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  • Bringing the community together through story

    Bringing the community together nevah islam vertical photo

    Nevaeh Islam, 4, enjoys playing outside during the 10-year Anniversary Round-up Picnic at the Chestermere Public Library on Aug. 31. The Chestermere Public Library has been hosting a variety of community wide events throughout the year, and wanted to ensure the second to last event was for the children in the community. Photo by Emily Rogers

    Throughout the year, the Chestermere Public Library has been hosting a variety of community wide events to celebrate the 10-year anniversary summer.
    On Aug. 31, families came to the Chestermere Public Library to show their support by participating in the 10-year Anniversary Summer Round-Up Picnic.
    “We wanted to make it something for the children, to get them involved,” said Chair of the Library Board Marilyn King.
    “We’ve had events for adults, and teens, there’s been all kinds of events that involved the community,” King added, “We wanted to finish it with a picnic for the children.”
    Throughout the afternoon families enjoyed a variety of activities including story time, games, snacks, therapy dogs, face painting, and being ticketed by Chestermere RCMP for showing positive behaviour.
    “It really is a vibrant part of the community. That’s what the community is all about,” King said.
    “I was talking about this earlier, the library has so much soul, so much community involvement. It’s brilliant,” King added, “There’s a lot of people in this community who want to get involved with things. People want to come to where there are people.”
    King added, recent high school graduates from Edmonton Alta., were stopping at each library on their hitch hiking route to Ontario, came into the Chestermere Public Library and said it was the most welcoming library when had gone to so far.
    “It’s really cool. What we’re finding is that libraries bring people together,” she added.
    Vice President of Chestermere Library Foundation Maxine McKellar said she was quite pleased with how many residents came out to the Round-up Picnic.
    “It draws people together of all ages, ethnicities, the library has always been a gathering place for the community. It’s the soul of the community,” McKellar added, “I really feel events like this are paramount in keeping our library going, our community going and drawing people together.”
    McKellar added, “You walk into the library, and the staff, everyone is talking and discussing. There’s an energy, you feel welcome.”
    Chestermere residents realize how important the library is, McKellar said, the library is a safe, healthy, and fun place to come and enjoy an afternoon.
    “When you walk in it’s like a big hug. I think people sense that, and feel that, and want to come back,” she said.
    Although the Chestermere Public Library is a place that residents know and care about, building the library 10 years ago came with many trials and tribulations.
    It took the new Library Board and Library Foundation seven years to convince council building a library in Chestermere was needed, to fundraise, and to conduct numerous books sales, McKellar said.
    “When we started out it was all up to the Library Board and the Library Foundation to spearhead it, because the council at the time didn’t think it was a necessity,” McKellar added.
    “Right now, the future of the library is we’re bursting at the seams. Over 55 per cent of our population has a library card,” King said.
    “We need to grow. Council is working on our behalf to tell us what our succession plan is. Council now is very supportive. They are on our side, they get it, they understand the community involvement,” King added, “We will not be here for the next 10 years that’s for sure.”
    “I’m really pleased our library is so successful,” McKellar added, “When this dream came to fruition 10 years ago I remember when we were putting the books in I just started crying because it really hit me that its really happening, and 10 years later it’s bursting at the seams.
    “It’s so heart-warming and it just makes all the hard work and all the tears that we went through to get it built worth it,” McKellar said.