By Heather Cameron
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
auxhall has a great public library that could use more visitors.
“The library is utilized but it would be great if it would be utilized more,” said Maria Dyck of the Vauxhall Public Library.
Currently, Dyck says, there are a lot of books waiting to be checked out as well as two programs: movie night on Wednesdays from 4:00-6:00 p.m. where any age welcome and Lego Day on Fridays from 2:00-5:00pm. The library also has a fascinating history.
The Vauxhall Public Library, Dyck says, began as a small children’s library in 1948 in the Vauxhall School. Then, Dyck says, in May of 1963, the Library was used by school children and was open to the public three days per week, using volunteer help from board members and the community. Dyck says in January 1982, the Library became a Public Library where volunteer librarians operated the library for the first three years, but as interest grew, a part-time librarian was hired.
In 1987, Dyck says, the former Transalta on Main Street beside the Medical Centre building was purchased for $20,000 and renovated for $10,000 more and all the books and supplies were moved in August 1987.On October 22 of that year, Dyck says, was the grand opening with Mayor Lois Porter cutting the ribbon and MLA Ray Speaker and other dignitaries and patrons in attendance.
In 1988, Dyck says, the library celebrated its 40th Anniversary with a very successful open house and art show, featuring local artists and at this time the Vauxhall Public Library was open 20 hours per week, with a part-time librarian and 10 Library board members.
Dyck states that in Spring 1994, a milestone was accomplished when the Vauxhall Public Library officially became a member of the Chinook Arch Regional Library System, along with most other regions of Southern Alberta.
“This liaison facilitates the ordering and processing of books and streamlines borrowing from other libraries in the system. It also increases the availability of information.
The library board as well as the friends of the library began fundraising in hopes of building a new library in the future,” said Dyck.
Through raffles, donations, and events, enough matching funds were raised to apply for the first successful CFEP Grant in the amount of $50,000, written by the late Henry Schultz in 2011, Dyck said, and dome other major donors included the Town of Vauxhall, Vauxhall Grazing Society, another CFEP Grant, and the MD of Taber. The Vauxhall Saddle Club and the Lethbridge Community Foundation. They, Dyck says, were among many who contributed generous funding for shelving and furnishings.
Construction of the new library, Dyck says, began and was completed by the Savil Group Architecture Ltd. and Nord Construction by the early summer of 2015 and the grand opening of the new library was on July 1st, 2015.
“Currently the Library is open 35 hours per week with a total of three staff members,” said Dyck. “I do feel that the library is bringing unity in the community, and I have no doubt that connecting with other people is essential for good health, wellness, and development. I do consider the library a very safe space for all people but also a space that allows people to relax if needed. I just had a person in here commenting how much she likes this Library, and according to what I have experienced here in these two months since I started working here, I can say the community is liking this Library. I am very grateful that this library is a place through which we have an opportunity to connect with, and to be part of serving amazing people in our town and that they can also benefit from this Library. I would love to encourage people to get information on what the Library is offering and can do for them as we are in need od interest in our Library, and it would be great if we could get more board members as we are in need of more support. And last but not least, I want to send a big thank you to our patrons and the people that have donated stuff to the library or have and are supporting us in any way.”