Hus­sar Li­brary closes, board looks for fu­ture op­tions

The Drumheller Mail - - NEWS - Kyle Smylie The Drumheller Mail

When Hus­sar School closed its doors for the last time at the end of June, the Hus­sar Mu­nic­i­pal Li­brary marked the end of a chap­ter, and the small com­mu­nity is tem­po­rar­ily with­out most li­brary ser­vices.

The con­sol­i­da­tion of Hus­sar School into the new Wheat­land Crossing School has left the Hus­sar li­brary with­out a home.

“The li­brary board didn't feel that sus­tain­ing a li­brary in a school that's not be­ing oc­cu­pied and needs re­pair would be a fi­nan­cially vi­able op­tion,” said Marigold Li­brary Ser­vices CEO Michelle Toombs.

“We can't af­ford a fa­cil­ity,” said board mem­ber Kathy Dun­das. “And there isn't a space avail­able to use right now.”

Golden Hills School Divi­sion had of­fered sale of the build­ing to both the Vil­lage of Hus­sar and the com­mu­nity and both de­clined to pur­chase the build­ing due to over­head costs and main­te­nance, said li­brary board mem­ber Wendy Kaiser.

The build­ing will likely be put up for sale by the school divi­sion, but if there are no buy­ers, it may be de­mol­ished.

Kaiser said there has been dis­cus­sion with the lo­cal ag so­ci­ety about po­ten­tially adding onto the Hus­sar arena a smaller li­brary, read­ing rooms, and vil­lage of­fice space.

In the mean­time, Dun­das said the li­brary will con­tinue to of­fer the sum­mer read­ing pro­gram un­til fall but the fate of fu­ture li­brary ser­vices is still un­cer­tain as the board dis­cusses op­tions, such as con­tin­u­ing to fa­cil­i­tate mem­ber­ships for the com­mu­nity, main­tain­ing a best-seller ro­tunda at some lo­ca­tion in Hus­sar, and even the pos­si­bil­ity of pur­chas­ing a “smart locker” stor­age unit, which would have mem­bers scan their membership cards in or­der to gain ac­cess to books they've re­quested for de­liv­ery.

“It would re­ally be a neat con­cept that I know would work here,” said Dun­das. “But it's up in the air right now.”

Marigold re­cently launched a locker in Air­drie and has been look­ing at the pos­si­bil­ity of open­ing more in other com­mu­ni­ties, said Marigold CEO Toombs.

Mem­bers can con­tinue to or­der books for mail de­liv­ery, ac­cess Marigold's ebook li­brary and on­line ser­vices, and can still ac­cess ser­vices from nearby Marigold li­braries such as in Drumheller.

But the clo­sure of Hus­sar's li­brary is still a loss for the com­mu­nity says Dun­das.

“Our li­brary had a very strong membership and was used quite ex­ten­sively. It was busy. We had af­ter school pro­gram­ming, quite of­ten peo­ple would use the pub­lic ac­cess com­put­ers for go­ing on­line and print­ing.”

Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are re­spon­si­ble for their li­brary ser­vices, re­quired to pro­vide the lo­ca­tion, staffing, pro­grams, front­line ser­vice, and op­er­ated by an au­ton­o­mous board. Li­brary fund­ing comes through coun­cil al­lo­ca­tions and pro­vin­cial fund­ing, as well as lo­cal fundrais­ers.

Marigold pro­vides th­ese li­braries with ser­vices such as IT and tech­ni­cal sup­port, cat­a­logue ser­vices, pro­fes­sional con­sul­ta­tion, de­liv­er­ies, and pur­chases ma­te­ri­als for place­ment in the cir­cu­la­tion cat­a­logue. Marigold also gives some money back into lo­cal li­braries to al­low re­source shar­ing be­tween mem­ber li­braries through­out the prov­ince.

The li­brary's book col­lec­tion has not been dis­posed of yet, but the board said they likely will be in the fu­ture.

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