submitted by Jeff Murray
Since its inception eighteen years ago, the Friends of the North Grenville Public Library has looked for imaginative ways to raise funds that enhance the library’s programs and services by taking them beyond the basic. Two long-standing members of the Friends have been particularly resourceful in this regard: Roberta Russell and Bill McElrea. In recognition of their great work, Roberta and Bill were honoured with a “Star of the Library” Award at the Friend’s AGM.
“Roberta is a creative thinker and brainstormer,” announced the secretary of the Friends, and one of the of the AGM’s participants, Jude Fader-Levere. And to prove it, Jude went on to list well-attended events that Roberta organized to help raise money not only for a new downtown library but library programs as well. There were the annual fall book fairs, Jazz in the Garden, events for the Dandelion Festival, Puppets Up Kemptville, and many silent auctions. Roberta has also been on the North Grenville Public Library Board and the Friends of the Library Board, and for several years, she acted as a liaison between the two.
Bill McElrea has been equally busy for the library. In the spring of 2008, he assumed the chair of the Room to Read Campaign. This was no small endeavour, since Room to Read was asked to raise more than $750,000 for a new downtown library. Only someone with Bill’s strong leadership and outstanding team building skills would have been up to the task. He met the target, and on time, allowing the new building to open in May, 2011. “Bill leads by example,” writes colleague Jean Kilfoyle. “He is always positive and prepared to look at all possibilities. He never lost his sense of humour.”
Bad libraries build collections, good libraries build services, great libraries build communities. Thanks Roberta and Bill for helping North Grenville to create a great library.