Vulcan, Carmangay libraries receive READ award

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Vulcan’s and Carmangay’s libraries have each won a Rewards for Excellence and Distinction (READ) award from the Chinook Arch Regional Library System.

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This year, southern Alberta libraries were asked to share their COVID-19 story with the Chinook Arch Marketing and Communications Committee.

Three of the stories, including the one shared by Vulcan’s library, received a $500 award, and four, including the one shared by Carmangay’s library, received $200.

The READ Awards were handed out on April 29 during the Chinook Arch 30th anniversary celebration.

The committee was “amazed by the innovation and compassion” of the libraries who received READ awards, reads a Chinook Arch news release.

“Libraries play a vital role within their communities,” reads the Chinook Arch news release. “This became even more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic, with libraries providing many services, including sharing trustworthy information, access to online resources, creating at-home activity kits, and so much more.”

The Vulcan Municipal Library was recognized for “heartfelt, personalized service.”

Connie Clement, the library’s manager, shared the following story with Chinook Arch.

“Vulcan is at least 60 per cent senior population, with many living in senior-oriented facilities. At different times, when confirmed COVID numbers were high in these residences, they were forced to go into lockdown. Fortunately, the administrators of these locations allowed me to deliver to their main doors.

“For the 2021 Valentine season activities, I brought my soap-making ingredients and showed the students at the Wild Rose Hutterite Colony how to make soap. These students enjoyed making soap for themselves and as gifts. I explained to them that I wanted to surprise six seniors I knew in the community with a Valentine gift and asked them if they would make me six cards and some soap for them. I then delivered the bags to my special library friends as a surprise.

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“One gentleman called me that afternoon and thanked me. Then the next day he called me again to thank me. I told him he was very kind but that he had already done so the day before. I recently found out that this gentleman had passed away. I will miss seeing the Canadian flag that he had on the back of his new scooter. Most of all I will really miss our chats…

“I also have a special lady who is in the hospital in long-term care. I purchased a small notebook so that we could write notes to each other every week as we exchange the library items she borrows. Well … she called me up at the library the following Monday after the usual delivery. She had opened her Valentine gift bag that morning. She went on to tell me that when she opened the soap gift, she thought it was candy and took a bite. She couldn’t stop laughing as she was telling me her story.”

Clement said it’s wonderful that Chinook Arch gives its member libraries an opportunity to share what they’re doing.

“When asked to create a story it made me think a little deeper about what we are doing and also what more we can do,” she said. “This money will go back into programming, whether in-house or more outreach.”

The Carmangay and District Municipal Library was recognized for “plucky perseverance” during COVID-19.

The library shared the following story with Chinook Arch.

“Many virtual programs were offered throughout 2021, but none were more popular than the Winter Wellness Series. Each week focused on a different aspect of health: physical health, nutrition, mental health, and social health.

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“The library partnered with a local caterer to offer virtual cooking class that promoted healthy eating and home cooking. Participants received free meal kits with all of the ingredients for up to four portions and attended a virtual class. Over 27 individual families participated multiple times.

“This class was so popular that it has continued, sponsored by the local Lions Club!

“Children’s programming couldn’t take place, so the library sent programming to their homes. Activity packs were created with supplies for four crafts and activities, as well as colouring pages, printable games, and other goodies. The local post office distributed these packages to local families.”

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