MEDICINE HAT, AB -- The Medicine Hats Public Library has big plans for 2019, despite a budget cut earlier this year.
The library took a $70,000 budget cut, but according to head librarian Ken Feser, it’s still doing well.
“A couple of our revenue services were cut, it wasn’t a terrible blow but it was a cut, we lost some money,” says Feser. “We’re really just tightening up on some of our staffing with that and that seems to be okay, I think we’ll be okay on that level.“
According to the Library’s annual report, presented to the city’s public services committee on Monday, the library is in good shape.
In 2018, there were 267,549 visits to the library, 12,538 active memberships and 767,375 books circulated in the community.
“We’re up in most of our measurements, we have more people signing out materials, we have more people coming to programs, more people coming into the library,” says Feser. “So the use of our services is growing, that’s good news.”
According to their annual report, updating the library’s decor, improving the children's area and expanding outreach are their main goals for 2019.
“A refresh of our building here, it’s got good bones, it’s a wonderful location by the river,” says Feser. “But some of our furniture is tired and we would like to upgrade some of that stuff and particularly the children's library, we really want to make that a special place.”
In 2018, the library conducted 126 school visits reaching 2,743 children, hosted 14 outreach events, and visited 10 seniors residences.
However, it wants to expand the outreach into the community.
“So we really want to get outside the four walls of our building, we know for some people coming downtown is a barrier, although we hope people give it a try, there is parking down here, you can get into the place but for those that find that difficult,” says Feser. “We do want to be outside and offer those services.”
Feser says they hope to offer more story-time events in remote locations, and offer a book locker program.
“We’re even talking about book lockers, which is a system where you can pick materials up that you put on hold and pick another place to get them,” says Feser. “A little machine releases them to you when you put your library card in front of it.”
Although none of the programs are currently active, announcements will be made in the summer months.
“We’re going to be doing some announcements in the summer about some things we’re going to do that I think is going to transform our children's library,” says Feser. “Make it a real destination for families to come and have some fun.”
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