For four years, ending last Friday, I served on the Access Copyright board and it felt like I was learning up a cliff, reading documents for which I should have had a law degree and voting on complex issues where every decision was both wrong and right for different reasons. Perhaps one of the hardest things to do was vote myself, and a number of my colleagues, off the island. The changes that occurred made it better for the organization to continue without us.
(When I used to come in for meetings at one Yonge Street, I would always see Captain John’s Dining Ship in the harbour. Perhaps it’s only fitting to mention it will be towed away soon, bankrupt and rusting)
Along the way I learned so much especially about handling change from the director Roanie Levy and the wonderful Access Copyright Staff. Their numbers had already been reduced by half when the schools and universities refused to pay for licensing. But their chins stay up as they keep looking to the future and welcoming new business models,
To commemorate our leaving we enjoyed a special night together where our board’s legal counsel, received an award and we officially renamed the Access Copyright Foundation Research Grant in her honour: The Marian Hebb Grant.
Then storyteller Corin Raymond performed “Bookworm” for us. This was an amazing tale of growing up surrounded by books and absorbing a father’s love for these stories. Corin kept referring to and reciting from his all-time favourite Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. (An ironic title when you think of what all may yet be in store for Access Copyright.) Corin told us how he reread this book periodically but that he also kept buying copies and giving them away. His very last copy he gave to his brother and after he did, that very day, he found a package in his mailbox with an autographed copy from the author who had heard about his devotion to the book.
What a perfect gift for the outgoing directors–a story celebrating the passion of pages. How lucky we are to love and treasure books and to have served to protect their creators.
Another more immediate takeaway from Corin Raymond’s telling was: Reread your favourite books. Savour and enjoy them with a second, a third or even a seasonal reading.
Now that I’m finished with my official job at Access Copyright, I am going to re-read some book on my shelves. After I finish reading Something Wicked this Way Comes, that is.