Stettler librarian all booked up as community demand thrives – Spotlight

Keeping the books – Stettler Public Library librarian Deb Cryderman keeps busy modernizing the library that keeps growing more popular with a wide range of services being offered to people of all ages in the community.

Stettler Public Library continues to thrive as a hub of activity with an enthusiastic head librarian.

“I love my library,” said Deb Cryderman who has served as head librarian in Stettler since May 2006 as part of a career that started in 1986.

“It was my dream job – I’ve always wanted to be a head librarian because it’s a creative position.”

“It lets me try new things everyday and it appeals to my organizational side,” said Cryderman who has also worked in libraries in Calgary, the Northwest Territories, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge public library and in British Columbia communities of Cranbrook and Fernie.

“If you haven’t been to the library, you’re missing out.”

Always smiling and laughing, she never seems to be short on words by the number of books and other resources she manages and in the many stories she tells about the growing demand for and use of the library’s many services and programs.

“Our number of visits at the library is up 377 per cent over 2004 when we had 18,500,” said Cryderman.

“By the end of this year, we will be well over 66,000 visits.”

A library has become more than just books – people come in to read newspapers and magazines, surf the internet on computers and visitors check their email and actively participate in various regular and special programs for all ages.

Already, just over 8,700 hours of computer time has been logged in this year.

These figures and facts are a great way to celebrate Canadian Library Month during October.

Located in Stettler Recreation Centre, the library has become a busy place for all ages to read, learn and get a vast array of information.

“Just as Stettler is labeled the heart of Alberta, the community centre is the heart of the community and region,” said Cryderman.

“This is the ideal facility for a library, because we have two arenas, a pool, fitness centre and meeting rooms, the entire family of all ages can be in this facility at the same time participating in a diverse number of activities.”

Recently the library added a “living room” that overlooks the leisure pool where parents and others can relax in the comfy couches and perhaps watch television.

“I would like people to see the library as another living room than in their own home,” said Cryderman.

“It’s a bit of a retreat from the rest of the library.”

As demand for its services grows, the library now requires significantly more room than its current space of 4,531.75 square feet.

“According to provincial government standards, we should have 12,557.04 square feet,” said Cryderman.

She credits her staff, board and volunteers who continue to enhance and build the quality of the library.

“We have a great staff with great programming that draws a lot of people,” said Cryderman.

“It’s like watching your family grow as staff develop new ideas.”

“We try to meet the needs of the community.”

Governed by separate library boards from the Town of Stettler and the County of Stettler, the local library is the only library in Alberta with two boards with a joint board, she said.

“I have a super super board,” said Cryderman.

“They give me a lot of autonomy and it lets us do what needs to be done.”

“Both the town and the county believe in this library and do everything possible to make it happen and grow,” said Cryderman.

Friends of the Stettler Public Library are also a vital partner to support the library as the main fundraising branch.

Coming up, the popular book sale returns with already over 10,000 books contributed for the event on Nov. 5 (1 to 8 p.m.) and Nov. 6 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.).

To provide services in the rural areas, Stettler Public Library recently started a outreach program where a staff member monthly visits Byemoor, Endiang and Erskine and seniors’ lodges to promote programs and services at the library.

For more information on the library, visit the website at http://spl.prl.ab.ca.

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