CWLC President’s Report 2021

Presented at the Annual General Meeting of the CWLC by Robin Stanford, April 27th, 2021

The Calgary Women’s Literary Club turned 115 this year, and I’m delighted that we continue to thrive, despite the global pandemic. Today, I want to reflect on the amazing changes we’ve undergone this year. 

 Our transition to online meetings required extra effort by everyone and I thank all of you for your willingness try something new, and for finding a way to make it work.  Much of the credit for our success with Zoom must go to our Zoom Coordinator Moorea.  At times, family, friends, and the Geek squad also came to our aid in mastering this new technology.

We had an unusual start to the year, with a Zoom tutorial for our first meeting.    What hasn’t changed, are the high quality of the presentations and discussions.  We’ve enjoyed wonderful, literary adventures each week, a welcome respite from the dreariness of the pandemic.  We’ve also enjoyed excellent guest speakers, with Meg Braem reading from her outstanding new play “The Resurrectionists”, and today’s long awaited talk by Shaun Hunter on Calgary’s literary history. 

In some ways the technology opened new doors for us.  Guests from all over the world have tuned in to our meetings, and with encouragement from Doloris, several of our Honorary members have rejoined. Members have attended from the backyard, the cottage, or wherever they happened to be; and we’ve all enjoyed the glimpses into other homes and the occasional Zoom bomb by pets and family.

The Winter party this year was an online affair, of course.  Although the locale was maybe a little disappointing, the party was very enjoyable with a secret book exchange organized by Helen and a guest performance by soprano, Melissa Jackson. In another first, we held informal meetings in January and February, to renew acquaintances and break up the long, Covid winter.

The committee reports will cover most of the new happenings around the club. I’ll just mention that we recently upgraded our website software, and this March we had a record 592 views! We’re also starting our own digital archives.  Since our archive was moved to the Taylor Family Digital Library at the U of C, they have not accepted any of our new material.  Understandably, there is probably a huge backlog of material to digitize but there may also have been a change in philosophy with the new management.  We’ll sort it out, and in the meantime, keep our own digital archives.

Since our last AGM, Cecilia rejoined the Executive as a Member at large and Shawna transitioned into the Webmaster role, overlapping with Janet for part of the year, and now flying solo. Three of our Executive are changing roles at the end of this session.  We must thank Helen for being our Secretary, Sandra for managing the Program, and Janet H, for her lengthy term as Webmaster.  This club is very much a team effort and it’s been a pleasure working with our Executive Committee.  They’re a very creative and capable group.

Although much has changed this year, I think we remain true to our traditions as a club devoted to the study of literature, with presentations designed to enrich our reading repertoire and better acquaint us with a wide range of authors.  I look forward to next year’s Literary Club, and hope that we are once again able to meet in our cozy room in Memorial Park Library.