Director's Message

Mar 30, 2021 Rachel Dick Hughes

Spring is in the air, and as construction season has ramped up, we have had many questions about the new Marigold Library System building and what it means for our library and community. To help clear up the confusion, we worked together Marigold’s CEO, Michelle Toombs, and their Communications and Marketing Specialist, Miriam Thompson to explain the role of a Library System and how it compares to the role of a public library.

There’s a growing misconception among library patrons that the Strathmore Municipal Library is packing up its books and resources and moving across the highway. Not so.

The new facility, which is located on a 6-acre parcel on Orchard and Pine near the No Frills grocery store, will house the headquarters of the Western Irrigation District (WID) and Marigold Library System- a not-for-profit collective servicing libraries in 43 municipalities, including the Town of Strathmore and the Strathmore Municipal Library at the Lambert Centre.

Marigold is not a public library, nor does it overlap services with public libraries. Local libraries provide the location (building), service (staff), programs, and community connection. Marigold provides the product, such as materials, IT infrastructure, cataloguing, consultation and behind the scenes support. The organization also supports a province-wide network of sharing print, AV and electronic resources and mail service – a cost too great for most libraries to take on themselves.

Marigold serves a population of nearly 340,000 people in the 43 municipalities that surround Calgary; this service population has tripled in 15 years. Marigold has outgrown its current space in downtown Strathmore and has been planning to move to a new headquarters facility for over ten years. Together with WID, the two community-minded organizations are building a new joint facility which will serve as an operational headquarters for both, as well as support their vision to invest in and contribute to the local community and economy.

The building construction is well underway and the WID and Marigold expect to move into the facility in fall of 2021. For more information visit www.marigoldwidcommunity.ca.

At the Strathmore Library, we are thankful to have Marigold Library System Headquarters nearby. Not only does it mean IT support is close at hand, but it also means we benefit from frequent deliveries of new and borrowed items for our patrons.

Here are some of the titles I have enjoyed this month:

  • Anxious People by Fredrik Backman – you might recognize this author from his popular novel A Man Called Ove. His newest book has all the charm of his first, but has the added fun of a mystery that pulls the rug out from under you every time you think you know what is going on. This was a wonderful read.
  • The Finder by Calgarian author Will Ferguson was another book that kept me guessing. This novel is a bit of a puzzle, jumping all over the world in search of a mysterious figure who seems to be collecting famous lost objects like Buddy Holly’s glasses and the last reel of Alfred Hitchcock’s first film. You never get the sense that you have a firm grasp of what’s going on in this one, which has led to some mixed reviews, but I enjoyed the blend of mystery, travel writing, and intriguing characters.
  • The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons was an enchanting story that brought me to tears. Eudora Honeysett is an eighty-five year old woman who has decided to end her life. When a new family moves in next door, those plans are complicated by the unstoppable affection of ten-year-old Rose. As their friendship grows, we learn more about Eudora’s past and how a promise made in childhood directed her life of sacrifice. Although the writing was a bit heavy-handed at times, the charming, well-rounded characters and the beauty of the story make this book well worth your time.
  • Don’t Label Me: An Incredible Conversation for Divided Times (alternate title: How to Do Diveristy Without Inflaming the Culture Wars) by Irshad Manji is my non-fiction recommendation. I’m only halfway through, but this book deserves reflective and thoughtful attention. The main premise of the book is that when we let labels stand in for people with whom we disagree, we disregard their individuality, reducing them to a set of stereotypes. She gives advice for approaching conversations with humility, not looking for reasons to be offended, and tackles loaded topics like freedom of expression, white fragility and safe spaces. While the subject matter is heavy, the book is incredibly readable – most chapters are under 5 pages. It took me a few minutes to get past the book’s conceit, which is that it is presented as the author’s conversation with her elderly blind rescue dog. While unusual, this format allows for some humour to lighten the tone.
  • If You Lived Here by Giles Laroche is a children’s non-fiction title that anyone interested in architecture or different cultures would enjoy. Each page shows a home from a different time and place in history, from homes carved out of a cave in Spain to floating green houses in the Netherlands. Descriptions provide reasons for each home’s unique features, and a map at the end of the book helps you situate them in the world. The artist’s hand-cut collage illustrations are intricate and masterful.

If you live here, we hope to see you come down to the library to discover something new this month. It is a delight to be able to welcome you back to browse the shelves and find something to make you laugh, cry, or get you thinking.

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