SASKATCHEWAN LIBRARY TRUSTEES' ASSOCIATION
Honourary Life Membership in
Gwen was born in the Beaton District, north of Prince Albert to parents Betty and Dave Tait. She moved as a young child to Prince George, BC, then to Prince Albert, SK and on to Christopher Lake to complete her education. In grade eight, while attending Riverside Collegiate in Prince Albert, she received training as a student librarian under the guidance of Isobel Kaldor. This was just the start of Gwen’s love for libraries.
As a young lady, while working at Prince Albert National Park in Waskesiu, she met and married Albert Collee. They bought land at Tweedsmuir, west of the Village of Christopher Lake, where they raised their two daughters.
Gwen is retired and lives with her husband in Prince Albert but continues to drive out every week to support the Christopher Lake Library. She is presently the Chairperson of the Board for the Christopher Lake Library.
From 1973 to 1979: Gwen was the Librarian at Christopher Lake Library.
In 1973, Christopher Lake Library found its home in the newly built Christopher Lake Local Improving District (L.I.D.) Building. Of course, a librarian was needed, so on seeing a posting Gwen applied and received the position. During completion of the building, Gwen stained the library furniture and shelves. Gwen was honorary librarian for the first two years until the North Saskatchewan Regional Library began paying librarians. She then received an honorarium of $50.00 per year. Gwen was given the “Remember Book” which was a guide on running libraries and a copy of the Dewey Decimal System!
In 1977, Gwen and her family moved to Waskesiu, but she continued to drive the 40 km. to Christopher Lake to continue as librarian. Gwen was librarian until 1979 when travel became difficult with her growing family. She never lost her love for libraries though. She stayed in touch by orientating new librarians and assisting whenever needed.
1988: Gwen became a Library Board Trustee.
When Gwen and her family returned to live in the Christopher Lake area, Gwen took up her role as Board Trustee. She was always available for the library’s many bake sales, author talks and other events.
1990 to Present: Gwen became Chairperson of the Christopher Lake Library Board.
Throughout the years, it was a constant struggle to maintain an active library board, and so to maintain continuity, Gwen took over as Board Chairperson. In 1992, the Wapiti Regional Library chose the Christopher Lake Library as Library of the Year. As Chairperson, Gwen is proactive in lobbying for funds to improve library services.
Gwen took over as librarian again for a short time to help out in a time of need.
Christopher Lake Library celebrated its 45th anniversary. The Christopher Lake Library could not have celebrated this milestone if not for the dedication and commitment of Gwen Collee.