BY ROBYN GRAY / Special to the Dagligtale
I have decided to use this article as an opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Robyn Gray, and I am the new Director of Camrose Public Library (CPL). I was born and raised in Calgary, and have lived in Victoria BC, Berlin Germany, Halifax NS, St. Paul AB, and decided to make Camrose my home about 1.5 years ago. I have loved libraries for as long as I can remember, and I’ll never forget the day I realized that I could take my Bachelor of Arts degree and transform it into a career in librarianship.
Everywhere that I have lived, the library is one of the first places I turn to. There is no admissions fee, no expectation to buy an overpriced coffee, and no other requirements for being welcomed into the library. When I’m visiting a city for the day and need access to the internet, the library is there. When I need to get out of the house, the library is open with comfy couches and magazines. And when I am feeling stuck for how to meet new people and start integrating myself into the community, the library always has events that I can attend.
CPL’s previous Director, Deb Cryderman, was a true ambassador for all of the amazing ways that a library can serve its community. While all libraries are wonderful places, she guaranteed that CPL was always setting a forward-thinking example. CPL has the Book Bike which you can find set up at Farmer’s Markets and special events in the summer with books to check out, it has the Life Cycle which enables people with limited mobility to feel the wind in their hair as they ride a trishaw through the community, it offers book clubs for people in their 20s, it offers after-school snacks for kids five days a week, it offers Spanish and French speaking circles, ukulele lessons, and so much more.
Camrose Public Library is a place where anyone is welcome regardless of income, age, or appearance. Whether you come in to pick up holds and then leave immediately, or attend a 3 hour program on how to knit a Christmas stocking, you are welcome as you are. We put up a wide variety of displays and decorations each year, and we encourage everyone to come in and see what is new on any given day. This year is our 100th birthday, so our events this year are a little extra special.
Of course, you don’t even have to come to our physical building itself to enjoy the library. There are countless apps and e-resources you can use from home to access free language learning tools, audiobooks, ebooks, resume builders, and more. In many ways, we’re happy to come straight to you: we offer holds delivery options, and can be found at the Augustana forum for various events throughout the year, just to name a few examples. And if you know exactly what it is you’re looking for and don’t see it on Camrose Public Library’s shelves, you can sign in online (http://cpl.prl.ab.ca/) and request the item be brought in from another Parkland library. For information on any of our many services, please come in and speak with our friendly circulation staff.
I feel lucky to be joining Camrose Public Library at this time, especially as we celebrate our 100th birthday and reflect on how far we have come in the last century. Libraries have changed so much from the definition of being a ‘book warehouse’ and I am proud of how Camrose Public Library leads in that example. No longer are libraries a place of shushing people, but instead lively and vibrant community hubs. I have only been in this position for two months, but cannot wait to begin acting on even more ways to enable the library to meet the needs of everyone in the community.
You are welcome to come to our library anytime – I’ve loved getting to know more people in the community, and would be happy if you came to my office to say hello. At Camrose Public Library, we would love to sign you up for a free library card, welcome you to a program, or serve you in any other way possible.