April 13th, 2024

ALEC scholarship named after longtime library employee

By Anna Smith on April 3, 2024.

Picture of Marlene Belser at the MHPL reference desk.--SUBMITTED PHOTO

asmith@medicinehatnews.com

Marlene Belser has made her home at the Medicine Hat Public Library reference desk since 1981, and that hard work was recently honoured with a $1,000 scholarship from Alberta Library Employees Committee (ALEC) named after her.

The honour came as a surprise, said Belser. While she was once part of the committee, which is part of CUPE, she stepped down more than a year ago.

The Marlene Belser Library Scholarship will go to a library worker who wants to attend a library event such as a conference or meeting, or pursue further education.

Belser explained that while their union local is very supportive, that is not the case for every library, and it is her hope that this will be used to empower some of those libraries to sed their workers where they can connect with people in similar positions to learn new skills and get insight into challenges they may face.

“The more we work together, the easier it is to make changes,” said Belser. “Some of the libraries that are part of unions have only one member. And they may have 50, or 60, or 100 or more other workers in that contract, so it can be expensive to come to meetings, between mileage and accommodations.”

This continues to be true, especially with cutbacks that libraries have been experiencing, making the larger community all the more important. Belser is pleased and grateful that the scholarship will be used to help people, much like her career helping people find the answers to their questions at the library.

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