Meet our 2022 - 2026 Library Board Trustees.
Sterling Lee (Board Chair and Regional Ward 2 Councillor)
I was taught at a very young age that the Library was my key to the world. For most of my youth, I would spend hours in the Library after my swimming lessons and be transported to the fantastic worlds of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. I’d solve crimes with Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys. I’d meet the fantastic characters of Roald Dahl and Stephen King. It was my love of reading that led me to take an interest in technology, politics, and ultimately pursue my degree in English Literature. I’ve always felt that no matter who you are, there’s a book in the library that’s destined to be read by you. In my case it was The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay.
The role of the Library has evolved; though it still provides the key to the world. Moving beyond traditional books, the Library has expanded its content to digital media and graphic novels. Rather than just a place to read, it has now become a hub for the community; providing original programming and key services to students, seniors and new immigrants. I am incredibly proud to sit on the Town of Ajax Library Board and I hope to make our Libraries as impactful as the libraries of my youth.
Sepelene Deonarine (Vice-Chair)
I sincerely am honored to be a member of the Ajax Public Library Board. I have been a member of our Ajax community since 1982, with outstanding voluntary contributions spanning many years. I was the Town of Ajax Civic Award recipient in 2016 which recognizes individuals outstanding contribution to the well-being of the community. 37 of those years have been as a Health Care Administrator and Community College Professor in Durham, eleven of those years directly in Ajax. Having been very fortunate to be involved in leadership roles throughout my career, I think those skills can be easily transferred to the Board of Trustee position to assist with the Library services strategic plans, long term goals and objectives. My love for the Library and the community togetherness has given me the opportunity to be an integral part of many Library services from an early age, learning, participating and volunteering locally and internationally.
I believe the Library is the hub of the community. It serves as a safe learning, engaging and gathering place for each community. Ajax has seen tremendous growth and continues to do so, the Library services are also expanding, in particular with our digitally and globally infused programs for all abilities. Given the growth of our Library services, I think is a very exciting time to be a Board Trustee. I am a wife, a very proud parent and grandparent, and take every opportunity to have family time, laugh, and smile, eat healthy, exercise, walk in the annual Princess Margaret One Walk, and lastly enjoy my favorite hobby, travelling the world!
I am truly honoured to be appointed to the Ajax Public Library Board. Having a lifelong passion for books and information I can undoubtedly say that our Library has been fundamental to my personal and professional development through the years. As an alumnus of the University of Toronto's Faculty of Information I had the pleasure of studying alongside an inspiring cohort of great librarians, observing firsthand their dedication to this critical social institution. I was involved in the Book History and Print Culture program and the Critical Making Lab, which allowed me to investigate and draw parallels between new and old ways of reading. This later led me to a fulfilling career in Information Technology. My work has appeared in various academic publications on topics such as book history, reading interfaces, and the future of the book.
I am an Information Technology leader with over 10 years of experience putting innovating technology solutions in the hands of end users. As the Library continues to evolve into an information hub, opportunities afforded by technology are ever-increasing and allow us to better serve the diverse needs of our community. I'm excited by the opportunity to leverage my academic and professional experience and contribute to the governance of the Ajax Public Library.
I am excited to have been elected a Member of the Ajax Public Library. My interest in serving on the Board stems from lifelong interest in literacy and social work, and the key role that the Public Library plays at the intersection of the two.
As a Senior Manager with Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation, I lead programming to increase road safety and enable the modernization and transformation of the transportation sector. I am also a Lean, Agile program delivery and project management leader, who has spent the last 20 years shaping the destiny of programs, policy, and products that make the world a better place. I have led multi-million-dollar initiatives and large cross-functional teams in the United States and India before making Canada my home.
I have a degree in History, Political Science, and Philosophy and am a certified Project Management professional. I’ve worked in communications and journalism, using my expertise to advocate for social justice, animal care, and conservation. I enjoy travel, write poetry, and am multilingual with native fluency in English, Hindi, and Bengali.
I am honoured and delighted to be named a Board Member of the Ajax Public Library. I was raised in the Town of Ajax and I have first-hand experience of seeing how the Library has developed over the years. I vividly remember taking trips to McLean and Main Branches during my days at St. Jude Catholic School and Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School. Most recently I have had a chance to build relationships with members in the community at various events at Audley Branch. I understand community members utilize the Library space in unique and subjective ways. I have always had a passion for the diverse community the Library brings together and the opportunity libraries have provide Ajax and the surrounding communities. The Library has grown over the years to be a much more inclusive and unique place and I could not think of a better time to be involved.
I began my career as a Barrister, Solicitor, and Notary Public, practicing in a general practice in the Greater Toronto Area. I have worked in Durham Region in community development, and am now employed as a Lawyer with a primary focus in poverty law. I am motivated and excited to see how I can utilize my skills and continue to shape the initiatives that the Ajax Public Library seeks to develop over the years to come.
I look forward to working with my fellow Library Board Members and the Library Management Team to accomplish strategic goals and fulfill Ajax Public Library's mission in our community.
I was raised in the beautiful Town of Ajax, and after being away for several years to attend school and begin my career, have returned here to raise my own family. From flipping through the card catalogue as a youngster, to baby singalongs as a new mother, to my child participating in the French reading programs, the Library has played a special role in every phase of life. I am so excited to serve as a Board member for the Ajax Public Library and be a part of one of the Town's most valuable public institutions.
I have been a practicing lawyer in Boston and Toronto for nearly 20 years. My professional experience as inhouse counsel for a large financial institution includes interpreting legislation and regulations; handling corporate secretarial matters; providing legal advice to committees; and being a trusted advisor to senior management in support of their business goals while minimizing risk to the organization. I look forward to being a part of the Ajax Public Library Board and working towards the achievement of the Library's important mission and the fulfillment of its objectives.
Pia Kaukoranta Vahabi
As a life-long enthusiast of books and libraries, it is an honour for me to serve as a member of the Ajax Public Library Board. I firmly believe that the Library is an indispensable cornerstone of our community.
Originally from Finland, I moved to Canada in 2007 and have called Ajax home since 2017. No matter where I've lived, the local library has always played a significant role in my life. As a child, and now as an adult, one of my favourite activities is browsing library shelves (physical or digital) in search of my next read.
I am consistently impressed by and grateful for Ajax Public Library's diverse offerings, including eBooks and online resources, the "Library of Things", and welcoming spaces and events. The Library's role in the community as a "third space" outside home and work is critical, ensuring inclusive opportunities for everyone to learn, read, connect with each other, attend events, access resources, or simply be.
I bring to the Board my background in environmental science and decade of experience in the nonprofit sector. I believe libraries play an increasingly vital role in society, and I look forward to supporting Ajax Public Library as the needs of our community continue to evolve.
I have spent much of my life as a journalist and have a genuine passion for literature. My love of books began as a child in northern Ontario when the public library’s book mobile would arrive, creating a frenzy among kids in the neighbourhood. As I moved around the country to develop my career, I always maintained an active relationship with the library in my community.
As a Métis woman, I love the Library’s role in an increasingly diverse community. I also respect and appreciate its desire to keep pace with user needs in an ever-changing world. It is an honour to be appointed a Trustee to the Ajax Public Library board and I am eager to serve our community.
I have been a resident of Ajax for over 44 years, married with three grown children, all using the Library during their school years. I have been an active volunteer in the community, including Big Brother Big Sisters of Ajax Pickering, United Way, and Lakeridge Ajax Pickering Hospital.
As a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA-CGA), I have worked in financial roles for over 49 years. My last 15 years was with the Ontario Hospital Association, a not-for-profit association of the 262 Ontario hospital sites, with the most recent role as Chief Financial Officer. Currently retired, I enjoy reading, woodcarving, and biking the Waterfront Trail.
I look forward to serving the second term as a Board member of the Ajax Public Library. I believe in the importance of the three Ajax Public Library sites, which serve the many unique needs and interests of our diversified community. Through my Board role, I will ensure the delivery of programs and services that reflect the long range goals and strategic objectives of the Library.