The County of Paintearth council received an update from the Castor Municipal Library during their Dec. 14, 2021, regular meeting.
Presented by library board chair Lynn Sabo and library manager Tess Griebel, the pair reviewed the library usage statistics for 2021 as well as introduced council to some of the initiatives and services offered during a COVID-19 challenged year.
For usage statistics, the Castor Municipal Library welcomed 2,160 in-person visitors and 849 online visitors in 2021.
Visitors to the library used the library computers for an average of one hour a day and 112 library members borrowed 4,786 items, including books, DVDs, and audio books.
Speaking of library materials, the library has added 144 new items to the shelves so far this year.
Earlier in 2021, as restrictions allowed, the Castor Municipal Library also began offering programming as well.
The youth directed programming allowed 35 children the opportunity through two virtual sessions and one in-person session to work on craft projects and as opportunity permits the plan is to offer more.
On average, the Castor library also provided 16 free Wi-Fi sessions per day to community members.
The library’s Wi-Fi is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
As a knowledge resource, the librarian helped community members answer 342 different questions during the year.
Outside of the library, a curbside pick up and drop off service was added when pandemic restrictions were introduced, and a drop box was added outside the facility to allow people to drop books off outside regular library hours.
Finally, the Castor library has started an outreach service to Castor’s Paintearth Lodge and Extendicare, giving the residents there access to the library without having to leave the facilities.
“It sounds like you’ve been busy,” said Coun. Diane Elliot.
Sabo agreed, pointing out that Griebel has only been at the library a few months.
“Keep in mind, Tess only started in April,” said Sabo.
When council asked about the costs of the extra programming, they were told by Griebel that through a partnership with Stettler & Area Family Resource Network the new programming was being achieved within the current budget.
During a further library discussion later in the meeting, council has directed administration to amend policy AD009 and have it read that all three libraries in the region, Castor, Coronation, and Brownfield, have a harmonized funding commitment of $7,500 from the county.