Keeping Every Magazine in its Place


By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Sept. 29, 2013

Sue Barker still remembers her grandma, Rose Odermatt, dressed in a uniform, wearing a green hat and a big badge for Women’s Volunteer Services.

Her image as volunteers, working alongside other women of the WVS, stands out in Barker’s memory.

“I was so proud of her,” says Baker.

“I grew up in an atmosphere of volunteerism,.”Sue Barker.

Her earliest memory of her mother, Peggy Croucher, is also of a volunteer, helping out during Christmas.

Her sister rescues eagles, owls and other birds at the Mountain Air Avian Rescue Society in Courtenay.

Barker has been a volunteer at the Squamish Public Library for the last seven years, and volunteerism runs deep in the family.

“I grew up in an atmosphere of volunteerism,” says Barker.

“I was brought up to think that you don’t just take.”

Sue Barker came to Canada in 1969 with her siblings and settled in Vancouver.

She was one of the founding members of the independent Collingwood School in West Vancouver, where she also taught dyslexic children.

For the past nine years, she has lived in Furry Creak, and she has volunteered at the library for the past seven years.

Every Tuesday and Friday, she drives down from Furry Creel to help the library with periodicals, making sure everything one of them is where it’s supposed to be.

She also helps the patrons find what they are looking for.

It’s incredibly satisfying to help patrons, she says.

She loves it when people get delighted to see a book they had been waiting for, or when she can help find the latest Harry Potter book for a child.

“It’s not just giving, you get so much back in return,” she said.

Squamishers love coming to the library, she says, and she loves to talk to them and hear their feedback.

Recently, someone told her a story about his life working at the Britannia Mine Museum.

“Part of your job is to listen to people,” she says.

“If they feel good about it, then it makes me feel good.”

Working at the library has also been a great learning experience, she says.

Last year the library put on a display about logging and Newport and it was a great learning experience, she says.

“Volunteering at the library is a lesson in people and history,” Sue notes.

Librarian Ella-Fay Zalezsak said Sue has a talent to draw out of people who may not quite know how to express themselves well.

“Sue is extremely helpful in so many ways it is hard to capture in a few words,” the librarian said.

Squamish Public Library has 15 volunteers who have dedicated 386 hours of their time this year.



  1. THANKSDiane Sherlock says:

    THANKS TO ALL THE VOLUNTEERS. You all do an amazing job