Allison Trumble is a librarian at the Courtenay Library

Coffee with … Allison Trumble

Librarian spent time planting trees

Terry Farrell

Record staff


Allison Trumble has been an admitted bookworm for as long as she can remember. With that in mind it’s no surprise that she became a librarian.

Who’d have thought it would take some time in the bush for her to figure it out herself?

“I never thought that tree planting would last forever, but it was something I went through,” said the children and youth customer service librarian at the Courtenay Library.

Allison was raised in the Comox Valley, and her French immersion schooling drew her to Montreal for post-secondary.

She completed her under-graduate degree at Concordia, at which point she decided she wanted nothing to do with the English language.

“I went through … maybe I was a little bit disenchanted after my under-graduate degree, and I had no interest, whatsoever, in anything to do with books, for quite a while,” she said.

So she took on a job many West Coasters are familiar with: tree planting.

“I had always heard about it. But tree planters have a way of talking about things in a way that’s almost like tall tales, larger than life. They talk about it like it is the hardest job in the world and ‘can you hack it?’ So my sense of adventure was tweaked and I had to try it.”

She said it lived up to the hype.

“I think so. It was a very tough job. And you can make quite a bit of money at it. Tree planters are crazy. They all work really, really hard. It’s not about how hard it is to plant a tree. It’s about how hard it is to plant 3,000 trees.”

Then she had her epiphany.

“Eventually, when I realized that tree planting is not a ‘forever’ career, I was sort of casting about for what would give me a more stable career and it sort of hit me like a ton of bricks.”

She wanted to be a librarian.

Ironically, some of the things that fuelled her disenchantment are the same things she spends a lot of her time delving into now, as a librarian.

“Things to do with copyright, piracy and Internet neutrality – access to information and stuff,” she said. “I realized that librarians are really actively involved in a lot of those issues. So that kind of grabbed me about earning my librarianship. I realized I didn’t get a degree just to throw it away. It all came together and made sense.”

She returned to school to achieve her masters in library and information studies at UBC and now she’s home, working at the same library where she spent many hours growing up.


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