By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Independent
Stettler’s Town council received a delegation from the Stettler Public Library during their March 2nd meeting.
Library Manager Rhonda O’Neil and board member Barb Gano attended the meeting to provide Town council an update on the past year of library operations which have been complicated amidst the ongoing pandemic.
“Last year was a very unusual year,” said O’Neil.
“We were going great guns until mid-March, when the first shutdown hit.”
Even with the first shutdown closing their doors to the public, the 11 staff of the Stettler Library did not remain dormant for long, pivoting their approach and allowing for curbside pickup and drop off of books.
In between March and June 2020, when they were allowed to open to the public again, the library staff conducted 1,367 curbside deliveries.
When libraries were again closed due to the health restrictions in December, the staff were again offering curbside service, assisting 208 people between Dec. 14th and Dec. 31st.
For programming, the staff ran 421 programs in 2020, accommodating 3,358 guests. With the restrictions in place, the program included 47 interactive online programs, and 196 live streams reaching 15,000 views total.
The library staff, in partnership with the Stettler Information and Referral Services and Stettler Family and Community Support Services created take-home kits of crafts for people to be able to do to keep themselves busy during the shutdowns.
Library outreach services were affected during the first shutdown, with the library being asked to not enter the lodges or the colonies they supported.
Outreach resumed when the doors reopened in June, using a system of bags and boxes to quarantine items for a few days before they reached their final destinations.
Other services provided by library staff for curbside service included a variety of printing, faxing, and scanning of various pension, business, and health documents for their members.
“We’re very pleased to be open again,” said O’Neil.
“It’s a big win for the public.”
Councillor Wayne Smith’s sentiments in regard to the presentation were echoed by all of council.
“I’m really impressed with all you’ve been able to accomplish,” said Smith.
“I think you guys have done a fabulous job. We really appreciate that. The results speak for themselves.”
The Stettler library is back to its usual hours, and open to the public.
Current health restrictions are in effect, including the mandatory use of masks, and the library is currently limited to 15 per cent of its rated capacity.