29 Sept., 1965
Dear Mr. Barnett:-
Six and a half years ago the long-established Association Library of Cobourg ceased to exist when the Town of Cobourg formally approved the establishment of a Public Library in the municipality. At that time the new Board was most fortunate in securing the services of Mr. G. P. Barnett to fill the office of Chief Librarian. He brought to the position a broad knowledge of librarianship, based not on the mere acquisition of the degree Bachelor of Library Science, but on the much wider field of knowledge acquired through extensive University study, widespread travel and voluminous reading.
To the position he also brought inspiration and enthusiasm coupled with tireless energy. He believed – and filled the Board with his belief – that the Library should be a cultural centre to which all could come to indulge their varying tastes – the children, the art enthusiast, the music lover, the antiquarian, the seeker after knowledge, even the avid reader of the Western and the Mystery. His energy was displayed in his application to the arduous task of re-organizing the collection and cataloguing the thousands of books in it.
In addition, however, to the mundane routine of daily operation of the Library he pursued the vision of a new building wherein there was no necessity for a Chief Librarian to perform his winter’s duties with feet wrapped in burlap in a cardboard box, his body swathed in a windbreaker beside the far from adequate heat of an electric element, his hand ready with blowtorch to thaw out frozen pipes. That vision finally became a fact in 1963 with the acquisition of the old Trinity Sunday School hall and its subsequent renovation to its present sparkling condition.
Let us turn from the chill and inadequacies of the third person and say to you personally and with feelings of deep gratitude that we of the Board thank you most sincerely for the time, the talents and the toil that you have put forth in setting up for Cobourg a library for which all its citizens can and should be justly proud. When we say ‘library’ we encompass it in its broadest sense for which you have striven so long, so wisely and so well – the art gallery, the music collection, the reference section, the museum display, the junior library and the general collection. For all this we thank you most sincerely, and, with this appreciation ngoes our regret that you have seen fit to leave our employment.
It is our earnest wish that the future may hold many good things in store for you. Wherever you may go, wherever you may be you may rest assured that the felicitations of the members of the Cobourg Public Library Board will accompany you.
In conclusion at this, our last meeting with you, we would ask you to accept the intimation that we extend to you an additional month’s salary as a token, inadequate as it is, of our appreciation of your services to the Cobourg Public Library.
Yours most sincerely,
Inn 1, Wicklow,
30th September 1965.
Mr. C. Gordon King, Chairman,
Cobourg Public Library Board,
400 George Street,
Dear Mr. Chairman,
Words have never come easily to me. I do not mean that I grope painfully for them under the stress of emotion nor anything else, but simply that the choosing of the right one is a labour.
And now the labour seems more oppressive than usual. Yesterday was the second occasion on which I have been taken by surprise; I cannot say either experience proved disagreeable. I think I felt, however, as a gatecrasher must feel who, with no qualifications and in farmyard clothes, has to act the part of an eminent guest. I wish I could say something witty and entirely relevant, but on Thursday I am as incapable of doing so as I was on Wednesday.
To you all I offer my thanks: I have nothing else to offer. At least there is no stint in the offering.
So in leaving I greet each one of you.