ABQLA/CLA/SLA Holiday Fundraiser for CODE

By Vincci Lui and Megan Fitzgibbons, with notes from Leticia Cuenca. Photos by Émilie Gagnon

The annual fundraiser for CODE, at least in recent years, has become synonymous with warm company on cold nights. For a few years running, the event closely followed Montreal’s first significant snowfall of the season. On December 8, a hearty and animated group of professionals and students in the Montreal library world gathered to celebrate the season, connect with colleagues, and most importantly, raise money for CODE.

Sponsored by ABQLA, the Canadian Library Association Montreal Chapter, and the Special Library Association Eastern Canada Chapter, the event offered attendees a lovely dinner provided by Pasta Casareccia as well as the chance to peruse wares offered by Paragraphe Bookstore, St. Columba House Library and Learning Center (a first-time participant), filament – Wire Jewellery, and Dix Mille Villages.


CODE representatives Trizana Parillo and Willy Rangira

Attendees were also pleased to welcome Trizana Parillo and Willy Rangira from CODE. They introduced the Reading Haiti Project, a comprehensive readership project designed to meet the needs of school children amidst the devastation in that country. Rangira described how CODE’s partnership with Université Caraïbe will contributes towards the restoration of Haitian children’s access to education, especially schooling offered in their Creole mother tongue. Some of the project’s initiatives include the training of elementary school teachers, supporting local artists and authors in the creation of culturally-relevant books, and helping orphaned children overcome trauma through the practice of bibliotherapy reading activities.

CODE was founded in 1959 with the humanitarian aim of promoting literacy and education in the developing world. Since 1995, the Montreal library associations' holiday fundraiser has contributed more than $40,000 to CODE, with over $160,000 in donations generated through other organizations which either match or leverage the initial contribution. The fundraisers’ donation is matched by Mark Galler, and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) leverages the donation by a ratio of 3:1.

Those who weren’t able to attend the event are invited to visit CODE’s website or join their Facebook page to find out more and contribute to their important work.

As always, the evening ended on an exciting note, with Master of Ceremonies Graham Lavender doing the honours of awarding the fabulous array of raffle prizes donated by a number of generous organizations.

Congratulations to the organizing committee:

  • Joanna Andrews
  • Rosemary Cochrane
  • Leticia Cuenca (chair)
  • Émilie Gagnon
  • Jessica Lange
  • Graham Lavender
  • Luigina Vileno

The efforts of volunteers from the associations’ student chapters were also much appreciated: Amber McNair (ABQLA), Nathan Guillotte (SLA), and Adam Baron (CLA).

The organizing committee also would like to thank ABQLA Secretary Cathy Maxwell for her excellent work with registration and accounting. But if there is anyone to thank, it is actually everyone who attends and supports this cause: they are the real stars.


CODE committee, L to R: Émilie Gagnon, Joanna Andrews, Luigina Vileno, Nathan Guillotte, Adam Baron, Rosemary Cochrane, Amber McNair, Graham Lavender, Leticia Cuenca, and Jessica Lange.