Spruce Grove library keeps hauling in the hardware

Library staff and board members at the Alberta Library Conference in 2015 received the Minister’s award for Excellence in Library Service for the library’s innovation lab and makerspace program. Don’t know what a makerspace program is? Stop in at the library and check it out.

By Alderman Wayne Rothe

Spruce Grove, if you didn’t already know, has one of the best libraries in Alberta. My wife and I have been regular users for decades, but don’t take our word for it.

The Spruce Grove Public Library (SGPL) is the only library in the province and one of only two in Western Canada to receive national recognition for excellence for its summer reading program. The 2017 TD Summer Reading Club had more than 1,200 participants, up from 867 in 2016.

In a news release, the SGPL says the number of participants puts the library on track to become Canada’s No. 1 summer library. That’s a remarkable achievement for a library in a small city of 35,000 residents and an impressive statement showing what the library is able to achieve with such limited financial resources and space.

Libraries used to be a place mostly for printed materials – including books, magazines, and newspapers. Now they provide a vast array of services such as computers, online materials, meeting rooms, supervised examinations and the acclaimed innovation lab. In 2016 there were over 95,000 virtual users. Libraries have certainly evolved.

At the Alberta Library Conference in Jasper in 2015 the SGPL received the Minister’s award for Excellence in Library Service for its Innovation Lab, and its makerspace program. The futuristic, experimental makerspace lab allows patrons to take a virtual trip to Iceland, program a robot, create an electrical design for door bells, edit original songs, and use a typewriter. It’s a place where creative and professional curiosities collide.

But if you think that all is well at the library, think again.

Grant Crawford, library board chairman, used the event to announce the needs assessment that the board is undertaking to determine how best to satisfy both the need for more space at an overcrowded library and to allow for the programs and activities identified by the community. Calling the library “the community’s living room,” he said many services are stressed due to a lack of space in one of the fastest growing communities in Alberta.

Grant invited patrons to tell the library board and management what the library of the future should be. They can do so by completing one of the cards that are available at the library. “This is your library,” he said. “Make sure it meets your needs.”

If you haven’t done so lately, please check out your library. Membership is free and the staff are outstanding.

The library will host an election candidates’ forum Sept. 26. The topic is library and cultural services.

Who says librarians aren’t a fun-loving bunch? That’s me with (l-r) Karen, my wife, and the library’s Leanne Myggland-Carter, marketing and fund development manager, and Tammy Svenningsen, library director. It’s also from the 2015 library conference.

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