Q&A with Kathie Laliberte, President of Friends of the Spirit River Library

BACK ROW, FROM LEFT: Hope Mazurek, Hollie Lillico, Bernadette Wlad and Denise Skoworodko. FRONT ROW, FROM LEFT: Tracy Skoworodko and Kathie Laliberte. Not in photo is Krystal Laliberte.

What was involved in starting up the Friends of the Spirit River Library?
Finding the volunteers that were willing to keep our library open and a lot of paperwork.

How many members do you have?
We have seven board members plus a few volunteers who are willing to help, but we are always looking for more.

Are you mainly a group for fundraising, or do you support the Spirit River Library in other ways too?
Our main focus is fundraising and promoting the library and its services.

It seems that libraries in larger communities have an easier time with things like fundraising. Is this a problem for smaller communities, or are rural library budgets smaller?
Fundraising in a small town is competitive, but we all get along and help each other out.

Do the Friends of the Library help out with other things like applying for grant money? What else do they help out with?
We are a newly formed society, and COVID-19 has affected that. We have plans we hope to fulfil.

It’s been said: “It is so important for you to listen as a small/rural public library director. Keeping your ear to the ground allows you to better understand the community you serve. By listening, you will be able to develop better programs and collections for the people that surround you. When you do this, there is nothing for your library to do but succeed.” Is part of your reason for being Friends of the Spirit River Library to be that ear in the community? How did the library manage this before your group?
The main reason is fundraising and program support, and we are not part of the Spirit River Library Board.

How did the COVID-19 pandemic impact your fundraising efforts?
We’ve struggled up to date. We hope to get up and running soon. We just finished a Miss Bliss fundraiser and have a raffle lined up for the fall.

What are some of the library needs your group would like to work towards?
Help with maintaining the library’s collection, keeping up with technology that the library needs plus programs for members.

What are some of the fundraising ideas you have planned for the remainder of the year that the community should watch for?
We take bottle donations and are having a raffle in the fall. We are just hoping COVID-19 doesn’t shut everything down.

Why is having a library in every community so important when anyone can access the Internet and Google things up?
With living in a rural area, a lot of people don’t have Internet access, and some of us still like a book to hold and a place to read to your kids.

You have the floor. What would you like to say to the community about Friends of the Spirit River Library?
Please support our libraries. We are a new society and are accepting members and volunteers.


  • Phone: (780) 864-0185
  • E-mail: friendsrlibrary@hotmail.com