SASKATCHEWAN LIBRARY TRUSTEES' ASSOCIATION
Honorary Life Membership
In Recognition of
Books have been an important part of Bessie Darrach's life since her early childhood.
Her love of books and her earnest belief in the value of libraries prompted Bessie to make a life long commitment in support of libraries at the provincial and the local levels.
Bessie first became involved in libraries in the early '50's and for nearly five decades has served the Saskatchewan library community in various capacities.
Bessie, at the age of three years emigrated to Canada from Manchester England in 1929 with her family.
They settled on a farm near Bladworth, Saskatchewan where Bessie attended elementary school after which she attended Bedford Road Collegiate in Saskatoon. Bessie was still in school when the Second World War started in 193 9, but five years later when she was able to, she joined the Canadian Women's Corps. During her years of military service she met and married the late Sergeant William Darrach of the Royal Canadian Engineers.
At the end of the War, the Darrachs moved to eastern Canada where Bill served as a manager in the Loblaw grocery chain. In 1952 they returned to western Canada where Bill secured employment as a research specialist with the Saskatchewan Research Council at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon. They settled in Aberdeen, raised two children; a son and a daughter.
Shortly after settling in Aberdeen Bessie was elected to the Town Council. It was at a meeting of council that she first heard from Debbie Lightbody, office manager of Wheatland Regional Library, who spoke about the merits of joining the region. Remembering what a godsend the library was in Bladworth run by the homemakers club when she was a girl, Bessie immediately supported the idea and was forthwith given the task of surveying the townspeople to determine if their feelings were similar. Aberdeen residents reacted positively and when she reported this to council members she moved a motion that Aberdeen join the Wheatland Regional Library, and the motion passed. Bessie immediately became the town's representative on the Wheatland Regional Library Board. She served on the board from 1976 to 1991. She was elected to the region's executive board in 1980 and served as vice-chairperson from 1981 to 1990 when she was elected chairperson. During her tenure, Bessie served on different committees of the executive board including the policy and the finance and personnel committees. In 1990 she was appointed to the Saskatchewan Library board by the provincial government.
Bessie was elected president of the Saskatchewan Library Trustees Association (SLTA) in 1983 for two years. As an executive member of the SLTA she represented the association on various matters related to public libraries, including the Multi-type Library Development Committee, which introduced a concept for a province-wide electronic network of libraries that is still in the early stages of implementation.
Bessie contributed a great deal in the development of the of the provincial library system as we know it today. For her decades of community service she is respected by the library community and her many friends. Of all her achievements for which she can be proud, Bessie, most of all, continues to take pride in the many innovative achievements of the Wheatland Regional Library , where her first commitment of life-long service to libraries took root.
Bessie believes libraries, particularly books, will not disappear in the face of advances in television and electronics. Some of the greatest users of library books today are school children. With strong supporters of libraries like Bessie Darrach, libraries will continue to flourish and will remain a very important part of communities throughout the province.
On behalf of the Wheatland Regional Board it is my pleasure and privilege to nominate Bessie Darrach as an honourary life-time member of the Saskatchewan Library Trustees' Association.
Thank you for your kind consideration.
Don Tait, Chairman
Wheatland Regional Library & Learn Centre