New Year

Happy New Year Wishes

P009991_300dpiCan you believe that a new decade is upon us? It seems as if we turned the page on 2019 just a moment ago.  And now, we are awaiting for 2020 to be rung in.  To everyone – I would like to wish you and yours all the best for a happy and healthy New Year!

It has been a year of change and challenge in the Grace Schmidt Room – the physical room layout has changed, collections have moved, and we’re now offering more digital services to enable you to convert your family memories and treasures. We also have a new digital research computer (about which I will tell you about in a future blog post – I promise!). Despite the changes in our outward appearance, we  remain committed to telling the stories of our commmunity and people. There is so much to share and discover – thank you for joining us on this journey!

I  wanted to thank the Waterloo Historical Society for supporting the Grace Schmidt Room in so many ways – from helping us to purchase a new digital ViewScan microfilm scanner, participating in the Genealogy Fair, to championing the Susan J. Hoffman Local History Fund. The Society is an integral part of our history, present, and future.

Thank you to the Ontario Genealogical Society/Ontario Ancestors for your continued support and permitting us to share your genealogy book collection with the community.

I also wanted to thank my colleagues: Ingrid, Valerie, Curtis, Joseph, Cynthia, and Ellie for their dedication to bringing the collections of the Grace Schmidt Room to life through their creative book displays and exhibits, posters, inventories and ideas. Without you, the Grace Schmidt Room would not shine.

To our researchers, volunteers, family historians and local history enthusiasts – thank your for your continued support and interest in the GSR. We look forward to meeting and engaging our community and to share the great resources and collections that are housed in the Grace Schmidt Room.

All the best.

Cheers, Karen

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Grace Schmidt Room, People and places

Remembering Mr. Matthews’ legacy

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P007010 KPL – Susan Hoffman left) and Lynn Matthews (right) on the occasion of the 3rd Anniversary of the Grace Schmidt Room, 14 October 1987. The framed portrait of Grace Schmidt can be seen between them on the wall.

Yesterday, we received the sad news of the passing of Lynn Matthews, former Kitchener Public Library Chief Librarian. While I did not know ‘Mr. Matthews’, as he was known to staff, he, along with Susan Hoffman and Grace Schmidt, will always hold a special place in my librarian heart.

During his tenure as Chief Librarian at KPL from 1973-1993, he was instrumental in the founding of the Grace Schmidt Room in 1984.  Mr. Matthews worked with the Library’s partners, the Waterloo Historical Society and Ontario Genealogical Society (then Waterloo-Wellington, now Waterloo Region Branch) in developing the GSR as a destination for local history and genealogy.  He spearheaded the Library’s commitment and vision for the room to protect and make available the legacy and local history collection curated by Grace Schmidt.

Looking back at the excitement of the GSR’s opening on 14 October 1984, I can’t help but think that Mr. Matthews believed in the value of local history and heritage for the community. The GSR opened with Susan Hoffman as KPL’s first local history librarian. She headed a small and dedicated staff complement that worked in the GSR, providing reference and research services.

While there have been many changes since then, it is in Lynn Matthews’ belief in the value of local history and the Grace Schmidt Room to the community, that we continue.

RIP Mr. Matthews.

 

 

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People and places

The Grace Schmidt Room Is Now Complete

Susan Hoffman portrait in the Grace Schmidt Room

Portrait of Susan Hoffman in the Grace Schmidt Room

When we moved into our new Grace Schmidt Room (GSR) in May 2014, I always knew that the room never felt complete. With the frequent construction related moves, unpacking, re-organizing, new projects, new equipment and technologies to incorporate, staff, customers and general library life, there was one thing that was missing – a portrait of Susan Hoffman.

Susan was the first Grace Schmidt Room Librarian at the Kitchener Public Library. She is responsible for the collection and services we offer today.  She worked tirelessly developing the local history and genealogy collection and related services, which were launched on 14 October 1984 and continued that work until her retirement in late July 2006.

She was my mentor and role model. Happily, we have remained friends since her retirement in 2006 and keep in touch.  I miss her dearly – her humour, insights, encyclopedic knowledge of the collection, and quick wit made working together in my early days as a librarian so very special.

It`s taken me a while, but I`m pleased to announce that Susan Hoffman`s portrait is in the Grace Schmidt Room. While a framed portrait will never replace the time we spent working together, it reminds me daily of her professionalism, dedication and legacy – which is evident in all that we do and strive to achieve.

Susan is back in the GSR. And the Grace Schmidt Room is complete.

Portraits in the Grace Schmidt Room - Mabel Dunham, Grace Schmidt and Susan Hoffman

Portraits in the Grace Schmidt Room  (left to right) Mabel Dunham, Grace Schmidt and Susan Hoffman

Cheers, Karen

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Uncategorized

Celebrating 30 Years of KPL’s Local History

Birthday Cake by Will Clayton

Birthday Cake – photographer Will Clayton   http://www.flickr.com/photos/spool32/

On Tuesday October 14, 2014, the Grace Schmidt Room of Local History will turn 30 years old. While not a monumental milestone, 30 years of local history preservation, research, reference and access is something to celebrate! The vision of the Library, Waterloo Historical Society and the then-named Waterloo-Wellington (now Waterloo Region) Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society helped to forge a partnership in the Grace Schmidt Room that has seen the local history and genealogy collections and services grow over the years. We have been very fortunate in having such wonderful partners and supporters in the GSR. Thank you!

If you are at the Central Library on Tuesday October 14th between 1pm and 3pm, please stop by the Grace Schmidt Room for a piece of cake.  We’d love to hear about your favourite moments and finds in the GSR.  If you can’t join us, please feel free to comment on the blog.

Cheers, Karen.

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