I am writing a letter to clarify a comment made by one of the members of the community that was printed in your paper on Oct. 21. I am happy to see other organizations in town excited about providing informational resources to our community and would love to see partnerships form in the future. However, a comment was made implying that the library provides materials only for “reading for enjoyment or simple pleasure”. While it is true that the library offers many materials to fit this need in the community I would also like to highlight that nearly half our collection of 18,000 items is non-fiction. We spend approximately $4,000 per year updating this collection, and it is regularly surveyed by professional librarians to remove material that is outdated or no longer relevant, and to guide us in the areas where we are deficient. It is in our mandate to offer people resources to deal with their emotional and physical needs.
Likewise, in the last few years Alberta Children Services, recognizing the importance of public libraries in the delivery of information, sent approximately 100 titles on parenting and child development to nearly every public library in Alberta. In the past few months the library have purchased titles on coping with adultery, helping children deal with divorce, surrogate parenting, drug abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, the sexualization of our children, eating disorders, OCD, teen pregnancy and self-mutilization – not to mention the subjects of finance, business planning, diet and nutrition, exercise, environmental issues… the list goes on and on. As we are members of the Parkland Regional Library, who in turn are members of The Alberta Library, we have access to the collections of nearly every library in Alberta, including academic ones. In some cases it is also possible to bring in books from libraries all across Canada. Through PRL we have access to dozens of on-line data bases, which offer authoritative information on many subjects, including learning foreign languages, health care, automobile repair and animal husbandry to name a few. It is the mandate of every public library to meet the information needs of its community, and if you want, we will be most happy to loan you a copy of the newest romance or mystery as well. Libraries have become the hub of most communities offering programs, reference services, materials, and technology that meets the ever-growing needs and wants of rural communities and Rimbey Library is no exception. Not only do we offer books, but we go beyond! I would encourage everyone to come down and check out what the library has to offer you.