I became a member of the Winnipeg Friends of the Library Board this past fall. I helped to found the Friends of the Library group in Steinbach many years ago and as I contemplated retiring from my part-time job at the University of Winnipeg I was looking for other ways to get involved in my community. The board has been a good fit and a good challenge so far. Friends of the Library groups located in North America, Europe, Australia and South Africa fund all kinds of special programming in libraries. One of the ways I thought I could support the Winnipeg group’s work was by writing articles for their newsletter called NOTES which is printed several times a year. The most recent issue just came out and I wrote four articles for it. Each provided an interesting experience for me.
For my first article, I had the privilege of interviewing Carolyn Gray the current writer in residence at the Winnipeg Public Library and recently appointed editor of Prairie Fire magazine. Carolyn and I met at a local coffee shop and had a wonderful chat. Among other things, I found out she was an accomplished puppeteer, shared her home with a Golden Retriever named Minnie and had recently completed a Masters degree in Fine Arts from the University of Saskatchewan. I also was assigned to write profiles of four new Friends of the Library board members, including myself. I learned such interesting things about the people who sit around the board table with me. I found out Rita loves the Bombers and the Jets almost as much as she loves ballet and the theatre. I discovered Kim loves to cook, is a marketing and communications consultant and has a family cottage. The interview questions Chelsea answered revealed she loves playing board games and her favorite writer is a Japanese author named Haruki Murakami. The editor of Notes asked me to contact the latest winner of Governer General’s award for English language fiction Joan Thomas to see what books were on her nightstand and write a short What Is She Reading piece. Joan was so gracious when I contacted her and quickly sent me a message about what she was reading. Finally I collected comments from folks who attended our group’s annual fundraising book sale at Grant Park High School. They were excited about their experience at the sale. These were incorporated into an article by the book sale manager.
I have all kinds of ideas about how we can make our newsletter an even better vehicle of communication with our members. I am looking forward to perhaps implementing some of those ideas in the future. In the meantime I am finding it interesting and challenging to be a kind of roving reporter for NOTES.