OUR COMMUNITY: Smitty Miller – So Much More Than Books

Smitty Miller is killing librarian stereotypes with her jazzed up style of running Chilliwack Library.

'If you haven't been to the library in awhile

Smitty Miller is not your typical librarian.

With her spiked, platinum blonde hair and beloved knee high red boots, she is not one to shush patrons. In fact, some days, it’s her voice that’s gregariously reverberating off the downtown library’s walls.

Just the way she likes it.

Since taking over the community library position last year, Miller has been akin to a bull in a china shop.

She’s opened the library up, had a laptop bar installed, brought in new café-style furniture, and has pointedly made the place more welcoming for all – children, at-risk teens, adults, seniors, and the downtown’s homeless.

“If you haven’t been to the library in awhile, you need to come down – this is not your granddaddy’s library,” she said.

“The one stereotype I’d like to break about libraries is that they’re stale and boring.”

With Miller at the helm, it won’t take long to achieve.

Miller, American born, used to be a professional musician, specializing in 1930s and ’40s jazz. She played coffee houses, cruise ships, and three of her own world tours. But after 20 years traveling the world, some years, only spending four days at home, she said goodbye to the biz and headed for the Great White North where she got a degree in library information studies.

Miller has worked her way up through the Fraser Valley Regional Library ranks and has become known as a mover and a shaker in the industry.

She brought the valley its first mobile library with Library Live and on Tour (LiLi), a library set up in a souped up Nissan Cube that she took to marginalized communities – an initiative that, to date, has reached more than 50,000 people. She also developed FVRL’s first listening station at the Chilliwack Library.

“Libraries are so much more than books,” she said. “Books are a very, very small part of what we do, they’re the most obvious part, but by far, they are not the biggest thing.

“The one stereotype I’d like to break is that libraries are stayed and boring.”

Still, Miller doesn’t turn her nose up at traditional librarians, the ones with their index finger practically glued to their lips shushing anyone who makes so much as a peep in their library. There’s a place for those librarians, she said.

But there’s also a place for personalities like hers – especially in the modern world.

“I’m showy, I’m quirky, and I’m loud,” she said. “I don’t downplay that; those qualities are nothing but an advantage.”

Miller has worked in several positions throughout FVRL. She’s worked in children’s sections, adult sections, administration, etc., but it was the community librarian position in Chilliwack Library that she chose.

When the position came up, there was another for Sardis Library. Given Miller’s background, and soft spot for both the homeless and at-risk youth, she knew Chilliwack was her library.

Some of Miller’s music friends are still gobsmacked with her decision to leave concerts for libraries, but for Miller, it was the most natural decision.

“From the moment I first walked into the library, as an employee, I felt at home,” she said.

kbartel@theprogress.com

twitter.com/schoolscribe33

Just Posted

Grand opening of Molson Coors Fraser Valley Brewery at Chilliwack cause for celebration

Ribbon-cutting with dignitaries, Molson brass and family marked the official grand opening

Two more on witness stand accuse former Chilliwack youth leader of sexual touching

BC Supreme Court justice rules similar fact evidence allowed in trial of Codie Anderson

East Coast comedian Ron James bringing ‘Full Throttle Tour’ to Chilliwack Cultural Centre

James is at work on the first draft of his first book, ‘All Over the Map’

Multiple accidents on Highway 1 slowing morning commutes

One accident just past 232 Street in Langley, second is just East of Bradner Street in Abbotsford

PHOTOS: Chilliwack Terry Fox Run in the rain

Wet weather didn’t dampen spirits or enthusiasm for the annual cancer fundraiser

VIDEO: Drone footage documents work to free salmon at Big Bar landslide

Video shows crews working to remove rocks and wood, and transporting salmon by helicopter

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Vancouver police could be using drones to fight crime by end of year

The police department has already purchased three drones, as well as three others for training

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

B.C. cabinet minister denies that Surrey mayor’s friend attended government meeting

Surrey councillor questions Vancouver businessman Bob Cheema’s involvement in official meeting

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

Most Read