For Peter Cutting, giving is a “great way of life.”

As a long-time Library user, Peter hadn’t considered volunteering his time to the organization until a familiar librarian at the Village Square Library suggested he’d be perfect for the job.

In 2000, he started volunteering as an adult literacy coach, working one-on-one with students who were seeking to improve their reading and writing skills. Peter was “humbled by the experience,” of learners improving their literacy skills.

Once, Peter invited one of his learners to bake muffins. While he had the instructions printed so that they could check them as many times as needed, his learner only read them once because he memorized the whole procedure. Peter was amazed at his student’s ability to retain information.

In 2003, he became a member of the Library’s board for one year. This role gave Peter a greater understanding of how the Library is funded, and in turn, how it provides meaningful programs and activities for Calgarians.

“If I hadn’t had this experience on the board, I wouldn’t have realized how central the library is for Calgary. So many people benefit from it,” he notes.

In 2012, he took an opportunity that is still giving him joy today: the TD Read With Me program. This volunteer activity allows him to work with children to improve their reading abilities. When Peter started working with his current student, he was at a Grade 3 level, and has now started reading at a Grade 5 level—catching up with the advanced readers in his class. Peter notes, “I really get re-charged when I see how bright young minds work.”

While Peter does not have children of his own, working with the students in the TD Read with Me program, “feels like being with my own kids.”

Peter has seen firsthand the progress that people can make when given the opportunity, which motivated him to start making a monthly donation to the Calgary Public Library Foundation in 2014.

His connection to the Library and experiences as a volunteer also led him to make an important decision—naming the Library as a beneficiary in his will.

“My father was a missionary doctor, so I grew up in an environment of giving to others.”

Peter is certain that the Calgary Public Library is a very important part of life in Calgary. Directly or indirectly, people receive benefits from it, and through his charitable donations and his efforts as a volunteer, he hopes his influence will live on.

Story by Alicia Barreto Jaime

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