MEDICINE HAT, AB — The Medicine Hat Public Library is looking for help from the public to help improve their services now and into the future.
During Friday’s Lovin’ the Library fundraising event, the library revealed they would be operating with an $87,000 shortfall this year, due to a reduction in funding from both the City of Medicine Hat and Cypress County, according to chief librarian Ken Feser.
“It’s not something that’s going to cause us to shut our doors or anything like that, but we are having to adjust a few things, and it does mean too that we can’t do some of the new and exciting things that we want to do,” he said on Monday.
The library receives the majority of its funding (74 per cent) from the city, and receives a further 11 per cent from the province, both of which Feser is thankful for. The remainder comes from late fees, donations and other grants.
“We feel like we’re going to be able to keep the lights on and the doors open,” he said. “We’re going to make some minor adjustments to services, but that’s okay, we can handle all that with our funding. But we do want to do some things with refreshing furniture and different things like that, getting some new equipment. We’re just not in a position where we can do that without donations, and that’s why we’re fundraising.”
One of the fundraising goals for the library include replacing worn or dated furniture in the building.
“We have some tired chairs, dated carpets, old colours, that sort of thing, in the library,” he said. “We would just like to freshen that all up. Not a new building or a third floor on the library, just a paint and wallpaper, a refresh.”
The library also wants to eventually revamp its children’s section.
“There’s a need for developmental play structures and toys, that sort of things, and we need some new equipment there. We really want to see that happen,” said Feser.
Feser says the library also wants to eventually add more services outside of the building, including allowing people to pick up their holds in locations in the community. A similar program can be found in Airdrie, where people can have their items delivered to a smart locker, and unlock it with their library card.
He adds the library wants to make their space welcoming for the community.
“I think the community deserves a beautiful building and a nice public space, a public living room where people can come and be comfortable,” he said. “I think we are that now, but we could be a little bit better that way, and have just that much nicer of a public space for everyone.”
Feser says fundraising will be an ongoing process, noting they will be going to speak to service clubs in the city, and trying to get people to consider donating to the library. Donations are also accepting at the library, and Feser is also encouraging people to sign up for a library card, which costs $5, if they haven’t yet signed up for one.
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