Never in his life did Matt Barabash think that a Masters in Library and Information Science would take him across Canada, but it has all but taken him from shore to shore.
Barabash, 33, is the new manager at Stettler Public Library, replacing Mary Zazelenchuk, who moved on to other opportunities in late August.
Barabash’s first day was Tuesday, Sept. 6.
Hailing originally from Thunder Bay, Ont., Barabash had a chance to live a varied life growing up in the northwestern Ontario town, as well as in Regina, Sask. and Toronto, Ont.
After graduating with a Masters from the University of Western Ontario, Barabash began his library career working for the Halifax Public Library in Halifax, NS.
“It was a bit isolating,” Barabash said of the experience of living on the east coast. He had no family in the area, and found that being without was really tough.
When the opportunity came at the Innisfail Public Library, Barabash leaped at the chance, he said, in part because he has a lot of family in Alberta.
Even while working in Innisfail, Barabash knew about the Stettler Public Library.
“The library has a great board,” said Barabash, explaining that he’d been to the library several times in the past years during his time at Innisfail.
“I wanted to see what other local libraries were doing so I could see how to better improve our experience in Innisfail, and I was really impressed with what Stettler had done,” added Barabash.
Barabash praised the use of the library’s space, its wide variety of existing programming, and its embrace of new technologies.
Those new technologies is what really interests him, and he hopes there will be an increase of technological programs at the library under his tenure.
“We want to definitely increase digital literacy,” continued Barabash. “Coding and robotics, for example. We have a ton of equipment here, and we have really great programs, but we can go further.”
Barabash hopes to have programs in robotics, computer and Internet coding as regular events at the library.
While the golfer and curling fan is still commuting from Innisfail to Stettler, Barabash said that it was only a short-term solution until he found a place for his black lab, bell and himself to live in the community.
And yes, lowercase B in bell; his dog is named after an author who spells her name that way.