EPL Announces new Board of Trustee Members

Mansur Bitar, Rebecca Bock-Freeman and Shawna Vogel were appointed at a recent City Council meeting

For immediate release:

EDMONTON, AB, Friday, May 12, 2023 — The Edmonton Public Library (EPL) is pleased to announce the recent appointment of Mansur Bitar, Rebecca Bock-Freeman and Shawna Vogel to the EPL Board of Trustees.

As the Director, Energy Services at EPCOR Utilities Inc., Mansur Bitar has over 22 years of experience in engineering. With a proven track record of managing multidisciplinary teams in the successful delivery of various projects, Bitar’s work focuses on construction, risk management, as well as design and operations.

“I am excited and thankful to be appointed to the Edmonton Public Library Board,” said Mansur Bitar. “As a lifelong reader and passionate supporter of public libraries, I look forward to the opportunity to contribute towards the future of EPL.”

Rebecca Bock-Freeman, Manager of Academic Strategy at NorQuest College, joins the Board with over ten years of experience advising executives in post-secondary and government sectors. She leads collaborative, cross-disciplinary teams to transform the educational experiences of learners.

"I believe libraries are foundational to a democratic, open and inclusive society," said Rebecca Bock-Freeman. "It is an honour to serve on the EPL Board because my values align strongly with EPL’s mission and vision—to share expertise, information, enable lifelong learning and engagement for every Edmontonian."

Shawna Vogel, King’s Counsel, Institute of Corporate Directors, is a committed leader with extensive experience in strategy and oversight, governance and risk, having practised business law and participated in and led boards for over 35 years.

“I have been a lifelong user of the public library and I am excited to join the EPL Board of Trustees,” said Shawna Vogel. “In my view, libraries play a critical role in building community and are a fundamental tool in equalizing opportunity for knowledge, skill building and social engagement.”

The EPL Board consists of 10 trustees, including one member of City Council. Trustees are appointed by City Council and can serve a maximum of six years. In addition to governance, the EPL Board is responsible for advocating to ensure stakeholders understand and support Library initiatives. Other EPL Board responsibilities include CEO recruitment and performance evaluation, Board policy development, ensuring compliance with financial and legislative requirements, identifying and mitigating risks and, together with EPL’s Executive Team, establishing the Library’s strategic directions.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mansur, Rebecca and Shawna to the Board of Trustees,” said EPL Board Chair, Kenna Houncaren. “Their demonstrated passion combined with their many years of leadership experience will be tremendous assets to EPL. We look forward to working together and advancing EPL’s vision, mission and values.”


About the Edmonton Public Library
The Edmonton Public Library (EPL) is proud to be 2014 Library of the Year! We’ve come a long way since 1913 when books were all you could find on our shelves… and we’re just getting started! Today, EPL carries everything you care about. We are Edmonton’s largest lender of all manner of information and entertainment. Our professionally trained staff take you beyond Google with the knowledge, discernment and desire to help you navigate a universe of information. The second most visited place in Edmonton, every year EPL hosts over 15.4 million in branch and online visits across our 21 branches and website. We deliver our incredible content to you everywhere – in the library, at home or on your handheld device. Unmatched access and unrivalled value – that is today’s EPL. EPL is a registered charity and relies on donations to enhance services. Spread the words. www.epl.ca/give

Media Contact:
Marina Afonso, Communications Specialist, Edmonton Public Library
Marina.afonso@epl.ca | 780.819.4337