The Rycroft Municipal Library has been in existence for more than 50 years. How did it get its start?
The Rycroft Municipal Library has been operating for 57 years. It all started with a presentation to the Village Council, 34 signatures on a petition and a small group of people who understood the value a library would add to the community of Rycroft.
What is the secret of its success?
The secret to keeping the Rycroft Municipal Library in operation is the donations from our supporters. The members of our board form the backbone of our library. They volunteer their time and knowledge to the library every day. The library is kept open year after year through their shared passion for knowledge and community.
The library is more than just about books. What other services do you offer?
We also offer services such as public computer and Internet use, printing and copying. Patrons can borrow materials such as books and audiobooks, magazines, movies or music through inter-library loaning via TRACpac or Relais. We also offer meeting spaces for small groups. Through the help of our resource room and South Peace Learning, we are able to run programs and events for families in the community as well as a Lending Library. Our ancestry corner assists individuals who would like to know more about where they come from. We are working towards having an Indigenous corner too.
Does the library offer accessible services? If so, what are they?
We are wheelchair-accessible and offer material for individuals who have visual, physical or learning disabilities through services such as CELA/CAEB (Centre for Equitable Library Access) and NNELS (National Network for Equitable Library Service).
On your website it says you are looking to develop a friends-of-the-library society. What is the library’s vision for the planned society?
Having a friends-of-the-library society in our corner would definitely open up doors and channels for the Rycroft Municipal Library in terms of donations and also enable us to offer more to the community. The more hands we have on board, the more programming and events we can do.
In your opinion, is it easier for a rural library to find ways to support the needs of the community than it is for libraries in a larger area?
I believe it depends on what the librarian and the library board are willing to do to connect with their community. You can serve your community more intimately if you are a part of that community and understand its needs, wants and passions. So, in a sense, I would say, yes, it is easier to get to know your patrons better when you are part of a small town. However, the Peace Library System (PLS) is an invaluable service to the communities. It allows smaller libraries, like the Rycroft Municipal Library, to access books and other materials throughout the Peace Region. Through PLS, the gap between these communities is bridged, and we almost become one large community through the sharing of our resources.
What are some of the volunteer positions at the library?
We rely on volunteers for assistance with fundraisers and programs. The most popular is the annual Get Out and Play program, which takes place in June. In November we have our annual Gingerbread House Building competition, which always draws a lot of attention. The more volunteers we have, the more fundraisers and family programs we can host.
One of the resources you offer is access to ancestry.ca. Is this a well-used resource? What are some of the other well-used resources the library offers?
Yes, it is a well-used resource. We have an Ancestry Committee at the library, which is run by our board members Steve and Connie Everitt. They have loads of knowledge and resources to support families with their searches.
What made you decide to have a career in a library?
I have loved libraries and reading since I was a little girl. For me, opening a book is like opening a portal to another world. My mother worked as a librarian when I was young. The time spent there after school planted a seed in my heart. So, when my husband and I moved here from South Africa, I said a little prayer that I wanted to do something different – something close to my heart. When the opportunity came around to work at the Rycroft Municipal Library, I knew I had to grab it with both hands. And I did!
How did you develop your love for reading, and do you have a favourite type of book?
My parents always read books and encouraged my brother and I to read. As I’ve said, I see books as an escape to another time or place. I love reading fiction and crime novels. My favourite authors include Stephen King, Francine Rivers and Nicholas Evans.
Is there anything you’d like to share that we have not covered?
We would like to inform all our patrons that the Rycroft Municipal Library is now officially open again. There is no need to make an appointment anymore. We can’t wait to see you all again.
- Location: 50 Street, Rycroft, AB T0H 3A0
- Phone: (780) 765-3973
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.rycroftlibrary.ab.ca