Cultural icon and Medieval feast

FTLComm - Saskatoon - Saturday, March 15 2003
The banquet for the Saskatchewan School Library Association and the Association for Teacher-Librarianship in Canada was held Friday night in Saskatoon and began with a series of awards presentations as the organisation honoured those who have throughout their career developed the concept of school librarians in Saskatchewan.

Before the evening began the Executive of this year's conference got together for a commemorative picture.

The supper was expected to be the highlight of the evening as many did not realise that the speaker of the evening is one of Canada's most recognised authors and Canadian cultural icon.

It is a difficult task to present a utensil-less meal in the fashion of the middle ages but the folks at the Saskatoon Travelodge gave it good shot with a plate sized piece of fresh bread, beef and barley soup followed by platters of pork ribs, potato, a whole chicken, vegetables and cobs of corn. It was interesting realise the the chicken and the pork ribs, the soup and bread would have graced a table long ago in Europe but tomatoes, potatoes, corn on the cob were all North American foods that did not appear in Europe until after the Renaissance. But particulars aside it was an outstanding meal.

Roch Carrier was introduced as the librarian of Canada's National Library in Ottawa as he was appointed to that position in 1999. The jovial and soft spoken man with his rural Quebec accent told of the things he has seen as the libraries have grown both in size and importance during his lifetime. He reminisced about the fact that as a child his school did not have a library and then told how the National Library got its start and has grown to the monster that it is today and how its service expands exponentially with acquisitions, interlibrary loans and now the enormous use by the Internet.

The voice though hard to hear for me was familiar and yet the message was one of encouragement and hope as he told teacher librarians when then set out on a project do not wait for a budget, or the other resources, if it is important "just do it" what you need will come.

Then he was give a copy of his book, the member of the Order of Canada took off his jacket, and began to chat about the circumstances that form the background to one of the most Canadian of all Canadian folk stories as he read and paused to embellish the story of his wonderful story "The Hockey Sweater."

Timothy W. Shire

Audio version of Hockey Sweater ad other Stories
Amazon listing for the book
Roch Carrier biography for National library of Canada


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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
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