The former head librarian of the Terrace Public Library who oversaw its expansion in 1995 and who took into the digital age has died.
Ed Curell, who retired in 2008 after 29 years as head librarian, passed away while on holiday. He was 67.
“I couldn’t believe it when I heard it,” said Willie Schneider, who was chair of the library board in 1979 when Curell was hired.
“He was quite hands-on in the library,” said Schneider. “He was a very laid back man, very friendly man. He was very concerned about his staff and always concerned about the budget.”
Curell had planned to retire in 2007 but stayed on to oversee several projects that were underway.
Schneider and Curell both worked on the 1995 library expansion project by raising money and crafting how the facility would look.
Curell also created the library’s own software to replace older software used for 25 years.
He was also instrumental in arranging for an online newspaper database.
George Clark first got to know Curell when he was on city council in the early 1980s and acted as the city’s representative on the library board.
“I was supposed to represent the interests of the city but I think I ended up defending the interests of the library instead,” Clark recalled.
“That’s the kind of person Ed was – very passionate, very quiet and very effective.”
Clark credits Curell for moving the library beyond being a book repository.
“He made sure the library was not only up to date with changes but that it was ahead of the curve,” he said.
“Videos, CDs, audiobooks. He made the library a place not just to read but to research. Computers were there for free use. He very quickly got with the computer age,” said Clark.
The following is a statement from Terrace mayor Dave Pernarowski:
“On behalf of Council and the City of Terrace I would like to convey our sadness at the sudden passing of Ed Curell. Ed served as the head librarian at the Terrace Public Library for 29 years.
His dedication to learning, to facilitating access to information, and creating an accessible library has shaped not only the Terrace Public Library but indeed our community.
Ed embodied the concept of a public library that was open to all and he himself was a lifelong learner. Ed’s work to keep the Terrace Public Library the vibrant resource it is today is a testimony to his commitment to the people of Terrace.
We offer our condolences to Ed Curell’s family and friends.”