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Former Caledon librarian was a strong advocate for funding

April 19, 2018   ·   0 Comments

Written By JASEN OBERMEYER

Bill Manson, the former CEO/Chief Librarian of the Caledon Public Library for 11 years, passed away at the age of 73, leaving colleagues remembering his love for reading and advocacy of provincial funding.

Mr. Manson passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, April 1. From 2003 to 2014, he steered the library through many changes and improvements.
“He believed in the value of the libraries so strongly, he was really inspirational that way,” reflected Mary Maw, the library’s manager of communication and community development. “There was no discrimination in libraries, they were free to all…He just lived, breathed, loved libraries.”

Shortly before he passed away, the provincial government announced in its 2018 budget an increase in funding for public libraries.

Ms. Maw said that through Mr. Manson, they were one of the first libraries that had a community development department. “He really believed in the role of the library in the community.”

She described him as “bigger than life,” but was very kind and generous.
A passionate man for libraries, who married one, Mr. Manson left one of either two of the following quotes at the end of his emails.

“The three most important documents a free society gives are a birth certificate, a passport, and a library card.”

The other, a quote from Keith Richards; “When you are growing up there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully: the church, which belongs to God, and the public library, which belongs to you. The public library is a great equalizer.”

Kelley Potter, the library’s manager of public service, said his strengths were his intelligence, sense of humor, and thinking outside of the box. “His thinking process was very different from anybody else that I ever met. It wasn’t a linear process, it wasn’t even a mind mapping, so he would often come up with different solutions to things.”

Ms. Maw added that through Mr. Manson, they twice won the Angus Mowat Award of Excellence from the Ontario Library Association.
“He really believed in the staff, and he encouraged us to sort of spread our wings and fly,” she said. “His role as a leader was to develop other leaders. His biggest accomplishment was to encourage his staff. He was always looking for us to move forward, he never took credit, he always made sure to acknowledge staff for what they did.”

Ms. Potter said that some of his favorite books were science fiction, non-fiction, Dr. Who, American politics, and baseball.

Ms. Maw added that he made sure the library was “a really community space for everyone.”

Even though he retired, Ms. Potter said that Mr. Hanson “was always a passionate champion of libraries.”

         

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