why my library matters to me: win lunch and a walking tour with atwood or ondaatje

Some of you may have recently received this somewhat cryptic email from Maureen O’Reilly of the campaign to save Toronto Public Library.
In a few days, I will be announcing an exciting new contest called My Library Matters to Me. . . . Some of the biggest names on the Canadian literary scene are involved.

Famous novelists and story tellers are stepping up to defend the Toronto Public Library, donating their time to raise awareness of the great importance of our libraries and to stimulate public discussion on this vital issue.

Each author will take a group of contest winners on a tour of some of the locations in Toronto that are set in their books or have other literary significance, followed by lunch at their fave restaurant.

Imagine. You could spend a few hours strolling and chatting over lunch with a celebrated author about their latest work!

For a chance to win, you must submit to www.OurPublicLibrary.to/contest a short written statement on the topic of “Why My Library Matters to Me”. We are also accepting short videos on the same topic. There’s even a chance for children 12 years and under to participate by sending in a drawn picture or a short written essay.

There will be 50 winners!
Today the unnamed "celebrated authors" were announced. The two biggest names on the list may be no surprise, but it's an exciting contest. I'm imagining an In the Skin of a Lion walking tour with Michael Ondaatje. Very cool.
A hang-out session with Margaret Atwood or lunch with Michael Ondaatje are among the prizes in a new contest spearheaded by library supporters in Toronto.

A group of activists opposing proposed branch closures, service and program reductions for Toronto's library system — among a host of auditor-recommended cost-cutting measures for the city — joined a host of acclaimed writers in Toronto Thursday morning to announce details of the contest.

Prize-winning authors Atwood, Ondaatje, Vincent Lam, Linwood Barclay, and Susan Swan are just a few of the literary celebrities who are calling on the public to submit short essays and videos on the theme of "Why My Library Matters to Me." The competition is also open to children, who may submit drawings or short written pieces.

"The position that libraries hold in the hearts of people really cannot be overestimated," Atwood told CBC News.

"Messages were pouring in from all over the country and from other countries. People really got into it, not just via the [online] petition, but through story-sharing on Twitter and blog-sharing."

The contest was inspired in part by this sharing — Atwood said her Twitter account was flooded with people sharing "little, 140-character stories" about what libraries meant to them.

Altogether, 50 winners will be chosen to join one of the participating writers on a tour of Toronto sites that have inspired his or her work (or that have particular literary significance), followed by lunch with the author at a local restaurant.
This is a great opportunity to articulate your connection with the public library. It's also a stirring and brilliant example of creative library advocacy.

You can submit a written essay or a video, and kids can submit either writing or drawings in their own categories. Contest rules are here; submissions close on Sept 9 at 5:00 Eastern. Good luck!

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