Saturday, November 12, 2011

Chess in the Library Goes International!

When I founded this organization two and a half years ago, I hadn't the slightest idea that one day, this very program will be not only expanding to the rest of Canada but also to other countries. I clearly remember that my initial goal was to expand the CITL program to 30 Toronto Public Libraries and then to several other cities in Ontario. Once that seemed to be feasible (as of today, 17 Toronto Public Libraries have hosted this program), I dreamt of spreading the program to other chess popular (relatively speaking, haha)  provinces such as British Columbia and Quebec. When we went nation wide in Oct 2010 with a program in Victoria, B.C. (see blog post Officially a Nation Wide Program Now!), my goal was only to reach out to the other 11 provinces in this country and that is something we are still working on, even after the expansion to Calgary, Alberta.

It was approximately two months ago when Kellar Wendell, a librarian from the Washington D.C. Public Library system contacted us inquiring some advice on running the CITL program. After a long telephone conversation with Wendell, I found out that they only had 3 chess sets in the library and was currently doing a casual drop-in based chess club.

My first response was, "How do you run a chess club with ONLY 3 chess sets?". Wendell continued to tell me that like Toronto, the major of Washington D.C. implemented some budget cuts that not only inhibited the purchase of library materials (let alone chess sets...) but also limited the service hours to two nights a week. Evidently, in that situation, it is extremely difficult to run a prosperous chess program without outside support - and that's us!

The purpose of CITL is essentially to help promote chess, anywhere, any time, as long as there is a demand for the game. Any library that joins the CITL network is considered family and we will do everything we can to make sure that their CITL program becomes successful. Thus, I sent Wendell our CITL handbook and told him many of our success stories in Canada, including marketing strategies and such. I also sent his library 7 chess sets so they could have a capacity of 20 participants, which is the minimum for any CITL location in Toronto at least. Here is the info for our new CITL location:

Deanwood Library
1350 49th. St. N.E.
Washington, DC 20019
Phone Number: 202-698-1175Info: Open from 7pm-9pm on Fridays.

If you live in Washington D.C. and love playing chess, do come out and support the chess program at the Deanwood Library! :)

In only 2 years and 5 months, CITL made its first step into the international market in our neighbour country, the United States of America. This is truly a milestone for our organization as it really shows us that with our passion and drive for success, the sky is our limit. More importantly, it made me realize that even if I go to the States (or anywhere outside of Canada) for university, I can still continue running the program there. CITL will follow me wherever I go and maybe, just maybe, you see CITL in Europe, Asia and all the other continents of this unifying world.


  1. Congratulations, I love it when a plan comes together!

  2. Thank you Janet! We all miss you! :)