Picton Gazette

On Thursday evening of this week the staff of the library met to discuss the capital campaign supporting the Picton branch expansion.

I was thrilled to hear from Gisa, Evelyn and Leah that patrons across the county are excited and asking questions about the expansion. There is great interest and support in Picton, but it turns out not only here! It is gratifying to learn that library patrons throughout the county look forward to the benefits of a larger Picton branch.

This week I would like to introduce you to the honourary chairperson for the Picton Branch Expansion Fundraising Committee. Many of you will know Alexandra Bake. Alexandra and indeed her whole family have long taken a great interest and been strong supporters of the library. This is not surprising. Alexandra, growing up in Madrid, Spain tells the story of her mother founding a library at the local English school in order to provide English language reading material for the English speaking community in that city. At an early age she learned the Dewey Decimal System and never forgot it as later at school in England she volunteered in the school library.

Though Alexandra spent her childhood in Spain, she was enthralled by many of the same authors that we would have enjoyed in Canada. Her father spent many hours reading to his children favourite authors Kipling, Roahl Dahl, Arthur Ransome, and Kenneth Grahame. Alexandra remembers looking forward, on the occasions of every birthday and at Christmas to receiving books not available to her in Spain, from her grandmother in New Zealand – favourites the Milly Molly Mandy stories and “of course, Anne of Green Gables”.

Before settling into a career working in a graphic design and advertising agency that specialized in real estate development, Alexandra worked in England for the Antiquarian Booksellers Association. In that capacity she set up book Fairs and gained knowledge in the Antiquarian book trade. This interest eventually brought her to Prince Edward County to her own book store – Olivia and Co.

Alexandra says of her move to Picton: “My arrival in Picton allowed me to marry my life-long love of books with an equal passion for built heritage, downtown revitalization and ultimately a deep commitment to Picton, the small Ontario town that became my family’s adopted home after many years of wandering across the world”. She goes on to say of this community …”it is the generosity of spirit, strong sense of community and kind neighbours that allowed me to finally find a place where I felt that I could truly put down roots, belong and contribute.”

Contribute she has. Alexandra and her brother have tackled several restoration projects in Picton. The first was the Gilbert and Lighthall building. That project earned two heritage awards. This was followed by the restoration of the former Public Utilities Commission at 187 Main and the Edward Building, now a town landmark. The merging of Books on the Bay and Olivia and Co. in 2007 resulted in the transformation of the former Lipson’s Department Store into a vibrant hub, combining bookstore and café to create a desirable destination for all book and coffee lovers.

We are very grateful to Alexandra for agreeing to help the library to reach the financial goal that will allow us to double the size of the library. Well-read, a citizen of the world, a book devotee, a business woman, and someone with an appreciation for built heritage – in Alexandra I think we have the perfect champion for our project.

If you would like to help contact me by phone or e-mail (613-476-5962, bsweet@peclibrary.org).