The Ottawa Public Library (OPL) has honoured Lori Nash, long-time library advocate, secretary of the OPL Foundation Board and former President of the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library (FOPLA) by naming a meeting room at its Cumberland branch during a reception Wednesday March 23.
Nash became publicly involved with Ottawa’s libraries in 1991, when she began serving on the Cumberland Library Board. In 1996, she stepped down from the board to form the Friends of the Cumberland Library, serving as president until amalgamation in 2003. Nash would go on to join the FOPLA board of directors in 2005, and served as the organization’s president from 2007 to 2009.
FOPLA flourished under Nash, and the organization’s revenue doubled with her at the helm. FOPLA opened nine used bookstores in branches across the city. Nash was also instrumental in the publishing of Pot-Pourri, a compilation of stories featuring the winners of the annual Awesome Authors Youth Writing Contest, along with many other FOPLA initiatives.
“Lori’s contributions to the Friends have been immeasurable,” said FOPLA President Cindy Streefkerk. “Her leadership more than helped shape the organization into what it is today.”
Nash’s hard work and dedication hardly went unnoticed. In 2007, under Nash’s leadership, FOPLA received three awards for its accomplishments; the June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism in Ontario, the Brodart Advocacy Award from Friends of Canadian Libraries and the Baker & Taylor Community Service Award from Friends of the USA Libraries. Nash also received personal awards from the City of Ottawa, M.P Royal Galipeau , and the Queenswood Heights Community Association for this work.
What may be most rewarding for Nash is the way her colleagues regard her. “She is a very dedicated and enthusiastic woman,” said OPL Board Chair Jan Harder. “The OPL wouldn’t be what it is today without her.”
In addition to her work with FOPLA, Nash has been a driving force both in the library and in the community. In 2008 she became the Central Canada Director for Friends of Canadian Libraries (FOCAL), and joined the OPL Foundation’s board as corporate secretary after her retirement as president of FOPLA.
“[Nash] is a hard worker, a great leader, and a marvellous woman” OPL Foundation Chair Howard Whittaker said. “It’s been nothing but a pleasure to work with her ever since she joined the Foundation.”
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