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Chief Librarian Accepts Award at Provincial Conference  memorializes
 Miss Mary J.L. Black

John Pateman, CEO / Chief Librarian, Thunder Bay Public Library Ontario Library Association, Leslie Weir  Lake Superior News
#LSN_News  John Pateman, Leslie Weir, President  Ontario Library Association

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO -  February 12, 2018  –(lLSN)   John Pateman, Chief Librarian, Thunder Bay Public Library, proudly accepted an award in honour of Miss Mary J.L. Black at the Ontario Library Association Super Conference, held in Toronto from January 31st through February 3rd.

The plaque memorializes Miss Black, who was the first female president of the Ontario Library Association in 1917.  The plaque is engraved with these words:  Miss Black was a fearless library leader of her time who introduced innovative approaches to library services and exerted significant influence in support of culture, education and the library profession beyond her own city.  Miss Black led a remarkable career as Chief Librarian, Fort William Public Library, now known as Thunder Bay Public Library, 1909 – 1937.

Mr. Pateman’s acceptance speech included thanks on behalf of the Thunder Bay Public Library board, staff and community.  He went on to say:  “TBPL is proud to share the news that work is underway on a new book to celebrate the history of library service in the community. The working title is Bright Symbols: A History of the Thunder Bay Public Library 1876-2020.

The title is taken from an article titled The Lake Superior Country by T. Morris Longstretch, published in 1924. The passage is in reference to the author’s impression of the Fort William Public Library under the leadership of Mary J. L. Black: “The bright symbols of intelligence and taste shone everywhere, and later, as I roamed the wide wilderness of Ontario with successive borrowings from these stacks in my pocket, I had occasion to be thankful to those who had stood behind Miss Black as she created this refreshing oasis in the adjacent desert.”

The book is planned for publication in 2020 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the amalgamation of Fort William Public Library and Port Arthur Public Library. Focus will be given to the role of Mary J. L. Black in establishing a strong foundation for public library service that is free and open to everyone.”

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