President’s Report 2020

President’s Report 2020

May 5, 2021

“In a world of changes, contributing to the health of your library is one of the only legacies that really lasts. And in building a legacy for your loved ones, you’re also investing in a more literate, more enlightened world.”

Lois Hole

Every spring, the Friends of St. Albert Public Library gather at the Library for our Annual General Meeting, reflecting on the previous January to December year and tying up loose ends before our summer break. This AGM in May of 2021, we gather virtually to reflect on all that we did in 2020.

2020 kicked off with the grand opening of Jensen Lakes Library in the north end of St. Albert. The Friends were excited to attend this event to celebrate the long-awaited expansion of our Library. Through our casino fundraising, which involves many dedicated volunteers on our Friends team and other library supporters, we committed to donating $25,000 to Jensen Lakes Library, beginning with $12,000 in 2020 and $13,000 to follow in 2021.

Early in the year, we created a CanadaHelps profile for online donations, allowing us to accept ticket sales, donations, and membership dues with greater convenience. Many Reel Monday attendees this season used CanadaHelps to purchase their tickets, and we received additional donations from individuals.

When we returned to regular meetings in September after our summer break, we held our first-ever virtual meeting. Our 2020 AGM was held in October during which we elected our Board. This meeting marked the end of Valerie Spink’s exceptional term as President of the Friends, having started her Friends volunteering around 1992 and holding a variety of Board positions over the years.

Audience in a brewery watching two speakers at the Hockey Talk with Mark Spector event
Hockey Talk with Mark Spector in February 2020

Sports journalist Mark Spector and former mayor of St. Albert Nolan Crouse hosted a hockey talk event over beers and finger food at Endeavour Brewing Co. in February, with funds supporting STARFest.

Our 16th Reel Monday season included five films, two of which were screened before the pandemic: Where’d You Go, Bernadette? and After the Wedding. In March, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the rescheduling of our remaining three films (Judy, The Good Liar, and Ford v. Ferrari) due to the temporary closure of the Arden Theatre.

In March, St. Albert Public Library facilities closed under the new public health restrictions. Our passion for supporting the Library was only strengthened through the pandemic, with library staff developing new ways to fulfill educational, social, economic, and recreational needs of St. Albertans. We were impressed with the curbside pickup, virtual programming, and pivoting between facility opening and closure through each wave of public health restrictions.

To better reach our Friends supporters, we introduced an email newsletter inspired by the Story Lines newsletter we published in the 1990s. We publish this newsletter quarterly – once each season – to share news on events and fundraisers. The Friends launched a website at that is now our go-to information hub  for all things Friends.

We were fortunate to have one of the final casino volunteering dates before casino volunteering was suspended due to public health restrictions. These casino funds contributed toward our $25,000 of donations to Jensen Lakes Library. We look forward to our next casino in 2022.

View of people in a theatre separated by distance with Valerie speaking on the stage, showing a COVID-safe Reel Monday screening
COVID-safe Reel Monday

We were pleased to hold the October and November Reel Monday screenings successfully under strict COVID-19 safety protocols, after rescheduling these dates in September, and were saddened to cancel the December screening due to the second wave of the pandemic. We are grateful for the patience and cooperation of all Reel Monday attendees, especially those who have been dedicated supporters for many years, and the unwavering support of City and Arden Theatre staff. 

The Friends donated $6,000 to the St. Albert Readers’ Festival (STARFest), raised through our Reel Monday film series. Instead of an in-person series of author talks, STARFest was held via virtual live streams in the fall.

In a year like no other, we were proud to continue supporting the St. Albert Public Library and the incredible library staff who provide library services in rain, shine, or pandemic. 

Graeme Matichuk

President, Friends of St. Albert Public Library //

Screenshot of Zoom meeting with Friends members
Friends AGM held virtually in October 2020

Friends Board and Volunteers (as of Oct. 2020):

  • Graeme Matichuk, President & Marketing Chair
  • Joanne Root, Vice President
  • Sandra Fildes, Secretary
  • Richard Brooks, Treasurer
  • Valerie Spink, Casino & Fundraising Chair, & Past President
  • Verla Carter
  • Wendy Stuart-Hughes
  • Charmaine Brooks
  • Terry Korte
  • Barb Moreau
  • Kathie Konarzewski
  • Allice Laderoute
  • Marg Mazer
  • Charleen Currie

Digital version with 2020 financial statements available for download below:

Interested in supporting the Friends?

We are a group of library lovers supporting the St. Albert Public Library.

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