county

Stettler County council receives delegation from Stettler Library during Nov. 10th meeting

Council will carry the information forward as they begin their budget deliberations

By Kevin J. Sabo

For the Independent

Members of the Stettler Parkland Library appeared as a delegation before the County of Stettler council on Nov. 10th, to discuss successes for the year and the 2021 budget.

The delegation from the library consisted of Jane Skocdopole, the Stettler Library board chair, Barb Gano, the board treasurer and Rhonda O’Neill, the library manager.

The trio appeared virtually before the County of Stettler council, discussing operational and funding issues that the library has faced in 2020.

“We were going great guns in January and February,” said O’Neill.

“Then COVID struck.”

The board decided on March 15th that with the Recreation Centre closing, they would follow suit, closing their doors to the public, but transitioning to a curb-side pickup and online delivery service model.

Since that time, the staff of the Stettler Library have conducted over 130 different programs online, split between Facebook Live, Zoom and others.

During the closure, curb-side pickup was used 1,367 times.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic the outreach programs that the library had to the local Hutterite colonies and the seniors’ lodges had to be shut down.

“Only the people who could come to the library for curb-side pick-up could get books,” said O’Neill.

The services were reinstated in June, with a slight switch.

Employees would bag books for the seniors in the lodges, and then they would be quarantined for 72 hours before being released to the resident by staff in an attempt to reduce any viruses entering the facilities.

For the colonies, outreach there has been re-established as well, with library staff putting together requested books, and the colony teachers picking up the items every two weeks.

With the reopening of the facility in June, a successful summer reading program was held which involved a local version of the Amazing Race, which had 10 teams registered.

Another aspect of the summer reading program put together by the library is the availability of craft kits for children to complete at home.

The success of the children’s crafts led to the creation of adult craft kits and in conjunction with the Stettler Information Centre and Family and Community Services, kits will be made available to seniors who have been shut in beginning in December.

In-person programming returned to the library in full swing in the fall, with some changes.

Numbers allowed to participate have been reduced and pre-registration is required for most programming. The library staff is also performing enhanced cleaning of all facilities.

Financially speaking, the library is looking for support from County of Stettler council in the amount of approximately $128,500, a decrease of nearly $6,000 from 2020 numbers.

The reason for the decrease is approximately $30,000 in savings due to the shutdown, which is being forwarded to the 2021 budget.

“They’re going to take that money and move it to 2021. What happens in 2022?” asked Councillor James Nibourg, a concern shared by Chief Administrative Officer Yvette Cassidy.

One particular concern Cassidy had was the matter of library staff wage increases.

During the presentation, O’Neill commented that several staff members would be increasing on the wage grid in the next budget.

“I caution you (council) for funding organizations we belong to when they put merit increases in, and we hold zero on ours, because it creates hard feelings,” said Cassidy.

“If we hold our staff, I would expect the organizations that we fund to hold as well.”

In total, with grants, funding from the County, the Town, and fundraising, the total operational budget for 2021 will be around $500,000 for the Stettler Library, a slight increase over 2019 numbers.

However, the budget does not underscore the value that library brings to the region.

In 2019, the combined requisition from the Town of Stettler and Stettler County was $378,000, however, the value of services provided by the library and its staff was nearly $1.3 million.

This value was calculated by looking at the number of books, ebooks and magazines that were borrowed, as well factoring services that the library staff provided such as assistance with resumes and cover letters, computer use and a wide variety of library programming.

After the presentation, Stettler County council accepted that the presentation as information, and will carry the information forward as they begin their budget deliberations.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and Premier Jason Kenney say the province would look at adding additional COVID-19 measures in the coming weeks if the virus continues to spread. (Photo by Government of Alberta)
Walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic to open in Red Deer

Alberta adds 1,345 new cases of the virus

Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and vacation bookings are being increased in B.C. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. announces signage along Alberta border to discourage non-essential travel

B.C. extends COVID-19 indoor dining, group fitness ban until May 25

Damien Kurek
MP Damien Kurek reflects on newly-released federal budget

‘Further, they recycle old promises they have consistently failed to deliver on’

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Alberta begins rolling out AstraZeneca COVID vaccine for those aged 40 or older

There are more than 70 pharmacies offering AstraZeneca, including 26 offering walk-in appointments

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

FILE - Dan Smyers, left, and Shay Mooney from the band Dan + Shay perform on NBC's Today show in New York on June 28, 2019. The duo will perform at Sunday's Academy of Country Music Awards. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)
Luke Bryan wins top ACM Award, but female acts own the night

Luke Bryan wins top ACM Award, but female acts own the night

In this undated photo provided by John-Paul Hodnett are a row of teeth on the lower jaw of a 300-million-year-old shark species named this week following a nearly complete skeleton of the species in 2013 in New Mexico. Discoverer Hodnett says it was the short, squat teeth that first alerted him to the possibility that the specimen initially dubbed "Godzilla Shark" could be a species distinct from it's ancient cousins, which have longer, more spear-like teeth. The image was taken using angled light techniques that reveal fossil features underneath sediment. (John-Paul Hodnett via AP)
‘Godzilla’ shark discovered in New Mexico gets formal name

The ancient chompers looked less like the spear-like rows of teeth of related species

sign
Alberta Biobord Corp. recently hosted a virtual open house from Stettler

The company plans to develop a fuel pellet and medium density fibre board (MDF) plant near the community

The Rogers logo is photographed in Toronto on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Rogers investigating after wireless customers complain of widespread outage

According to Down Detector, problems are being reported in most major Canadian cities

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Nothing stopping provinces from offering AstraZeneca vaccine to all adults: Hajdu

Health Canada has licensed the AstraZeneca shot for use in people over the age of 18

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Most Read