Staff Stories: Ella Leving – From a Distance

Originally shared as part of Halifax Public Libraries' 2020-21 Annual Report

In the span of a typical year, our Libraries would welcome over 3 million visitors through their doors, and host over 9,000 in-person programs. Facing an anything-but-typical year in 2020-21, Library staff jumped into action on social media, behind cameras and keyboards, on Zoom, and in the great outdoors to share their friendly faces and personal talents with our community in new ways.

Ella Leving, Community Librarian at Captain William Spry Public Library, was one such staff member. She used her love for poetry, video creation, and Nova Scotia’s beautiful landscapes to deliver a soothing Poetry Afternoon video series, as well as popular community hikes in Spryfield, when the Library reopened.

Ella was looking for a creative way to connect with Library patrons when she had the idea for Poetry Afternoon. The series consists of short videos filmed and produced by Ella, featuring Nova Scotia scenery in the background and her soothing voice reciting her favourite poems.

“For someone who thrives on human interaction, losing touch with my Library family was quite a challenge… It was absolutely wonderful to see how such a small thing could resonate with all of you.” – Ella Leving

Many viewers enjoyed the relaxing videos and found they brightened their day during the pandemic. The feedback was invaluable to Ella, who was delivering her videos without being able to see her listeners’ immediate reactions.

“Those comments…made me feel needed. And that’s a wonderful feeling. Thank you for that,” says Ella.

Ella also connected with Library patrons through online programming, Curbside Pick-up services, and community hikes.

Despite Libraries being closed, Ella was grateful to still be able to find ways to interact with patrons and continue doing the job she loves.

“I know the Library is really important in my community because we sincerely care,” says Ella.

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Watch Ella's story