Category: Annual General Meeting

President’s Report on 2022

President’s Report on 2022

May 10, 2023

Libraries are so much more than books… I think of the diverse populations that use our libraries for education, inspiration, celebration, relaxation, to search for direction or maybe to experience some human interaction.

Friends member Verla Carter, in a letter to the Gazette

When I look back on 2022, I am grateful for our dedicated Friends of the Library volunteers who have had immeasurable impacts on St. Albert Public Library over our 35-year history. Our first president, Bill Shields, once wrote:

“With your help, the Friends of the Library will be effective. With your involvement, it will help make the Library and St. Albert stronger. We urge you to participate – it will benefit you, the Library, and our City.”

This year, the Friends certainly lived up to this legacy.

In a year of advocacy, we raised our voices to help prevent devastating budget cuts to the Library. And in a year of learning, we met with three Friends of the Library groups across Alberta, sharing our experiences and learning about fundraising ideas.

Another Reel Monday season kicked off in January with Edge of the World, followed by 12 Mighty Orphans in February, Ride the Eagle in March, and Just Mercy in April. This season raised $2,165.78.

In February and March, we organized a Purdys Chocolatier Easter treats fundraiser once again, which has proved to be a hit with our supporters! We raised $895.75 this time.

As part of our “Friends Helping Friends” initiative (our effort to better connect Friends of the Library groups around the world) we met with the Friends of Edson & District Public Library in March, the Friends of Devon Public Library in April, and the Friends of Camrose Public Library in the summer. We highlighted our fundraising initiatives, advocacy, and our support of library activities and learned about their fundraising efforts.

During our Annual General Meeting recapping the 2021 year in May, we elected the following Friends Board: Graeme Matichuk re-elected as President and Marketing Chair, Sandra Fildes elected as Vice President, Verla Carter elected as Secretary-Treasurer, and Valerie Spink re-elected as Fundraising & Casino Chair.

Friends Coffee Corner plaque unveiling

In June, the Library honoured us with a plaque at Jensen Lakes Library for our $25,000 donation the previous year. We invited all casino volunteers who contributed toward this donation to attend an unveiling ceremony with speeches by Friends President Graeme Matichuk, Library Board Chair Bill Wells, and Library CEO Peter Bailey. We shared our strong belief that investing in our library’s growth is important work.

Several Friends participated in an engagement session on the Downtown Library refresh project, funded by a federal government grant and facilitated by Reimagine Architects, to share their vision for the Library’s future.

Unfortunately, midway through the year, the Library Board learned that City Council proposed a devastating $1.5 million cut to the Library’s budget over three years. In response, the Board launched a “Defend Your Library” advocacy campaign. The Friends supported these efforts by connecting with our social circles, writing emails and letters to Council, attending the budget presentation to Council, and writing letters to the Gazette with personal reasons why these cuts should not move forward. Ultimately, Mayor Heron moved and Council passed a motion to maintain the Library’s funding at 2022 levels, preventing the major proposed cuts but still sadly resulting in two staff layoffs. The Mayor reported that Council received 700 emails and letters in support of the Library!

In November, we contributed $2,625 toward a new water fountain with a bottle filling feature for the children’s library.

We donated $2,500 to STARFest from Reel Monday fundraising proceeds and many of us also attended the STARFest events.

For our winter Reel Monday season, we screened Love Sarah in September, followed by The Eyes of Tammy Faye in October, Mothering Sunday in November, and Peace by Chocolate in December. The audience especially loved Peace by Chocolate! This season raised $3,027.47.

The Friends of the Library in 2022 included Graeme Matichuk, Verla Carter, Valerie Spink, Sandra Fildes, Meagan Dechaine, Barb Moreau, Charleen Currie, Holly Ayotte, Joanne Root, Kathie Konarzewski, Marg Mazer, Sheena Sereda, and Wendy Stuart Hughes. Thank you to Peter Bailey, Leslie Greentree, and Rhonda Kozuska from the Library for supporting us with their expertise. Friends who participated through our 35th year were gifted commemorative bookmarks at our AGM on May 10, 2023.

In our 35th year, we reflected on St. Albert Public Library’s essential role in our community and the ways it has changed all of our lives. Fundraising and advocacy has been more challenging during COVID, but we will continue to relentlessly support the Library and all it offers St. Albertans. As our longtime Friend Valerie Spink says, “St. Albert’s library is more than a place to borrow books; it is a place where the community comes together.”

Graeme Matichuk

President, Friends of the Library

St. Albert’s library is more than a place to borrow books; it is a place where the community comes together. It offers a mix of services and programs that serve all age groups. Some of these services help employers find employees and help residents find jobs. Our library helps high school and post-secondary students with research resources and a space to study and meet with others to work on projects. Our library has shown over the years that its use numbers are among the top, compared to its peer libraries.

Friends member Valerie Spink, in a letter to the Gazette

Interested in supporting the Friends?

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

Friends Annual General Meeting

Friends Annual General Meeting

The Friends of the Library Annual General Meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 10, 2022 at 7:00 pm in-person at the Downtown Library 2nd Floor Training Room. There is also a Zoom option available.

We will be presenting our major annual donations to the Library, electing our next Board, and more. Everyone is welcome to attend the AGM! If you are interested in joining the Friends to attend our regular monthly meetings, please contact at

Download our agenda and 2022 financial statements here:

Please RSVP to the AGM below:

New Friends Board and Donations

New Friends Board and Donations

At our AGM last week, we elected our new executive! Please click here for the President’s Report on 2021 presented at the AGM.

2022-2023 Friends Board

President & Marketing ChairGraeme Matichuk
Vice PresidentSandy Fildes
Secretary / TreasurerVerla Carter
Casino & Fundraising ChairValerie Spink
Library Board RepresentativeMeagan Dechaine

Pictured in the photo are the Friends who joined in person for our hybrid virtual/in-person AGM, with the rest of our team joining via Zoom. We look forward to continuing hybrid meetings in the fall to ensure everyone can attend!

At our AGM, we voted to decide on our major donations in our September meeting and voted to fund a new water fountain/dispenser in the Children’s Library through our casino funds.

Our next regular meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, September 7, with a special event to be held in the summer at Jensen Lakes Library to unveil the new Friends’ Corner to recognize our donation of $25,000 to Jensen Lakes Library furniture.

Interested in supporting the Friends?

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

President’s Report on 2021

President’s Report on 2021

May 4, 2022

The best way to build a better world for our children is to fight for our public libraries.

Lois Hole

The Friends of St. Albert Public Library gather every year to reflect on the past calendar year, present our major donations, and look ahead to the next year. Our AGM on May 4, 2022 recaps our year from January to December of 2021.

Our year began with everyone curled up with a book at home, when we would usually be holding the winter Reel Monday season. The Arden Theatre had once again closed for a few months from December 2020 to early spring due to COVID measures, but the Friends continued our monthly virtual Zoom meetings.

From February to March, we held our first-ever Purdys Chocolatier fundraiser. Our fundraising committee signed up for the Purdys online system for St. Albertans to place orders for Easter treats, with the Friends profiting 25% of the sales. Through this fundraiser, we were able to donate an additional $1,200 to the children’s summer reading game above our usual $3,000 amount, totalling $4,200 for 2021! The children’s summer reading game featured both in-person and virtual programs – in true form with the new pandemic normal – and we felt that it was a great initiative to continue supporting.

Purdys chocolates pickup

We held our AGM in May of 2021, during which we recapped the 2020 year and elected our new executive team. Our new Board was formed by Graeme Matichuk as President, Marketing Chair, and Interim Treasurer; Verla Carter as Vice President; Sandy Fildes as Secretary; and Valerie Spink as Casino and Fundraising Chair. At this AGM, we donated $13,000 to Jensen Lakes Library, which capped off our total donation of $25,000 to the mini-library in St. Albert’s north end. These donations, from casino fundraising, paid for some of the furniture at Jensen Lakes Library.

We were thrilled to hold a fall Reel Monday season after the unusual winter season hiatus, with four films exploring a range of topics: The Father, The Public, French Exit, and In The Heights. The Public, in particular, was a heartwarming film for all the library supporters who attend Reel Monday season after season.

St. Albert Gazette review of a Reel Monday film

Our team gratefully acknowledges the discounts provided by the Arden Theatre and Criterion Pictures to allow us to maximize our donations to the Library. We appreciate our Reel Monday attendees who were patient with the ever-changing pandemic restrictions. All profits from Reel Monday will be donated to the STARFest Fall 2022 season.

We are also grateful for the Library Board and the staff of the Library, especially Leslie Greentree for promoting our events and Rhonda Kozuska for financial and administrative support.

Digital outreach initiatives continue to connect us with our supporters. We launched a Twitter presence in the fall of 2021, continued growing our Facebook page, increased our frequency of blog posts and website updates, and continued sending seasonal Story Lines email newsletters.

The Library introduced the opportunity for the Friends to donate toward the Library’s endowment fund – the St. Albert Future Fund – and we committed to donating $1,000 annually in support of this fund.

My endless gratitude goes to the Friends of the Library Board and Members who have maintained their dedication during some of the most difficult years. While so many Friends groups have dwindled during the pandemic, our team has grown closer and shown our love for the library in all the ways we can.

Graeme Matichuk

President, Friends of the Library

As a lifelong reader and library lover, I felt that joining the Friends of St. Albert Public Library was perfect for me. It means so much to me that as an organization, the members of Friends have contributed substantial funds to support the Library over many years. We’re a small group but we make a big difference!

Sandy Fildes, Friends Board Member/

Why did I join the Friends? To help promote the incredible value of the library to our community.

Joanne Root, Friends Member

The library has been a place of journeys for me for many years. First as a young reader growing up in Red Deer, the weekly trek to the library was one of my first solo outings. When our children came along, many years later, We introduced them to the joy of library outings through story times, and special events held there. Having the time now in retirement to join The Friends of the Library, has shown me that the library continues to be an essential service. People of all ages, backgrounds, and needs find help to connect with resources, learn new skills and meet new people.

Verla Carter, Friends Board Member

Interested in supporting the Friends?

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

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.