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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