A big farewell hug to the library’s Marilyn Marinus, whose last shift is Thursday May 23

After 27 years, Marilyn Marinus’ last shift at the Pemberton and District Library will be tomorrow, Thursday May 23. She and husband Drew will be testing out life in Quesnel, where they’ll be much closer to their kids and family members in the north.



Marilyn has been such a wonderful ally to all readers – whether you’re a gushing Brene Brown vulnerability fan, or whether you struggle to line the letters up, she is equally encouraging and non-judgmental. She’s also been a wonderful friend and ally to the Wellness Almanac over the years that we have been trying to grow a real sense of community, wellness and recognition of each other through this blog, and all its little tentacles.

One day, I found myself standing in front of her librarian’s desk fully confessing as to how I’d scraped the car and then lied about knowing nothing about it to my husband. (I had finally ‘fessed up to him, but obviously still felt a need for a confessional booth experience which Marilyn generously provided.)

I remember the day I discovered that Bert Perkins, the legendary packer who had guided the first mountain climbers to ascend Mount Meagher, was her grandpa! I realized her roots ran deep here, and yet her kindness to people (newcomers like me) ran just as deep.



I remember learning that she’d personally delivery library books to people who lived out of town, and I realized how rich a community I’d found myself in, and how that richness grows.

In the fall of 2014, I came up with the idea of encouraging people to sign up for a 50 Day Wellness challenge. We were in that shoulder season time where it rains a lot, and are literally counting down to Opening Day of the mountain and I wondered what it would look like if we explored wellness by inviting whoever in the community was game to practice some form of wellness every day for 50 days.

Marilyn signed on, and gave her challenge a little tweak. She made it a 50 Books to Wellness Challenge – and then, the woman who was always happiest hiding behind the counter blew my heart wide open by writing this post:

“When I was 21 and a mom of a 6 month old, my mother encouraged me to apply for a part time job posted at the library. I thought it was a crazy idea. Who would want to hire me? I wasn’t an avid reader. I couldn’t even name the top 10 books of the year at the time.

I wasn’t a great reader when I was little. Every one of my report cards stated “Marilyn needs to practice her reading.” I just couldn’t get it! I became frustrated and embarrassed because the teachers kept calling on me to read out loud to the class. What a perfect way to make the shy girl who couldn’t read hide more inside herself.”

But luckily, her grandmother  encouraged her and had the patience and time to sit and listen to her read.

Marilyn wrote, “I would walk across the lawn to go to her house and read ‘A fish out of water’ to her and her two cats. Without her I don’t think my life path would have been quite the same.”

In some places, it would be a kind of professional suicide for someone who works in the library to admit that she was not a great reader as a kid. But seriously, what better person to be there helping people find books and grow a love of reading…?

In the end, Marilyn did get that job at the library – thank goodness! – and how can we possibly measure the endless ripples of that…

She shared her list of #50 books that challenged her, that she connected with, that literally fell off the shelf in front of me saying “Read me!”

A fish out of water – Helen Palmer
Daring Greatly – Brene Brown
Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe
Jacob Two-Two meets the Hooded Fang – Mordecai Richler
Alfred Hitchcock!
The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
Go ask Alice -Anonymous
The Chrysalids – John Wyndham
Embraced by the light – Betty J. Sadie
Village of the small houses – Ian Ferguson
Grizzlies in my backyard – Beth Day
Into the wild – Jon Krakauer
Wizard of oz -Frank Braum
Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare
My fathers dragon – Ruth Stiles Gannett
Franklin’s blanket – Paulette Bourgeois
Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
Missing Joseph – Elizabeth George
Still Alice – Lisa Genova
Families of the world – Helen Tremblay
Poldark series -13 in series – Winston Graham
Potato factory – Bryce Courtney
7 habits of highly effective people – Stephen R. Covey
What makes Olga run – Bruce Grierson
Cool water – Dianne Warren
Women’s bodies, women’s wisdom – Christine Northrup
Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
The bitch in the house : – Cathie Hanauer
Finnie Walsh – Steven Galloway
When the body says no : the cost of hidden stress – Gabor Mate, M.D.
Amphibian – Carla Gunn
Touch – Alexi Zentner
Absolutely true story of a part time Indian – Sherman Alexie
The heart does break – Jean Baird
Lobster king – Alexi Zentner
The bears embrace : a story of survival – Patricia Van Tighem
A yellow raft in blue water – Michael Dorris
28 : stories of AIDS in Africa – Stephanie Nolen
The Deptford Trilogy – Robertson Davies
Some become flowers:Living with dying at home – Sharon Brown
The fault in our stars – John Green
Uncommon will : the death and life of Sue Rodriguez – Lisa H. Birnie
Death on the ice: The great Newfoundland sealing disaster of 1914 – Cassie Brown
The beggars garden – Michael Christie
The story of Ferdinand – Munro Leaf
Anything by Bill Peet
James and the giant peach – Roald Dahl
The snow goose – Paul Gallico
The concubine’s children – Denise Chong
The Stranger – Albert Camus

Two years later, the once-upon-a-shy-girl agreed to be one of our first instagrammers., and later shared how the experience had helped her to slow down, 


It slowed me down, put me in my place, made me see me again.  It’s funny how I lost track of what makes me happy, healthy and whole.

“I wanted to do this to remind everyone that we each are unique. None of us are the same but we each have that common goal to be healthy and happy. We can only create that by connecting with ourselves.”

And even knowing that any time she told me a funny or interesting story, I’d ask her to write a blog post about, she kept on sharing. See:

She talks to cows, welcomes bats into her house, and takes beautiful photographs.

Screen Shot 2019-05-21 at 2.38.50 PM

How hard it is to say goodbye to the people who have made you feel so welcome, in your own life.

Thank you, Marilyn. Come and visit us. And go out and enjoy your next chapter with the knowledge that you are deeply deeply loved and appreciated.

One thought on “A big farewell hug to the library’s Marilyn Marinus, whose last shift is Thursday May 23

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