This Month’s Co-op Community Champion, Marilyn Lovejoy, the Fort St. John Public Library manager.

Co-op highlights people in Fort St. John who should be recognized for their work in the community. Anyone looking to nominate a community-minded person in need of recognition, head to Energeticcity’s website.

Lovejoy was nominated for her constant acts of kindness in the community and the environment she brings to the library.

Lovejoy was born and raised in Ontario before moving to Victoria in 1998. They decided to move to Fort St. John in 2012 as her husband wanted a career change.

Initially, Lovejoy says the move to the Energeticcity from Victoria was a “culture shock,” but as the couple started meeting people, she says it soon became home.

“We never looked back. We are definitely settled in Fort St. John,” said Lovejoy.

The person who nominated Lovejoy as this month’s Co-op Champion said she has made sure the library has been running smoothly during the COVID-19 pandemic and makes an effort to know every user’s name.

“She is a great champion of the library system and the services for everyone that the library serves,” said the nomination.

Lovejoy says her love for libraries runs deep and was very special to her growing up as her family didn’t have much. She says the library was a place where she wasn’t judged.

“Because I had no money,  I was given the opportunity to do different programs at the library to borrow CDs that I couldn’t afford. So as a teenager, I got to listen to my new music from borrowed CDs from the library.”

Lovejoy started as a circulation clerk in 2019 on a casual basis before moving to part-time, before applying and receiving the manager position, which she has held for 18 months.

“I just really love it because a library is a special place, and I know what it means to a community because it’s a place for everybody.”

“You’re not judged by how much you have, how little you have, and there’s something for everybody. I really love that aspect.”

During the pandemic, Lovejoy says she has made an effort to bring the staff together and lend them an ear when needed.

“Some people have family here that they can still see, and other people haven’t seen family in so long. I think mental health is an issue, stress for our staff, so I’ve just tried to be there and listen.”

Lovejoy has introduced some activities to try and boost morale, such as a “team wall,” a bulletin board where staff members were encouraged to post pictures of their pets or play games.

“We’ve had like a staff Scrabble game up on the on the wall for Christmas.”

Lovejoy says she is just scratching the surface but wants staff to know they’re appreciated and valued for what they do at the library.

Lovejoy has also taken this thought process to the community, and will sometimes leave random envelopes in local businesses with cash or a gift card with a note of kindness.

Sometimes she will just give a gift card to someone behind her in line at the grocery store.

She says this goes back to her upbringing and not having much that has made her want to give back.

“Money’s not too much of an issue, but I know what it felt like to have it be an issue. It’s sad that money is an issue, so not having it as hard. So if I’m able to share in whatever way, I do that. Also, when you surprise someone by doing something good, it shocks them and makes them smile.”

Lovejoy is also an animal lover and has recently joined the On Our Way Home Animal Rescue Society’s fundraising team.

Over the last 10 years, her family has fostered around 20 animals and constantly sent donations to the society before joining them.

“I like to help people, but I like to help animals. They have nobody, no one to speak for them.”

Another good deed Lovejoy wanted to be mentioned is that she also keeps her sidewalk shovelled. So, be like Lovejoy.

Anyone looking to nominate a community-minded person in need of recognition, head to Energeticcity’s website.