By Cole Parkinson
Southern Alberta Newspapers
After Alberta opened fully on July 1, many kids breathed a sigh of relief as they were able to get back out and do normal activities.
In Bow Island, many kids have been taking advantage of the library’s summer reading program, which sees kids participate in several different activities throughout the summer months.
“It’s really fun. It’s usually around an hour a day, either in the morning or in the afternoon depending on the weather. What we do is we read some books, do some crafts, play some games, and it’s all really fun stuff. It’s all age-appropriate for the kids. If there’s a six-year-old amongst 13-year-olds, of course, I will age-appropriate (the activity) for the six-year-old or they can challenge themselves to do the 13-year-old craft. But really, they come, play some games usually at the library because of the heat,” explained Kaylee Ostenberg with the Bow Island Public Library.
With the summer reaching August, the library has continued to see a steady stream of kids come into their facility for the program.
“It’s August already, that’s crazy. But it’s been really good. It’s actually way better than I expected it to be. It’s not that I had any doubts at the beginning but the kids are so excited to come here and they don’t want to leave. It’s been really fun and all of the kids are great,” continued Ostenberg. “Two weeks ago we put out a notice we couldn’t accept anymore. We were only going to do 10 kids a day because when we started, there were still regulations. But once that stopped, we decided to do 15 kids a day, which means I have 12 to 15 kids per day for the club.”
Across the entire community, people have been able to get back to their normal reading routines, which includes visits to the public library.
While some are fully digital, many have been able to get back into the library for the first time in months.
On top of the summer reading program, the library staff is happy to welcome the community back into the building.
“What I’ve seen here at the library is it’s been very hit and miss. There are people who come in who want to wear a mask and people ask ‘what are your regulations here’ but for the library, I think most people are happy to be back. I think they’re happy to be able to come in and socialize with other people in the library and ask questions about new books because not all of our patrons are digital. So, it’s really helpful when people who aren’t digital can come into the library,” added Ostenberg. “For the summer reading program, I don’t know if the children understood too much of it, and I mean COVID was a pretty hard concept for anyone to wrap their head around. But mostly for the kids, I think they were super excited to get back to an almost normal summer of going to camps and being able to go to the library or go for a walk with their friends. My biggest fear was we wouldn’t get many kids because parents would have a fear, which is totally normal. But we actually maxed out, which I was very excited about.”