In the wise words of Dr. Seuss, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
For youngsters in Grande Prairie and area, Grande Prairie Public Library’s Reading Buddies program offered a great opportunity to read more and build on their literacy skills over the long summer break from school. Focused on kids in Grades 1-3, the program provided a structured environment for one-on-on reading practice with volunteer teen mentors, thanks in part to the Grande Prairie Public Library Fund held at the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta. Athough this program has now ended, the benefits it brought will live on through those involved.
The grant provided annual opportunities for the kids involved to limit their summer learning loss, develop their reading skills and socialize with kids a bit older than themselves”, said Jacob Fehr, head of Children’s & Teen Services at GPPL.
“Programs such as Reading Buddies develop intergenerational relationships, particularly important in a community that welcomes so many newcomers” says library director Deborah Cryderman. “We appreciate that the Community Foundation supports lifelong literacy by providing this grant to GPPL.” Reading Buddies provided an opportunity for our young people with a place that is always welcoming and inclusive to all. These young people not only develop their reading skills, they are interacting and developing friendships with others which overall strengthens our community.
Over the past few years the GPPL has gone the extra mile to make the library a central hub for services and resources in the community. Having applied for several funding opportunities through the CFNWAB they have been able to make some of these initiatives possible.
Along with the youth led Project Full Stop: Ending Period Poverty that the GPPL received in late 2019 through the RBC Future Launch Community Challenge that provides free menstruation products in all the public washrooms at the Library, along with this were educational books on the topic that can be borrowed from the GPPL. In February 2020 the Globe and Mail released an article that they have been featured in and since then many other libraries across the province have shown interest in this type of project for their own region.
Since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Albertans have embraced the virtual world for learning, entertainment and contact with friends and loved ones. Although, not every home has access to an Internet connection. The Grande Prairie Public Library is partnering with the Government of Canada’s Emergency Support Fund, Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta and TELUS to ensure that all residents of Grande Prairie and area have the opportunity to discover online resources. Pretty Fly for a Wi-Fi: Hotspot Lending at the Library makes mobile hotspots available to borrow at GPPL. “We saw a need within our community and applied for a grant from the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta through the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund,” says Hailey McCullough, Head of Adult Services, GPPL. “Thanks to their investment, we were able to purchase 15 mobile hotspots and were pleased to have an additional unit donated by Custom Cellular, who was the vendor for this project.”
In late 2020 the GPPL also received funding through the second round of Emergency Community Support Funding for which they were able to purchase 46 Chromebooks. Anyone with a library membership is able to borrow one for up to three weeks.
“Our hope is that it will really help any resident of Grande Prairie with doing schoolwork, course work, applying for jobs, and connecting with loved ones. Basically, they can do all the things they would do at the library.” Says McCullough.
You can make a difference in our community – not only for today but forever. When you make a donation to the Grande Prairie Public Library Charitable Organization Fund, we invest that gift into a permanent endowment fund and the original gift is never spent. Earnings from your gift are distributed to the library and used as they need. Donations can be made online here – https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/40957 or by calling the Community Foundation at (780) 538-2820.