With roots stemming back to the 1930s, the Grimshaw Municipal Library was officially incorporated in February of 1953.
Last year, Vivianne Gayton took over as manager of the Grimshaw Municipal Library after the two previous librarians served for a combined 50 years.
Move Up interviewed Gayton to learn about the library’s history, services and programming.
How did you become involved with the library?
Gayton: I was born and raised in Grimshaw and would often visit the Grimshaw Library as a child.
As an adult, I started volunteering. Ten years ago, I became a part-time employee, which progressed to full-time. I became assistant manager and have now been the library manager for the past year.
How did the library get started?
The library originally started out as a reading room organized by the Women’s Institute in the late 1930s. During WWII, the library was disbanded and started back up in 1953. The library has been growing steadily since.
Some readers might remember when the library was in the back of Roy’s propane service in the mid ‘50s. In the 1970s, it was downstairs in the old Town Office location. It was at that time the library transitioned from the Woman’s Institute to the Town of Grimshaw Library. In the mid ‘80s, the library was in the Elks Hall.
In 2017, we moved to our beautiful new building, which is located at the south end of town between the Mile Zero Regional Multiplex and the schools.
Who were some of the previous librarians?
Grimshaw hasn’t transitioned library managers often. When I was a kid in the ‘70s, the library was located downstairs in the Town Hall. Bernice Glen was the librarian at that time, and she helped me check out my books. Bernice was the librarian for close to 20 years.
Linda Chmilar took over next, she was the library manager for 30 years. Most Grimshaw children have known the same librarian for their entire childhood. I believe it’s made the library more comfortable with a home-like feeling.
Bernice and Linda have been extremely instrumental in the success of the library. They have truly made our community a better place.
What is it like to work at the library?
I’m positive I have the best job in the world. Every day is different. It’s very satisfying to help people find the material they need or help them find something they didn’t think they would be able to find.
Our library services we provide really are a team effort. The number of hours put into the library over the years—from our board members, friends of the library group, staff and their families and community members—are quite staggering. I am so grateful to all participants.
What can people access from the library?
We have approximately 29,000 items available to borrow. We have books, DVDs, audiobooks and a wealth of e-resources that can be accessed with a library card.
In addition, the library is not limited to the materials just within our building. We can bring in books from other libraries across the province at no extra cost.
There are public computers available every day and the Wi-Fi is free.
We provide printing, fax and lamination services for minimal fees, and we can scan documents to email at no cost. We also have a radon [radio active gas] detector.
What is the Grimshaw Library known for?
We are known for thinking big and for the programs we offer. The Festival of Mini Trees and our Big Summer Reading Program are very popular. We host tea parties, author readings, book launches and more.
In the past the library has put on fashion shows, county fairs and craft shows. A few years ago, we started celebrating some special days.
We have a Star Wars Reads Day in October, Talk Like a Pirate Day in September, and a National Hot Dog Day in July. These have become annual events.
This year is our first time celebrating the Star Trek First Contact Day. We love a good opportunity to gather and bring the community together.
What are some interesting things people might not be aware of?
When we moved into this location in 2017, we remained a public library, and entered into an agreement to provide library services to Holy Family School and Grimshaw Public School.
We are proud to host 18 classes from grades K-6 in the library for weekly half-hour story times and book exchanges, which are scheduled around our public programming.
We also offer a complex outreach program. We visit daycares and senior homes. We have a mini library located on the north end of town, across from the caboose.
In the summer we have an adult tricycle that rides around town handing out books and sharing library services information.
What local organizations do you work with?
We regularly work with the following organizations to bring services to our community: Grimshaw Community Services, Grimshaw Berwyn & District Adult Learning, Lac Cardinal Regional Performing Arts, Lac Cardinal Regional Pioneer Village Museum, Family Resource Network, Grimshaw Chamber of Commerce, Peace River Regional Women’s Shelter, AHS Public Health Education and Peace River Air Monitoring Program.
We are always open to partnering with groups and organizations to bring services to our community.
For more information and to check out their upcoming events go to grimshawlibrary.ab.ca or follow them on Facebook @Grimshaw Municipal Library
Article by Laura Hanna | Photography by Cassy Milner