Vulcan and Carmangay libraries receive READ award

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The Vulcan and Carmangay Libraries have each won an Excellence and Distinction (READ) Award from the Chinook Arch Regional Library System.

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This year, southern Alberta libraries were invited to share their COVID-19 story with the Chinook Arch Marketing and Communications Committee.

Three of the stories, including the one shared by the Vulcan library, received a $500 prize, and four, including the one shared by the Carmangay library, received $200.

The READ awards were presented on April 29 during Chinook Arch’s 30th anniversary celebration.

The committee was “amazed by the innovation and compassion” of the libraries that received the READ awards, reads a press release from Chinook Arch.

“Libraries play a vital role within their communities,” reads the Chinook Arch press release. “This has become even more evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, with libraries providing many services, including sharing trusted information, accessing online resources, creating home activity kits, and even more.”

The Vulcan Public Library has been recognized for its “heartfelt and personalized service”.

Connie Clement, the library manager, shared the following story with Chinook Arch.

“Vulcan has at least 60% senior citizens, many of whom live in residential care facilities. At different times when confirmed COVID numbers were high at these residences, they were forced to self-quarantine. Fortunately, the administrators of these locations have allowed me to deliver to their main doors.

“For the 2021 Valentine’s Day season activities, I brought my soap making ingredients and showed the students at Wild Rose Hutterite Colony how to make soap. These students enjoyed making soap for themselves and as gifts. I explained to them that I wanted to surprise six elderly people I knew in the community with a Valentine’s Day gift and asked if they would be willing to make me six cards and soap for them. I then delivered the bags to my friends from the special library as a surprise.

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“A gentleman called me that afternoon and thanked me. Then the next day, he called me back to thank me. I told him that he was very nice but that he had already done it the day before. I recently learned that this gentleman had passed away. I will miss seeing the Canadian flag he had on the back of his new scooter. Above all, I will really miss our discussions…

“I also have a special lady who is in hospital in long-term care. I bought a small notebook so that we could write notes to each other each week while we exchanged the library items she borrowed. Well…she called me at the library the following Monday after the usual delivery. She had opened her Valentine’s Day gift bag that morning. She went on to tell me that when she opened the soap gift she thought it was candy and took a bite. She kept laughing as she told me her story.

Clement said it was wonderful that Chinook Arch gives its member libraries the opportunity to share what they are doing.

“When I was asked to create a story, it made me think a little bit more about what we do and also what more we can do,” she said. “That money will be reinvested in programming, whether internal or broader.”

The Carmangay and District Municipal Library has been recognized for its “courageous perseverance” during COVID-19.

The library shared the following story with Chinook Arch.

“Many virtual programs were offered throughout 2021, but none were more popular than the Winter Wellness series. Each week focused on a different aspect of health: physical health, nutrition, mental health and social health.

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“The library partnered with a local caterer to offer a virtual cooking class that promoted healthy eating and home cooking. Participants received free meal kits with all the ingredients for up to four servings and attended a virtual class. More than 27 individual families participated multiple times.

“This class was so popular that it continued, sponsored by the local Lions Club!

“The children’s programming couldn’t take place, so the library sent the programming to their home. Activity packs have been created with supplies for four crafts and activities, plus coloring pages, printable games and other goodies. The local post office distributed these parcels to local families.

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