in there all the time,” says Campbell, now 28 years old. A former geologist, Campbell recently returned to university for medical school. “Reading triggered curiosity in me as a kid..." Read more >

Jacqueline Jenkins

Book Discussion Groups

You’re a dyed-in-the-wool book lover. Imagine sitting down and talking books with the head of a university English department. Sounds like some kind of book lover’s dream, right?

Now imagine if that English professor was just as eager to sit down with you and discuss, say, the latest book by Elizabeth Strout, creator of the literary characters Olive Kitteridge and Lucy Barton.

Well, she is. Read more >

Patricia Johnson

ESL Conversation Club

You know by Patricia Johnson’s ready smile and friendly tilt of the head that she is the kind of volunteer to put everyone at ease, a handy skill when working with Library patrons as they practise their English language skills.

“Being a Library volunteer suits me,” says Patricia who works at the University of Calgary library. “I have a great day job, but volunteering is often the highlight of my week." Read more >

Matthew Tse

Computer Buddies

Back in grade 3, Matthew Tse signed up for the Computer Buddies program through Calgary Public Library and the experience altered the course of his young life.

“I remember when I was one of those small buddies, not knowing anything about computers,” says Matthew. “My big buddy taught me everything I wanted to know and more.” Read more >

Marian Erb

Library Ambassador

When Marian Erb moved to Calgary from Ireland 36 years ago, one of the first things she did was track down her community library.

“As a newcomer, everything—from the architecture to the awesome expanse of Alberta skies—was new and overwhelming. The Library became a sanctuary for me, a home away from home,” says Marian. Read more >

Susan Anderson

Special Events Volunteer

“Help your sister’s boat across the water, and yours too will reach the other side.” ~ Eric Hoffer

Susan Anderson, Special Events Volunteer with Calgary Public Library, strongly identifies with this quote by the American philosopher and the idea that helping others enriches one’s own life. So when she retired from the Library, she immediately set about volunteering…right back at the Library. Read more >