I learn a great many things from the St. Albert Gazette. This week’s (Dec. 16) big revelation has been the Further Education brochure. I always love to read what is desired in the way of education. My mind was blown when I looked at the pages numbered from 57 to 69 – these are the St. Albert Public Library pages.
Yes we have four book clubs, one reading challenge, a blind date with a book and three after school reading programs. Yet the largest percentage of library activity covers a myriad of community needs: from death and dying to dementia; insomnia to travel; and dating to programs for babies. You can dance and play a musical instrument at the library. Computer programming is covered in some depth as well as genealogy. You can learn about fixing things and antiques.
But my problem is why is all this taking place in the library? Do we really need another library, for it seems to me that many of these programs are far removed from books. I can remember when a library was a repository for books, where you could sit and read in a quiet place, study if need be.
We had the conversation about the library with the plebiscite. What we need is appropriate community settings for these programs. I wonder how many of these programs impinge on the livelihood of people in the community?
Meanwhile the place that needs our attention is a new swimming pool. To see what happens at Fountain Park currently you have to visit and collect the pool programming guides. But more than that you need to realize that the pool is overcrowded when classes are running and the facility is wearing out. Putting up a $20,000 climbing wall is mere wall dressing. It will not alleviate the problems that happen with heating the water, keeping the steam room open, and the hot tub working efficiently. While putting in a new set of steps now so that seniors can safely get into the pool for classes is a necessity. This is a lawsuit waiting to happen. As I recall the plebiscite actually favoured a new pool!
So I do hope that the wishes of the people of St. Albert are followed in the coming years. I am sure, for example that there are school spaces in the community that could accommodate the diverse activities that are now under the umbrella of library programming.
Elizabeth Allchin, St. Albert