Celebrating 25 Years of Collaboration and Initiative in Regional Library Service

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    A 25th Anniversary celebration was held for the Chinook Arch Regional Library System in Lethbridge. The milestone event brought together dignitaries and interested individuals from throughout the province to celebrate the region’s 25 year contribution to library service throughout Southwestern Alberta.

    The Honourable Shannon Phillips brought greetings from the Provincial Government. She was happy to report that Alberta’s regional library systems are included in the Provincial Government’s 2017 Capital Budget, which will allow for long overdue infrastructure improvements to all library systems within Alberta. Event attendees also heard from founding and current Chinook Arch Library Board members, Vic Mensch and Marie Logan who spoke about the implementation and continuing success of the organization. Recognition was also given to Chinook Arch employees Rhonda Shearer, Gillian Watkinson, and Yanet Grajeda for their 25 years of service to the organization. Founding CEO Maggie Macdonald was unable to attend, but offered fond reflections from her time with the organization, which were shared by current CEO, Robin Hepher.

    Chinook Arch Regional Library System provides libraries in Southwestern Alberta with training, consulting, IT support and centralized purchasing and cataloguing of library materials, as well as delivery services. Headquartered in Lethbridge, the Chinook Arch Regional Library System was formed in 1992 with 22 member libraries. At the time, southwestern Alberta was the only part of the province that was not served by a regional library system. Today, the system includes 33 libraries in 39 member municipalities across southern Alberta. Along with Lethbridge, Chinook Arch member libraries include those as far south as Milk River and Coutts, east to Taber and Vauxhall, north to Arrowwood and Milo, and west to Pincher Creek and the Crowsnest Pass. Kainai Public Library also joined the system in 2015, marking the first public library on a First Nation within Alberta.

    Through a regional model, all residents are able to have equitable access to services, regardless of if they live in an urban or rural setting.

    Some such services include:

    • Access to high speed, wireless internet and in-house library computers

    • Access to over 1,000,000 items in the shared online catalogue

    • Borrowing books from and returning them to any member library

    • Access to more than 250 Alberta libraries for free with The Alberta Library or the ME Card

    • Ability to order books through worldwide inter-library loans

    • Access to Book Club kits

    • Library to You (L2U); a delivery program for homebound individuals

    • TD Summer Reading Program for children

    • Downloadable and streaming content from our various digital platforms and collections

    • Access to databases and online courses and tutorials

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