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2012 Gray Campbell Distinguished Service Award Recipient Paul Whitney
April 2nd, 2012
Paul Whitney has had an illustrious career as a librarian and teacher but it is as a supporter of the writing and publishing community in BC that suggested him as a worthy recipient of the Gray Campbell Distinguished Service Award. During Paul’s tenure as City Librarian at the Vancouver Public Library, he engaged the publishing community through numerous channels demonstrating his deep commitment to the written word and the role the library, the publisher and the author play in enhancing our lives and creating civically engaged citizens.
These lofty goals are not just rhetoric in Paul’s case. Paul has been an active member of the consortium for the BC Books Online initiative, the Association of Book Publishers of BC’s project to see BC-published digital books in all libraries. His vast knowledge of public library issues, a savvy political sense and most importantly, an understanding of the importance of Canadian books in the intellectual and social life of British Columbians make him a valuable contributor to the discussions.
In addition to his support of BC publishers through his work on the BCBO governing body, he is or has been a board member for BC Book Prizes, The Vancouver International Writers’ Festival and BC BookWorld where he brings diplomatic pragmatism to these endeavours. Paul was active on the Public Lending Right executive for eight years and recently delivered a report to them on how authors may be compensated for their digital works through this body. In his “retirement” he continues to work nationally and internationally on the challenging issues relating to eBook availability in libraries.
Paul was also instrumental in the establishment of a Poet Laureate for Vancouver with funding from Yosef Wosk. Under the auspices of the Book and Periodical Council, Paul chaired the multi-sectoral committee that achieved consensus on the parallel importation regulations for books in the Copyright Act. As a sessional lecturer at the UBC graduate library school Paul introduced librarians-to-be to Canadian publishing and distribution. For 15 years he managed collections at Burnaby Public Library where he was a dedicated supporter of BC publishing in the most important way: i.e. buying a lot of books.
Paul Whitney is a book and art collector and an astute and engaged public servant. While some may not always agree with his position on copyright issues, he is a good friend to our industry. He will accept the Gray Campbell Distinguished Service Awards at the Association of Book Publishers of BC Awards Dinner, April 19th.
The Gray Campbell Distinguished Service Award is presented annually by the Association of Book Publishers of BC to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the book publishing industry in the province.
This award, which is named for pioneering publisher and founder of Gray’s Publishing, Gray Campbell, recognizes the importance of the many individuals who comprise the book industry; their energy and creativity are essential to the continued creation and dissemination of books that tell our stories.