Friday, March 4, 2011

We'll miss you, May.

A mere four days before International Women's Day, we've lost a wonderful role model. Former Westmount mayor and founder of Tundra Books, May Cutler, has died.

By the time I began working at Westmount Library in 1998, May was no longer mayor, but she was a frequent visitor, honoured guest at events, and a regular Reference desk patron. I hope those who know May far better than me will forgive me my scant remembrances.

May was a force to be reckoned with, and she was never short of opinions! She was unfailingly charming and passionate about new ideas, of which she always had many: some of the things she inquired about when I was working Reference were so interesting that I had to read about them after she left, and many of her ideas were years ahead of the game. If memory serves me, she was one of the vocal advocates for the inclusion of a large children's department in the plans for the 1994-5 renovation of the Westmount Library; this department, as some of you well know, now flourishes as a a true home for imagination and a place of wonderful personal service (not to mention whimsical parties!)

At Tundra, of course, she worked with greats such as Carrier and Kurelek, C. J. Taylor and Bonnie Shemie, and she helped "discover" and support the work of Dayal Kaur Khalsa.

I only hope I'm on a six week trip to Antarctica at age 86. Well done, May!

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