SANDRA Singh, current Chief Librarian at Vancouver Public Library, will take on the role of Vancouver’s General Manager in Arts, Culture and Community Services in April next year, the City of Vancouver announced on Monday.
The department she will be leading was formerly known as Community Services, but is being renamed to reflect the increased focus on the arts and culture priorities of the upcoming Creative City Strategy and addressing issues such as the historical discrimination against Chinese people. This is work to ensure Vancouver is primed to enrich its cultural vitality in the coming years.
City Manager Sadhu Johnston said, “I am very excited to have Sandra take the helm of the Arts, Culture and Community Services department. Under Sandra’s leadership, VPL has delivered on a well-designed strategic plan and made significant achievements to keep library services modern, engaged, creative, and customer focussed. There is a natural fit with her experience and knowledge, and Sandra is in a great position to take on the role leading Arts, Culture and Community Services at the City.”
Sandra’s tenure at the Library has been full of impressive achievements, notably development of the Inspiration Lab, the Sun Life Financial Musical Instrument Library, the Inspiration Pass, and the first indigenous naming of a civic facility, among other notable activities.
Sandra currently sits on the Canada Council for the Arts’ Public Lending Right Commission and is chairing the multi-sector National Heritage Digitization Strategy.
Sandra will be replacing Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas, who will be returning to Ontario to be closer to family. In her time with the City, Kathleen has made significant contributions to the Community Services portfolio. She paved the way with city-wide housing policies, the introduction of the Empty Homes Tax, directed actions to end street homelessness, helped to bring the MuralFest and Junos to Vancouver, and introduced best practices in business planning to Community Services, in addition to many other accomplishments.
VOICE’s Rattan Mall adds:
Sandra’s dad is Indo-Nepali and her mom is German.
Back in 2010, when her appointment as Chief Librarian of Vancouver Public Library was announced, I had asked her about the “Singh” part of her name. She told me: “I kept it when I married because for me that part of my heritage is really important in terms of who I am and how I think about myself in being Canadian.
“And if you were to look at me, you probably wouldn’t know. Most people think I married into the name. It was important for me to keep that because it’s really my only visible identifier.”
Before her appointment at VPL, Sandra was the permanent director at UBC Irving K. Barber Learning Centre as its first permanent director in November, 2008.
Prior to that, she worked with the Vancouver Public Library, holding two portfolios at different times: Director of Branches East / South and Outreach Services followed by Director of Systems and Special Projects.
Before that, Sandra served as Port Moody Public Library’s Manager of Library Services, as a Cybrarian at Vancouver’s online learning community Suite101.com, and as a reference librarian and cataloguer at Abilene (Texas) and Calgary public libraries in various roles.