A Passion For Books

As a Book Market Volunteer for more than 27 years, Truus Oliver is fuelled by both love and gratitude.

“I have always loved literature, and I’m very thankful for my life,” says Truus. “I have met some very wonderful people because of the Book Market. I love it and I hope I can keep being a part of it for years to come.”

Originally from the Netherlands, Truus came to Canada in 1951 and Manitoba in 1952. A friend at the University of Manitoba introduced her to the University Library System and soon began a 37 year career working in libraries. After retiring in 1989, it made sense that Truus begin volunteering in a spot surrounded by books.

“I had a lovely lady in my building, Louise Brown, and she knew my interests,” remembers Truus. “When I retired she asked me if would like to come and volunteer for the Children’s Hospital Book Market. I said yes, and Louise and I helped out every Wednesday.”

Truus is well versed in all kinds of books. Her husband Kent Davidson Oliver, who passed away in 1984, had been the main librarian for Agriculture Canada in Manitoba.

“I began to volunteer a few years after my husband’s passing,” says Truus. “It helped me to keep going and gave me something to look forward to. I particularly love pricing books. I can share the knowledge that I’ve picked up from my husband, as well as my understanding of European books.”

At almost 87 years of age, this remarkable lady continues to spend every Wednesday at the Manitoba Archives building pricing books for the Book Market. It’s a gesture that gives back in abundance.

“Volunteering has been a real blessing for me,” says Truus. “I came to Canada when I was 21, so I have no childhood friends.  As you get older the people you connected with through work fall away, so volunteering allows me to reach out to the world around me. It keeps my mind active and I just love the atmosphere.”

Much smaller when she first began, Truus has experienced remarkable expansion of the Book Market, which she hopes future volunteers will embrace and continue.

“I dearly hope that the younger generations will love books enough to keep things like the Book Market going,” says Truus. “These days everyone seems to read on their IPad. Nothing compares to actual books, and volunteering is so important. If you can help us, we can always use more help.”

As long as she is able, Truus will do her part to keep the Book Market up and running. It is a genuine labour of love.

“I am very thankful to live in Canada,” says Truus. “We have so much peace and there are many places that don’t have any. Having gone through the Second World War I truly know what it means to be free and to be safe. Life is very precious, and I am happy to give back.”

Bear hugs to Truus for 27 years of helping make the Book Market a huge success.

If you would like to follow in Truus’ footsteps, click here to learn about the many different ways you can volunteer.