In May, wildfires ravaged the town of Slave Lake in northern Alberta. The community of 7,000 residents returned from an evacuation notice to find the town’s library, municipal government buildings, and radio station destroyed, plus many homes and businesses gutted.
As demolition, cleanup, and reconstruction efforts continue, the town had good reason to celebrate last Saturday as the Rotary Club of Slave Lake Public Library welcomed the community to the grand opening of its temporary location. The reopening of the library, which had been moved to a brand new facility adjoining town hall in 2009, comes largely thanks to a donations campaign mounted by the Slave Lake Regional Library Board and the Peace Library System in the days after the forest fires. Appeals for nearly new books and cash gifts have led to the library acquiring more than 14,000 materials, including books, audio books, DVDs, and computers. The temporary location will be in place for 18 months to two years while the original site is rebuilt.
In a press release, library board members and staff thank publishers, libraries, and individuals across Canada for their generosity, and acknowledge the impact their contributions have had on the town.
A library helps link together members in a community, says librarian Anne Moore. This is a very busy library and many visitors see the temporary location as a beacon of hope.