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Library e-book, e-magazine usage spikes

Sundre Municipal Library staff give updates including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on resource usage.
MVT stock Sundre Library
Sundre library staff have been able to offer a range of activities including traditional in-person programs as well as curbisde pickup services. File photo/MVP Staff

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - County council has been given an update on recent activities at the Sundre Municipal Library, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on resource usage.

The review came during a recent regularly scheduled council meeting, with library manager Karen Tubb appearing as a delegation.

“I believe Sundre library makes a difference in our community,” said Tubb.

According to the library’s 2022 budget, total revenue is projected to be $229,063, including $54,148 from Mountain View County and $107,625 from the Town of Sundre.

Expenses are projected to be $229,025, including $153,225 in wages and benefits and $39,150 for facility expenses.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a big impact on the Sundre library, she said.

“Library buildings have been closed for 40 per cent of this year, and even now that we are open we are really limited in terms of the kinds of indoor, in-person programming we can offer,” she said.

“We can provide programming for children and youth and families, but for adults only educational programs and we have to have a reduced number in the building and no organized recreational gatherings.

“So the question is how can libraries achieve our mandate of serving the needs of our community when we are faced with limitations like that.”

The staff at the library “rose to the occasion and they overcame many challenges, she said.

When the library building was closed the library offered over-the-phone tech assistance “which let me tell you is quite a challenge,” she said.

Staff also helped with ordering books and movies, created more than 200 make-and-take kits for both children and adults, organized outdoor family events, and provided curbside service with an average of 14 pickups per day. 

As well, online programs were created for all ages and “many, many people discovered our online resources.” For example, e-magazine usage went up 600 per cent and e-book usage by more than 300 per cent. 

“Now that we are open, we’ve modified programs to accommodate restrictions,” she said. “We have a great summer reading club this year, with about 420 kids ages four to 11 coming through our door this summer.”

New programs for family and youth have recently been added, including a robotics tech club, she said.

“We are looking forward to when we can welcome our knitters and painters and book clubs and in-person programs for adults,” she said.

Circulation is on the rise at the library, she said.

Sundre Municipal Library is the only library in the Parkland Regional Library system that has unionized staff (not manager), council heard.

Counc. Peggy Johnson said, “I salute you and your staff for all the creative work you do. You do a lot of good stuff with not a whole lot of money.”

Reeve Angela Aalbers also commended library staff for their efforts.

“Thank your for everything you contribute to our community,” said Aalbers.

Council accepted Tubb’s report as information.

Dan Singleton

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