WESTLOCK – Following a two-year pandemic absence, the Westlock Library opened its doors for its annual open house, to showcase its programs, services, and resources.
The event was held Nov. 24 from 6 – 8 p.m. and welcomed dozens of area residents as they reconnected and rediscovered what the library is all about and what it has to offer.
“I think this is a way for us to welcome people back into our space and reconnect with them — yes we’re still here, we still have all these great things going on, we still have all these services and so much more,” said Westlock library director Lisa Old.
Library board chair Tanya Pollard was at the open house with her family and said it was wonderful to see people out enjoying the facility and the evening.
“We have been waiting for this event for quite some time. It’s really nice to see everybody together again, just celebrating community and all of the wonderful things our library does,” said Pollard.
The library fully re-opened last spring when COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, and things have slowly returned to pre-pandemic levels, said Old.
“I think people are excited about the silent auction and there’s a lot of interesting things that are bringing people in,” she said, pointing out the important role ‘Friends of the Library’ has for the community. After being inactive for two years and challenges with raising funds during the pandemic, Old noted, they are now “out in full force,” once again raising money for the library.
“They’re really working hard for us, and we’re excited about all of their projects that they’ve got on the go — they just did the 50/50 Christmas Draw to raise money for the library and that was sold out,” explained Old, noting the silent auction was organized by Friends of the Library, with proceeds going towards library programs and other resources.
The two-hour event feature family activities, giveaways, including some library swag, refreshments, and self-guided tours for a behind the scenes look at the library.
“We invited our council members to join us as well as members from the Yellowhead Regional Library system so they can see what we’re doing and what we can offer the community,” said Old. “They’re not just about books anymore, (libraries) do so much more and this is a way to showcase that.”
In addition to loaning out books, the library has other resources for residents including music, DVD’s, magazines, literacy kits for children, games, and e-resources such as audio books, e-books, and free online courses that residents can access with a free library membership.
“We also have our daisy readers for people who have difficulties with hearing or seeing — we can loan out daisy readers, which are basically a little CD player that has very big buttons,” she said, noting they are also showcasing their two other libraries — in Jarvie and in Fawcett. Other programs offered at the library include movies for children, teens, adults, and families, after school activities, pre-school programs, adult afternoon programs with crafts and activities, and English as a Second Language (ESL).
“We also have our community adult learning program as well, which is focused on adult foundational learners — anybody over the age of 18 who’s struggling with basic reading, writing and math as well as digital literacy and things like learning how to use a computer or what is social media,” said Old. “People can come to us and we will help them with those types of things.”