The winners for the 2022 Minister’s Awards for Public Library Excellence (for libraries serving under 10,000 population) are:
- Town of Banff Library Board, Library of Things
- Town of Penhold Library Board, Adventure Awaits Summer Reading Program
The winners for the 2022 Minister’s Awards for Public Library Excellence (for libraries serving over 10,000 population) are:
- City of Edmonton Library Board, African and Caribbean Canadian Books in Colour
2022 award submissions
2022 Minister’s Awards for Municipal and Public Library Excellence
Learn more about all of the initiatives submitted for the 2022 Minister’s Awards for Municipal and Public Library Excellence:
City of Lethbridge Library Board for Big Truck Petting Zoo
The 1st ever Big Truck Petting Zoo (BTPZ) event was held at the Crossings Branch of the Lethbridge Public Library in May 2019. The event was a partnership between the Lethbridge Public Library (LPL) and the City of Lethbridge Public Operations. BTPZ gave participants a chance to touch the equipment, learn about its operation from the actual heavy equipment operators. The idea came out of the desire of Public Operations to hold an event during National Public Works Week to highlight the work done by Public Operations staff. Working together to plan and run the event were City of Lethbridge departments including Waste and Recycling, Parks, Water and Wastewater, Fleet Services, Police, Fire & EMS, Risk Management, and the Lethbridge Public Library. The event achieved multiple desired outcomes. Public Operations departments were able to speak directly to attendees about safety around the equipment when they see it out in the wild. They were also able to educate attendees about the services they run and why they do it. This was of significant importance to Waste and Recycling who had earlier rolled out a new blue bin system to some controversy. The event also served to inform participants about careers with the city and in heavy equipment operations.
City of Spruce Grove Library Board for New Beginnings Learning Circle
The New Beginnings Listening Circle is a new library program based on traditional Indigenous talking circles, with an added focus on listening to members of the community who are willing to share their stories in a safe and welcoming environment. The program came to life because of the City of Spruce Grove Family and Community Support Services’ (FCSS) New Beginnings project to "develop a tri-regional (Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Parkland County) strategic response to the increasing number of Indigenous families and individuals seeking services from Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Parkland County.” One of the New Beginnings project’s overall goals is to "build upon current collaborative programs and services to improve current access, services delivery and social policy initiative while continuing to provide crisis intervention services," and therefore approached the Spruce Grove Public Library to partner in the next steps of their New Beginnings project.
Town of Vulcan Library Board for Reading to Build Community
Reading to Build Community is a facilitated intervention targeting seniors at risk of loneliness and isolation by using literature to build social connections within members of a group. Rainbow Literacy and Learning and the Vulcan Library initiated the reading program reaching out to three groups of residents in the local Extendicare facility to assist seniors at risk build a sense of community in a group. The scope of the program continued to evolve as the needs of the groups were identified. It was discovered that due to hearing loss in some seniors, conversation aides were needed. As a result, the Extendicare Auxiliary purchased Pocket Talkers (conversation amplifiers) for use in the group. These Pocket Talkers can also be borrowed by medical staff and family members to aid conversation outside of the program sessions. Vision loss and cognitive decline can result in traditional written material being inaccessible to seniors, even in a group setting. Materials that are modified to meet the varying abilities of those living with advancing physical and cognitive disabilities were purchased for use in this program by the Vulcan and District Agriculture Society.
City of Camrose Library Board for their Snacks in the Stacks Program
Snacks in the Stacks offers a wide array of healthy food choices to kids who come to the library after-school. Camrose Public Library works with Alberta Health Services to ensure the snacks are in line with the Canada Food Guide and has partnered with University of Alberta students at the Augustana campus to help serve the snacks. The program has reached an amazing 6,400 kids so far and an average of 26 children benefit from it every day. The program helps families living with food insecurity, creates a welcoming environment for kids and teens in the library, and promotes healthy eating and lifestyle choices.
Town of Carstairs Library Board for their Annual Parenting Fair
Carstairs has many families with young children and the library identified a need to highlight and make parents aware of all the community supports available to them. The library created and hosts an annual night where local groups have on-site booths and share information with parents. In the 6 years that it has been hosting the Parenting Fair, the Carstairs Library has partnered with nearly 60 organizations. These range from Parent Link and Family and Community Support Services centres to Scouts Troops and Judo Clubs as well as local small businesses. The public library brought them all together.
Town of Morinville Library Board for their Indigenous Canada Learning Circle (also recipient of the 2018 YOU Libraries award)
The Indigenous Canada Learning Circle leveraged the University of Alberta’s Massively Open Online Course called 'Indigenous Canada' and made it available to anyone at the Morinville Public Library. Using a learning circle format, the Morinville Library gave people a safe place to learn and work through information about Indigenous and Canadian history as well as discuss their opinions and questions around the important and complex issue of reconciliation. The series of weekly programs at the library as well as online material, reached a staggering 135,000 people.
Parkland County Library Board for their Wi-Fi Hotspots Program
The Wi-Fi Hotspots Lending Program provides internet access to individuals or households in Parkland County who have limited internet or cannot afford internet. This program partnered with TELUS – who have donated 8 smart hubs with unlimited data to 4 library sites. Each library also has a lendable Chromebook for patrons to borrow. The library stated in its application, “The Wi-Fi Hotspots Lending Program is innovative as it provides something that many residents may take for granted – access to the internet. In the digital age, this is an essential and valuable service. This service fosters an enjoyment of technology and an increase in digital literacy skills for all ages.”
Lac La Biche County Library Board for their Creating Young Readers Program
The Lac La Biche County Libraries offer a variety of quality early literacy programs throughout the year. These programs address the specific needs of children from birth to 5 years old and are designed to ensure our youngest community members will enter school successfully and are ready to learn to read, write and listen.
All programs are offered free of charge and include:
- Rattle and Chat
- Chicka, Chicka Book Club
- Read and Roll
- Rhyme Time
- Roaming Rhyme Time
- Library Outreach
- Winter Reading Club (all ages)
- TD Summer Reading Club (all ages)
- Maker Mondays – Creativity Zone/LEGO Club (all ages)
- Beavers Sleepover (ages 5 to 7)
- Happening Homeschoolers
- Open Play Area
Town of Olds Library Board for their Cyber Seniors Program
The program pairs students from the high school with seniors in the community. Youth attended an interactive training workshop where topics included working with seniors, dispelling ageism and typical questions with which seniors struggle. Preparing the youth was a key aspect of the program! It is a partnership with the Olds Connected Communities Committee, Olds High School and the Olds Municipal Library. Students attend a training program at the beginning of the program that outlines important information for mentors. They receive an iPad manual or PC manual to give to their senior once the program begins. Mentors are also encouraged to go above and beyond the provided material if seniors wish to learn more about technology or the world wide web. The program brings seniors and youth together in a social face-to-face environment in the hopes that they will form lasting bonds and that seniors will increase their technical literacy.
City of Edmonton Library Board for their Exploring Reconciliation Series
Edmonton Public Library's Exploring Reconciliation Series was introduced in 2016 in response to the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and its Calls to Action. Developed in collaboration with Indigenous communities, the Exploring Reconciliation series provides an opportunity for Edmontonians to deepen their understanding of reconciliation and how it impacts Canada.
City of Airdrie Library Board for their smartlocker™ System
Airdrie Public Library is now able to extend library services by offering a second pickup location for reserved library materials by using smartlocker™ technology. Library card holders can place online requests for materials and pick them up at Genesis Place. An automated return bin incorporated into the smartlocker™ unit allows return of library material at the same location. This innovative technology has expanded library services, making it more convenient and accessible to a larger number of citizens. The smartlocker™ service was made possible through the support of a number of partners and supporters. The City of Airdrie played an instrumental role by providing free space at Genesis Place to house the smartlocker™ system. Marigold Library System supports the lockers and the library by providing IT support. Thanks to a generous donation by Airdrie Dodge, the library now has a cargo van to deliver items to the lockers. Ongoing free vehicle insurance was also generously provided by Air-Alta Insurance (Airdrie) Limited.
YOU Libraries Award: Lac La Biche County Library Board for their Creating Young Readers Program
The Lac La Biche County Libraries offer a variety of quality early literacy programs throughout the year. These programs address the specific needs of children from birth to5 years old and are designed to ensure our youngest community members will enter school successfully and are ready to learn to read, write and listen. All programs are offered free of charge and include:
- Rattle and Chat
- Chicka, Chicka Book Club
- Read and Roll
- Rhyme Time
- Roaming Rhyme Time
- Library Outreach
- Winter Reading Club (all ages)
- TD Summer Reading Club (all ages)
- Maker Mondays – Creativity Zone/LEGO Club (all ages)
- Beavers Sleepover (ages 5 to 7)
- Happening Homeschoolers
- Open Play Area
City of St. Albert Library Board for their Reading Buddies Program
Reading Buddies is one of the Library's programs and initiatives designed to cultivate a love of books and reading and to support early literacy skills. It is a program that offers children in grades 1 to 3 who are facing some reading difficulties the opportunity to practice their reading skills in a fun, encouraging and safe atmosphere. Children are paired with members of the community, their Reading Buddies, who volunteer their time on a weekly basis to listen to the children read, to share a book and to play literacy games.
City of Camrose Library Board for their Book Bike
Alberta's first 'Book Bike' launched June 2015 after much hard work and anticipation. The project was funded by a crowdfunding campaign, local businesses and library patrons. The Book Bike is a small mobile library fitted onto a custom made cargo tricycle that creates off-site access to library programs and resources for the community. The Book Bike has visited playgrounds, parks, seniors' homes, small businesses, City Hall, summer camps, University of Alberta Augustana Faculty, and elementary and junior high schools in Camrose.
Town of High River Library Board for their Family Literacy Kits
The High River Library creates Family Literacy Kits for the patrons to take home. These kits include books, toys and CDs. What makes these kits unique is they include worksheets and activities to help the parents learn how to extend teachable moments. Depending on the theme of the kit, the activities may also involve crafts, cooking, math, and letter and sound recognition.
Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Library Board for their Total Aboriginal Cultural Corner
The Total Aboriginal Cultural Corner was first proposed after a community meeting in 2011. The Cultural Corner is a centrally-located space, devoted to Aboriginal cultures and collections. The corner houses their growing First Nation, Métis and Inuit collection, and has been designated with an in-house designed label.
YOU Libraries Award: Town of Swan Hills Library Board for their L2D (Learn to Drive) Program
The L2D (learn to drive) program and kit allows libraries to host an interactive program that helps patrons attain their class 7 learners' licence. It was developed by the library manager in partnership with a regional traffic safety consultant.
City of Airdrie Library Board for their Early Literacy Partnership – Travelling Tales & Tunes
Airdrie Public Library, Community Links and Rocky View Schools Community Learning work in partnership to enhance Early Literacy in families in the community. Together they offered programs such as BabyTime and ToddlerTime, Rhymes that Bind, Rhyme Time and Parenting and Literacy and Parenting Skills from the library and Community Links.
City of Grande Prairie Library Board for their LibriCon
On September 30, 2014, the Grande Prairie Public Library hosted a Comic Con, inviting people of all ages into the library to participate in a variety of programs aimed towards hobbyists and enthusiasts of comic books and graphic novels, anime, television, novels, science fiction/fantasy etcetera. One of the main draws of LibriCon was the Cosplay Contest, which gave participants the chance to dress up as their favourite characters and show off their creativity. Over 75 people participated and the winners were dressed as characters from Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Minecraft and Guardians of the Galaxy.
City of Spruce Grove Library Board for their Innovation Lab – Technology Makerspace
Inside this futuristic, experimental, instrumental and retrospective room lives endless opportunities including going on a virtual vacation to Iceland, creating a new electrical design for door bells, sound editing original songs and scores and typing a letter on a typewriter.
Westlock Intermunicipal Library Board for their Movie Cost-Sharing Initiative for Yellowhead Region Member Libraries
Westlock Libraries Director surveyed fellow Yellowhead Regional Library System (YRL) member libraries to determine how many Audio Cine Films (ACF) licences might be requested within the region if rates could be reduced. Nineteen libraries expressed interest. The Director proposed a regional cost-sharing initiative to Westlock Intermunicipal Library Board that would reduce the price of licences for any library within YRL that wished to participate in the program. The end result was that 19 libraries shared the cost of all licences which was significantly less than if the libraries decided to support family movie programs as individual entities, and for a lower cost than the Criterion licence offered through The Alberta Library. These 19 libraries, armed with both a Criterion licence as well as an ACF licence, now have rights to advertise and show movies from any movie house.
YOU Libraries Award: Sheep River Library Board for their Sheep Ramblers Program
The program provides for learning from experts, teachers and specialists about:
- the benefits of healthy, outdoor exercise
- how to utilize equipment to one's benefit (walking poles, snowshoes, proper footwear, appropriate clothing, etcetera)
- talks on geology, geography, flora and fauna, and wildlife
- map reading skills, use of a compass
The walking program was planned to allow for the inclusion of isolated seniors, newcomers to the community and individuals seeking support in a new discipline in provision of a social learning opportunity.
City of Calgary Library Board for their Grow a Reader mobile app
Takes fun, interactive content from the library's popular early literacy program and delivers it to parents via their smartphone or tablet. The app includes videos of library staff performing rhymes, fingerplays and songs, as well as recommended booklists and tips for parents. The library was challenged to meet the demand of early literacy programs, which frequently had long waiting lists. To ease this demand 2 departments within the library came together to create the app. The content is available to everyone with an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and parents or caregivers who cannot attend a program in person can learn skills and tips at home. Those who have attended a program can use the app to practice what they learned.
Town of Fox Creek Library Board for their Time for Tots webisodes
An online story and craft project program that was first posted on YouTube in November 2013. Young patrons will benefit by being able to access the program from the convenience of their own homes and from any electronic device. There currently is not a weekly video like this in the area of Fox Creek. Hearing the readers in the video could give parents tips on reading with their own children. Children of all ages can be included without the age restrictions of an in-library program. Between Facebook and YouTube, the webisodes have had over 500 views, which is more than what would be in a program at the library.
City of Edmonton Library Board for the Metro Edmonton ME Card Service
The service includes the 4 boards: City of Edmonton Public Library Board; City of Fort Saskatchewan Board; City of St. Albert Library Board; Strathcona County Library Board. Multi-library sharing for patrons in Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, St. Albert and Strathcona County. A web-based service that allows patrons with a valid library card at any metro public library to initiate the automated creation of a patron account at one or more participating libraries.
Town of Innisfail Library Board for their Beginner Robotics Program
Youth ages 10 to 17 years old receive hands-on experience with a variety of topics:
- Circuits: Learn how circuits work using hands-on experience with circuit boards.
- Motors: Learn how motors work in a variety of applications and how to use them effectively.
- Designing: Creating motorized vehicles using designs, then creating their own designs.
- Solar Power: Working with solar panels to create 2 solar-powered robots.
- Recycling/re-purposing: Disassemble materials from around the house to harvest robotics parts to create simple robots.
- Completion: Create robotic infrared tanks to take part in a 2-stage competition (4 teams – one winner overall).
This teaches participants teamwork and literacy as reading and following instructions requires good literacy skills, imaginative and logistical skills. The library has now expanded their computer-based programs to include Anime, Manga, MineCraft, etcetera.
Lac La Biche County Library Board for their Make Career Choices: Job and Career Development Program
To produce a community-based, coordinated network of career support services for youth and adults, enhancing their access to multiple sources of assistance while at the same time improving the effectiveness of each partner's efforts while reducing duplication of services. The library partnered with Statoil, CAREERS: The Next Generation, Alberta Human Services, Northern Lights School Division, Portage College and Community Futures for this program. A Career Centre location has been created within the library which houses a newly purchased collection of reference materials, free brochures and handouts, a dedicated computer station and workspace for individuals wishing to undertake career searches, research and planning. There is also a Career Centre page on the library's website that provides links to career planning resources. Alberta Human Services provides evening career counselling sessions held at the library. CAREERS: The Next Generation will provide access to their video conference career support model at the library.
Sheep River Library Board for their OUT LOUD Program
The major goal of the OUT LOUD series of events was to lay the foundation for a signature event on an on-going basis. Sessions included:
- Write Away: A full day of writing workshops featuring 9 professional writers and experts. Individuals wanting to hone their writing skills could choose to attend 3 of the workshops scheduled.
- Reel Independent Filmmaking: Young professional filmmakers from the Untitled Productions presented 3 consecutive workshops to youth in the community to inspire and instruct on how to share personal stories through the medium of film.
- TTYL: Talk to You Later: Using the library as a venue, 4 different authors talked about their books and stories to all the K to 6 students from both elementary schools.
- Celebrity Reads: Distinguished Canadian author Terry Fallis spoke about his current publications.
- Authors Among Us: An Expo of 35 local/regional published authors where each author had a booth set up around the library and readings were held.
City of St. Albert Library Board for their St. Albert Readers Festival – STARFest
In 2011 the St. Albert Public Library celebrated its 50th anniversary and the City of St. Albert celebrated its 100th anniversary. The library created STARFest to commemorate these occasions. The first STARFest was held in 2011 for a 2-week period and the line up included 6 best-selling, award winning authors from across Canada. STARFest continued in 2012 over a 2-week period and included both fiction and non-fiction writers. There was a mix of evening and daytime sessions which included interview sessions with the authors.
Chinook Arch Regional Library Board and Kainai Literacy Committee for the opening of the Kainai Public Library
Chinook Arch Regional Library System worked closely with the Kainai Board of Education, the Kainai Literacy Committee and the Blood Tribe Band Council to develop and implement a model to provide public library service on the Blood Tribe First Nations reserve. The Kainai Public Library is located on-reserve in Standoff, Alberta. The objectives are community based support for family literacy including library materials and programming; local access to public library resources in the community; support for the local organization providing the outlet service and preservation of Blackfoot culture and language to be passed on to younger generations.
City of Edmonton Library Board for their Library Services for Aboriginal Peoples
The program supports the City of Edmonton's aboriginal initiatives. It is designed to develop relationships with the aboriginal communities in Edmonton and to involve the community in developing library services and programs. It is part of the community-led service philosophy of the board. Edmonton Public Library’s community librarians work with community organizations and service providers that serve aboriginal communities and participate in community initiatives. Because of its involvement, the library is now recognized within the aboriginal community as an inclusive service that supports and respects members of the aboriginal community within the city. Programs and services are evolving to respond to the needs of the community and elements of the program are available throughout city branch libraries.
Strathcona County Library Board for their Low-Floor Bookmobile
The new bookmobile is an example of innovation as it is designed to promote accessibility, versatility and flexibility. County residents of all ages and can access the low-floor mobile branch either on foot or on wheels, and the branch can host a variety of programs. The bookmobile is designed for functionality. Shelving and furnishings can be shifted to create program and community space, and the low floor allows full shelves of materials to be rolled on and off the vehicle saving wear and tear on staff and making it easy to make adjustments in the collection for different communities throughout the county. The vehicle combines a number of 'green' features including solar panels for interior power needs, more natural light and improved air flow to further reduce the need for power. These features have led to sponsorship for the operation of the bookmobile from Shell Canada.
City of Cold Lake Library Board for their Teen Tech Squad: Teens Teaching Teens Program
This program recognized the need for youth activities in the city thus linking it with other board plans. It was designed as a developmental initiative introducing young people to technology, media awareness and developing interpersonal and literacy skills. The program was supervised by adults but developed by the tech squad so there is a learning component along with the personal skill development. Tech squad developed websites, social media links and YouTube presentations. The program is ongoing and evolving to bring in new participants.
Town of Rocky Mountain House Library Board for their Preserving Local History Project
As a result of its community needs assessment and planning process, Rocky Mountain House identified a strong role for preserving local history, particularly the role of David Thompson and the fur trade, through its collection. The board and staff extended this role through a number of additional activities and carried it through as part of a library renovation, through art, through artifacts, displays and library programs. The library's initiative exposed community residents and visitors to the rich and unique history of the area and has created a sense of local pride. It has engaged community members in presentations, creative pursuits and an awareness of the rich First Nations culture of the area. The project continues to grow and evolve and remains a focus for the community. The library is also working with the museum and federal historic sites as part of a community history focus.
City of Airdrie Library Board for their Tales for the Tall and Wii for the Tall Program
These programs bring developmentally disabled adults in to the library for storytimes and the Wii game console. The target audience is not often served by libraries yet there was a great local need for such services. The programs were very well done showing the details of how to serve this unique group.
City of Red Deer Library Board for their Election Forum 2010
This online forum allowed candidates in the municipal election and local citizens to connect and communicate. The program was extremely successful, with excellent usage, and the forum became the primary place to find local election information and discussion.
Chinook Arch Library Board with Marigold Library Board and Shortgrass Library Board for the RISE Videoconferencing Initiative
This network of videoconferencing equipment, technology and support resources has brought videoconferencing to libraries across southern Alberta, reaching the smallest communities in the most rural areas. It has connected libraries, and people, in these communities to people, programs and services. There are many stories that demonstrate how RISE has enabled very positive outcomes and made a difference in people's lives. RISE's influence is demonstrated by the fact that 3 of the minister's awards applications this year involved library services delivered via RISE.
Town of Morinville Library Board for their Genealogy Program
In response to identified local needs, the library created a range of genealogy services that shows great depth and variety for a small library.
Sheep River Library Board for their Wildlife Program
The library partnered with Sustainable Resource Development and Tourism, Parks and Recreation to develop wildlife programs which were then delivered via videoconference to a number of libraries in southern Alberta. A good example of partnerships and of leveraging the RISE network to deliver programs to more Albertans.
Town of Manning Library Board for their general programming
- sign language for babies
- preschool story time
- Don't Judge a Book by its Movie for young adults, which compares books and their movie adaptations
- Books on Wheels senior outreach
- Daddy and Me at the Christmas Tree
- Bedtime Stories with Lesley the Librarian, where the whole family comes for stories and snacks, with the kids dressed in their PJs and ready for bed when they get home
City of Brooks Library Board for their Project Connect initiative
This initiative helps connect immigrants to their new community. The library:
- teaches new Canadians to use information resources
- provides information on the web and in print including foreign language content
- hosts ESL classes
- provides citizenship preparation materials and workshops
Services are planned and provided in cooperation with other local organizations, minimizing duplication. The library is mentoring other rural communities in how to provide these services. The initiative fits with the local community's needs and the library's plan of service.
City of Okotoks Public Library Board for their general library services
- a welcoming atmosphere in public spaces, with locally commissioned artwork and a fireplace
- Children's Easy Section with a user friendly organizational system that makes it easy for younger patrons to find materials
- collections and services for immigrants
- videoconference programs
There is a very strong growth in library use, with a 51% increase in material circulation and a 97% increase in visits in the last 5 years. The library has a reputation for being an energetic hotbed of activity.
Town of Lacombe Library Board for their Lacombe History Lecture Series
Provides free lectures that spotlight the community's local history and traditions. Presenters are long-time residents of Lacombe or central Alberta. Example lectures:
- 'Hospital care and being a Nurse in the Lacombe hospital in 1959', presented by retired Nurse and midwife Sylvia Gillespie
- 'The Alberta Hail and Crop Insurance Corporation comes to Lacombe', presented by retired Alberta Hail and Crop Insurance Corporation manager Lou Nelson
Lectures have been very popular and successful, exceeded initial goals and objectives, and had to be moved to a larger venue to accommodate crowds. Lectures are audio taped and CD copies are available for borrowing at the library. Previously undocumented details of local history are preserved. One presenter passed away some months after delivering his lecture. During his eulogy it was mentioned how fortunate it was that he was able to share his story. Audio CDs of his lecture were made for his children and grandchildren.
City of Calgary Library Board for their Living Library program
Promotes an opportunity to learn about different social and cultural identities. Promotes respect for human rights and human dignity, and enables constructive dialogue about diversity. 'Living Books' are people who share information and experiences regarding their cultural or social identity in on-on-one conversations. Participants, or 'readers', can browse a catalogue of living books and 'borrow' one to learn about varying identities. The program was launched at 5 branches on a single day, Saturday March 21 2009, the international Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Without exception, Living Books and borrowers have given positive evaluations of their experiences. Living Book comments included: "It was a phenomenal experience for me. I think I also learn from my readers." Reader comments included: "No Ordinary Joe [a cancer survivor] should be on CNN, his story is so inspiring." The program fits the library's strategic plan and community needs assessment. The program extends the traditional well-understood model of library service in an interesting new way. Their application asserts, "once explained, people immediately 'get it' and become very enthusiastic about the natural fit with their search for information."
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