Volunteers of the Year

The Friends of the Thunder Bay Public Library has the best volunteers! Each year at the AGM we recognize a volunteer who has shown incredible commitment to the Friends.


Rose-Helene Tremblay, Presented by Kathie Johnson

Back in October of 2016 Rose-Helene submitted an application to join the Friends.

It didn’t take long for Rose-Helene to become familiar with the Used Bookstore and she was helping out at sales and whenever needed. In January of 2017 she and Judy Brown were on duty for the Tuesday morning shifts.

I can’t recall a special sale or event that required extra hands on deck where she wasn’t present and helpful in her quiet unassuming way. Rose-Helene also demonstrated her engagement with and commitment to the Friends by showing up at the Annual General Meetings and Christmas socials regularly.

Most of all though, Rose-Helene deserves this award for all of the time and energy that she has devoted to our responsibilities with the Superior Shores Gaming Association. Shortly after joining the friends she took the mandatory training and volunteered at her first bingo on December 9, 2016.

She quickly became one of our core members of the “bingo squad” and worked shifts at nine of our assigned twelve bingos every year in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Rose-Helene attended the Volunteer Appreciation Drop In with Fran and I on April 28, 2018 where we were served refreshments and given some S.S.G.A. swag. She also met up with us at the Volunteer Recognition Event on the evening of December 3, 2019 which qualified our group for a “participation requirement”.

We all know what happened in 2020…Rose-Helene worked at two of our three bingos before the hall was closed on March 17th, the same day that a Friends and Family event had been planned before Covid entered the picture. After several openings and closings and limited capacity, we resumed a regular schedule in April 2022.

During the permit year 2022/2023 Rose-Helene was on the floor working shifts for seven of our twelve bingos.
Frankly, I don’t know what I would have done without her as we need two volunteers on shift at all times and she is one of several that I can count on and for that I salute her today. Congratulations and thank you Rose-Helene.

Gary Barney, Presented by Fran Duke

Gary is a long time, dedicated volunteer who has been with the Friends of the Library for decades.

Gary started with home book deliveries many years ago and he enjoyed meeting all of the people that he delivered books to on a monthly basis.

Gary is now volunteering at regularly at the bookstore – working 2 shifts a week and volunteering for all of the special book sales as well. He is a great ambassador for the Friends – he greets many customers by name and loves chatting with them, and helping customers find books.


Peggy Derkacz & Natalie (Neddie) Diakunchak

The “Dynamic Duo” of Peggy and Neddie were honoured as the 2021 Volunteers of the Year.

Both are long time members of the Friends organization and have been consistent in their dedication to the activities of the group.

For many years now, Peggy and Neddie have staffed the Wednesday morning shift at the Southside Book Nook in Victoriaville. They have attracted a regular customer base who come to the store that day specifically to see them, which speaks to their welcoming personalities and commitment to the Friends’ objectives. They also both willingly volunteer at our special sales and make great effort to ensure that they are successful.

In addition to the Book Nook, both have been “Bona Fide” volunteers at Superior Shores Gaming Association, with Peggy being one of our core group this year. The funds from gaming are crucial to the Friends in meeting our fundraising goals, especially during the Covid shutdowns, and we greatly appreciate their efforts, past and present.

Congratulations to Peggy and Neddie on your well deserved recognition.


Diane Piovesana, Presented virtually by Kathie Johnson

Diane Piovesana joined the Friends back in the spring of 2015 as an avid reader and book club member who wanted to volunteer in the Used Bookstore, specifically to organize the books in the fiction section alphabetically. Little did we know how much more she was willing to take on, and her enthusiasm extended to her friends who also joined our group and our regular volunteers who were energized by the new direction.

Before long, the entire bookstore was reconfigured by subject matter and the backroom was set up with a system to sort and replenish the stock on the shelves. We had a Communications Log and Procedures Manual to share information with all of the volunteers and the store never looked better.

Diane’s special talents shine through when she’s conjuring up ways to attract customers and new members and some of her major successes were:

  • Dream Travel Raffle, Dec. 2016 to draw date Feb. 2017
  • PoP uP Clean Sweep sale at County Fair on Family Literacy Day Jan. 2017
  • Canada Reads, March 2017
  • Hilltop Book Nook at Waverley, Sept. 2017
  • Giller Awards Tea Party, Nov. 2017
  • Books FROM the Community with local authors, Waverley, Mar. 2018, MJLB, Nov. 2018
  • Chapters Read Local Event, Aug. 2018
  • Fifty Cent Fiction Fair during the Spring Arts, Crafts, & Vendors event at Victoriaville, May 2019
  • Spooktacular Buck-a-Bag sale, October 2019
  • Gifting With Books during the Christmas Arts, Crafts, & Vendors event, Dec. 2019

Let’s not forget the ‘Reading Lasts a Lifetime’ pocket calendars and her presence (along with granddaughter Maria) at the City Hall Sounds lunch hour concerts in August 2019 where they handed out ballots for people to win $5 gift certificates for the bookstore.

Diane’s tenacity during some difficult times and her energy and commitment to the Friends over these past years have made us all the better and we salute her today.

Congratulations and thank you for your hard work and dedication, Diane!


Janice and Randy Creighton, Presented by Kathie Johnson


Fran Duke, Presented by Kathie Johnson

Congratulations on your outstanding dedication to the Friends of the Library!