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Redcliff Public Library has a lot to offer

Posted on April 18, 2024 by Ryan Dahlman

By Heather Cameron
Commentator/Courier

The Redcliff Centennial Library has been a presence in southern Alberta for a long time.

According to Tracy Laturnus, Manager of Redcliff Public Library, the Redcliff Public Library originally opened in 1967 as a centennial project, then moved to its current location in 1982, changing its name to the Redcliff Public Library. In 2008, Laturnus says, there was a major renovation to the inside of the library that greatly improved the interior and made it the welcoming space that it is today. 

In the late 1980’s, Laturnus says, the Redcliff Public Library became a member of the Shortgrass Library System, which means they supply patrons with items from across southeastern Alberta, and they are also a part of Alberta Relais, bringing a delivery of requested items from across the province to local Redcliff Library patrons. Patrons, Laturnus says, can also use their Redcliff Public Library card at other libraries across the province when traveling.

“Since opening, we have built a fantastic foundation of community here,” said Laturnus.

The Redcliff Public Library, Laturnus says, partners with other local organizations including the Redcliff Lions, Redcliff Lionettes, Community Foundation of Southeastern Alberta, and All Nations Optimist Club to create meaningful programming such as bike lending, LEGO at the Library, and most recently, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Laturnus says that other partnerships the library has include AHS Dental, Bridges Family Programs, Tiny Tots Preschool, local schools, and a local St. John’s First Aid instructor that enables the library to offer certification classes several times a year.

Laturnus says that the library also works with the Redcliff Girl Guides, I.F. Cox School, Margaret Wooding School, and Tiny Tots Preschool for programming and assisting the youngest members of the community to become lifelong learners and getting them their first library cards. Also, Laturnus adds, without a Service Canada office here in Redcliff, the library assists members of the community with government forms and directs them to organizations that could best help them if they are unable to be of assistance personally. 

“One misconception is that libraries just loan out books and movies, but we are so much more than that,” said Laturnus. “Our in-house traffic stats are always increasing (annually approximately 25,000 people come through our door every year), our programs are constantly reaching capacity, we offer free public access computers, services such as printing, photocopies, laminating, faxing, scan to email, and more. One example is the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program we are offering until the end of April, which has more than doubled in usage over past years. Libraries have become the hub of the community, especially in smaller centers where formal offices of services do not exist. We are expected to be able to assist in situations that no other community service can deliver on. Most often we are successful because we connect with other organizations and hold information that is valuable to residents as they need it. Working in the information field is so rewarding when you know that you have successfully helped an individual or family on their quest for services, regardless of barriers.”

Laturnus says that residents within the community are continuing to realize the value of the library reaches much further than just books.  

The library, Laturnus says, offers many valuable resources including free public access computers, printing for a small fee, free Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi hotspots that can be borrowed, and more. 

“When residents learn that we save them money when it comes to the technology they need in today’s world, they are pleasantly surprised that they have access to so much,” said Laturnus. “We have loaned out bikes to children so they can be included in school bike rides, Wi-Fi hotspots so students studying online have access to their courses no matter where they are, and been privileged to be the location of one new Canadian to participate in the swearing in ceremony via Zoom. Our welcoming environment and diverse collection of materials are a reflection of our diversity in the library. We welcome residents with different cultural backgrounds and do our best to assist them, even if there are language barriers. Somehow, we are always able to communicate and assist them with their requests for help.”

Other resources the Redcliff Public Library has, Laturnus says, is programming including LEGO at the Library every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. until April 27; In-Stitches Group every Tuesday morning from 10 to 12 until June 11; the bike lending program, which will begin once the nice weather is here; and a weekly toddler story time called ‘Shake, Rattle, and Read’ that runs from September to March. 

Events that are coming up at the library, Laturnus says, include ‘Get it Together’ Together Puzzle Competition for teams that will be May 4 at 1 p.m. Laturnus says that limited space is available for that event and those interested in participating can call the library at 403-548-3335 to register. The library’s Annual Book Sale, Laturnus says, is on June 15 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the library, which is located at 131 Main Street South. 

For more information about the Redcliff Public Library, visit redcliff.shortgrass.ca. 

“The programs we offer connect new people to the community with others,” said Laturnus. “It is the one place in our community that everyone is welcome, regardless of age, with or without a membership. We offer services to the general public that are not offered elsewhere in Redcliff, a friendly and inclusive environment, and a team that will go above and beyond to assist patrons.”

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