Known for her warm, welcoming disposition and bright smile, Annette Bright, Bookstore manager, is certainly suited to her surname. Having been at the U of L for 35 years now, Annette has literally grown up alongside the University. She’s helped countless students along the way and has no plans of stopping anytime soon.
“I grew up in Manitoba and would travel out to see family in Picture Butte once or twice a year. It was on one of these trips where I first saw the University of Lethbridge, this big, beautiful building with all of these shiny windows nestled in the coulees. I said to my sister, ‘I’m going to work there one day!’
“After I graduated high school, I was deciding whether or not to look for work around home or if I should move to Alberta and apply for a job at the U of L. Well, I packed up and headed out west where I think there were 12 jobs available at the University in the summer of 1981. I applied for almost all of them because I just wanted to work there so badly.
“I interviewed for an administrative position with the Chemistry Department but I couldn’t type fast enough to meet the demands of the job. Then I got a call from Rosemary Howard who asked me to interview for a position in the Library with the photocopy room. I must have done something right because I got the job and started right away. Being surrounded by all of those lovely books and meeting new people was so much fun and eventually I started to find other little odd tasks I could do as well as keep up with my regular duties. I started sorting and delivering mail which I just loved! Getting to visit with people all over the Library and learning more about what each department did. That led to my next position with the Serials Department working with the magazine subscriptions and index cards, as well as student employees.
“In 1989 I moved into the Bookstore as a textbook buyer and then eventually went on to the assistant manager position and then finally my position now as manager. I get so much joy out of seeing all of those new faces during NSO week as they trail into the Bookstore. It’s so exciting! When new and even returning students are unsure and a little nervous about where to go and who to ask for what, I love helping them in any way I can. I just tell them everything is going to be ok because they’re in safe hands with us and we love our students.
“My time at the U of L has flown by so quickly; it’s hard to believe this is my 35th year here. I used to be the same age as the students and now my own children are enrolled as students! My daughter Michelle is finishing up her first year in Arts & Science and my daughter Emily is in Grade 10 and making plans to attend the University to study education.
“My absolute favourite thing about working for this wonderful institution is the amount of change we get to be a part of. Whether it’s seeing the new science and academic building growing or new academic programming being planned, we are an important part of so many people’s lives because they are gaining the groundwork to their future here. I love getting to be a stepping stone in their journeys whether it’s in my role with the Bookstore or with the Supporting Our Students committee or just as a friendly face in the hallway. Their futures are truly brighter because of the work we all do and that’s just the best feeling there is.”