When I was first elected to city council nearly 17 years ago, I established a committee to explore sponsorship, naming rights and donation guidelines for our community. Two years later, working principally with Director Public Affairs and Communications Darryl Levine, Lisa Milner from our Public Library and Harold Cammy in Parks and Recreation, Council approved our recommendations.
Overall, the city has done very well in terms of event and program sponsorship over the years. For the most part, naming rights were relegated to park benches and lectures. Soon after last November’s election, someone in the community connected me with philanthropist Roslyn Margles. Over the course of many months, working with Director of Library Services Janine West, Treasurer Angelo Marino and Legal Counsel Andrea Charon, we reached an agreement which has resulted into the largest individual donation in city history: $500,000 to name the Bibliotheque des jeunes Max Margles Children’s Library. City Council approved the contract at our Monday, August 8, 2022 meeting.
Max Margles loved to read. He was an in-depth reader, seeking out well-written and engrossing books, relevant and meaningful. He kept two Rolodex files – one arranged by author, the other arranged by title. On these small cards, in his meticulous printing (he was a structural engineer), he summarized the nature of the book, the plot, and provided his eloquent assessment of the work. When Max died suddenly in 2004, his widow Roslyn looked for projects to endow in Max’s memory. Since the couple has no children, Roslyn carries on this mandate with vigour and pride. She established a Max Margles Endowment Fund at the Jewish Public Library in Montreal, sponsoring an annual lecture by outstanding literary authors. And the Quebec Writers Federation now has the Max Margles Writing Residency.
A resident of Côte Saint-Luc, Roslyn Margles has agreed to bestow this gift upon us in two parts: a $200,000 donation, and a $300,000 endowment fund to be created by the Jewish Community Foundation of Montreal.
We are absolutely thrilled to receive this donation. I have spoken to Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Councillor Lior Azerad, who has the sponsorship portfolio and indeed we hope that other members of the community will step forward as we have many other naming rights opportunities at the library and in other departments.
Donations such as this are intended to be used for items not in our regular budget.
So in this case, guidelines will include programming that encourages literacy, including but not limited to: Own Voices Literary Festival, Children’s Book Week activities and events, Public Libraries Week activities and event. As well, activity that promotes an annual writing or storytelling contest branded the Roslyn and Max Literacy Contest, with the co-operation of schools situated on the Côte Saint-Luc territory, and perhaps, involvement of local authors, a jury, prizes, etc. We have also discussed programming that encourages performing arts programs.
Pending Ms. Margles’ signature on our contract, we intend to unveil indoor and outdoor signage at a ceremony on Sunday morning. A celebration will take place on Sunday, September 18 in the newly named Children's Department from 10 am to Noon.
We are very excited.