Dawber wins OLA Media Award
Nominated by the Rainy River Public Library Board, Michael Dawber is the winner of the Ontario Library Association’s Media and Communications Award.
This award was established to reward individuals and companies that present libraries and librarians in a constructive light, breaking down stereotypical images often associated with the profession. The award winner must have had coverage in Canadian magazines, newspapers and journals, be heard on Canadian radio stations, be viewed on Canadian television, or be on Canadian web sites.
From the Ottawa Valley to the Lake Huron shoreline to Lake of the Woods in the far Northwest, Michael Dawber has been telling the stories of rural Ontario libraries since 1998.
For five different public and special libraries in Ontario, Dawber has employed his natural, comfortable storytelling style to engage citizens with libraries. He has written nearly 100 library news columns for three different community newspapers—The North Frontenac News (Sharbot Lake, Ont.), The Lakeshore Advance (Grand Bend, Ont.), and the Rainy River Record (Rainy River, Ont.)—in support of the Kingston Frontenac, Huron County, and Rainy River public library systems respectively.
With good humour, and what one patron called a “breezy, chatty style,” Dawber has promoted every facet of rural libraries, from summer reading to CAP training, from storytime to teatime, from much-needed fundraising to award-winning projects. He has expanded the workings of libraries to the public—without jargon, in plain language.
Beyond his columns, he has regularly secured media for each of his libraries. He has even explored the history of local libraries, writing “The Lamps of Freedom: A History of the Zurich Library, 1919-2004” for that branch’s 85th anniversary.
Dawber made the leap to cyberspace in 2002, writing the complete content of the then-Zurich Branch Library website. Since 2010, he has been a weekly contributor to the Rainy River Public Library’s Facebook site. For more than two years, he wrote the library’s “Serendipity Shelf” Facebook feature, spotlighting a new item or current topic. The Rainy River Public Library’s Facebook content logged more than 37,000 daily impressions in 2013.
When not using words, Dawber’s photography also brings life to all aspects of the library’s communications program.
Dawber has a Bachelor of Journalism (High Hons.) from Carleton University. He completed the EXCEL program in 2001 and the advanced EXCEL program in 2012. He has been CEO at the Rainy River Public Library since March 2011.
Dawber’s communications work has shown that, despite very limited resources, rural libraries continue to thrive as vital hubs of community life in the 21st century.