SASKATCHEWAN LIBRARY TRUSTEES' ASSOCIATION
Honourary Life Membership in
Marlynne Samson was born and educated in Saskatchewan, and has a B.A., B.Ed. from the University of Saskatchewan. Although now retired, she has worked as a classroom teacher, adult educator, literacy tutor, health program advisor, and business person in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. She lives with her husband, and three dogs in the boreal forest near Meadow Lake where she indulges her interest in gardening and natural landscape. Marlynne has had a passion for reading and libraries since she was a child.
Marlynne began attending Meadow Lake Library Board meetings in September 1995. She was appointed to the Board in September 1996. She served as Vice Chairperson, and served on the Budget/Finance and Staffing committees. In 1999, she ceased being Vice Chairperson, and became Treasurer. She served on the Budget/Finance, Staffing and Building/Technology committees. In December 2000, she became the A/Chair. Marlynne was elected Chair in February 2001, and has served as such for the last nine years. She only recently announced that she will resign citing her lengthy service.
The Town Council of Meadow Lake appointed Marlynne as the local representative on the Regional Lakeland Library Board in May 2001. She continued as the local rep until April 2005. During her first term on the Regional Board, Marlynne was elected to the Executive as representative for towns with populations exceeding 2,000. She was re-elected annually to this Executive position, and in addition, served on the Finance, Services and First Nations committees.
In 2001, renovations to the Library were necessary. Marlynne was instrumental in leading a Board committee that worked closely with Library staff to identify layout changes and decorating choices. In 2002, Lakeland Regional Library adopted the Area Resource Center Standards, and Meadow Lake Library was redesignated as an Area Resource Center. Marlynne became an advocate for developing the Library to meet these standards. In November 2002, Marlynne and another Board member successfully completed an ABC Canada Literacy Foundation Grant application for Share the Stories funding to acquire First nation children’s material to supplement the Library’s very small collection. The funding received was $1,500.00. Marlynne successfully applied for a $1,000 grant from the Star Phoenix Raise a Reader Program, also used for the purchase of children’s material. She began lobbying the Regional Board to increase the book budget allocation for the Meadow Lake Library from $4,500 in 2003. In 2004, Meadow Lake Library received a book budget allocation of $12,000, which was subsequently increased to $16,500 where it remains today. In 2008, Marlynne turned her attention to the grounds around the library, ensuring they were made as attractive as possible. In May 2009, Marlynne began to provide a seniors book service by delivering books to the seniors homes in Meadow Lake.
Under Marlynne’s leadership the Board and staff took on fundraising initiatives:
- Selling donated books at the annual community pre-Christmas craft sale;
- Soliciting a donation from the Meadow Lake Co-op and producing for sale book bags complete with logos;
- In 2009, two “coffee and dessert” evening events were held, a joint effort of Board and staff, to profile Saskatchewan authors and their books.
Though stepping down from the Board, Marlynne’s contributions continue to be felt:
- Marlynne worked with Lakeland Region to get a seat for the incoming Meadow Lake Library Board Chairperson to attend a February 2010 Governance Seminar along with three members of the Lakeland Regional Executive. The focus was on governance and board dynamics;
- Marlynne worked with a consultant who could provide some strategic planning support for the local Library Board. This groundwork will lead the incoming Board in new directions.
- Marlynne has expressed interest in setting up a new initiative “Friends of the Library”. This would be a group of volunteers dedicated to Library service, and available to assist in a range of activities.
Marlynne has been dedicated and inspiring. She has been a very effective RM representative, a leader at the Local Board level, and she has made contributions at the Regional level. Her energy and enthusiasm for Libraries is contagious, and has resulted in many improvements at the Meadow Lake Library.