With just about half the population of Chestermere holding a library card, 2017 was a busy year for Chestermere’s Public Library.
The year started out with the dedication of the self-checkout kiosk, helping to streamline the process to check out a book at the library while freeing up staff at the front desk to help patrons.
“Almost 5000 items have been checked out on the self-check over the year,” said Library Deputy Director Cathy Burness.
From there, the library kicked into high gear as a hub of the community.
The library hosted a book launch, competed in the Read for 15 challenge, hosted seniors week activities, had a farmers market through the summer and hosted dozens of community events.
Some of the most popular events included the Star Wars Reads, Phantom’s Lair fundraiser, Belle’s Tea, and Harry Potter book night.
“It was a big hit,” said Burness.
“People love Harry Potter,” she said.
Burness and Webber said that based on the community’s response, Belle’s Tea was the most popular event they have ever held.
“It was absolutely amazing,” said Burness, “it was one of my favourite things that we’ve ever done.”
“I think it’s pretty much the community’s favourite thing we’ve ever done,” said Weber.
With this success, Belle’s tea will be an annual event going forward.
Brand new this year and a close second for most popular event was the brand-new Phantom’s Lair musical adults only fundraiser held in October.
“It was a huge success,” said Burness, “Everyone who was here raved about it.”
While they will choose a different musical, Weber said that they will definitely be having another musical fundraiser in 2018.
With the number and variety of events held at the library, one of their biggest challenges is balancing the size and disruption of the events with the quite that some regular users are looking for.
“People really want a quiet place and we can’t give that to them,” said Library Director Debbi Weber.
“People want a place that they can be loud in we can give that to them sort of,” she said, “it’s the space challenge.”
To help find this balance, Weber said that they will be instituting some set study quiet times at the Library this year.
The library has also started a community survey and needs assessment so that they can create a strategic plan for the future that will match what the community wants from their local library.
“Once we have the idea we can start working towards it,” said Weber.