December 14, 2017

Edmonton Public Library Engages Elder in Residence

As part of its commitment to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation movement, the Edmonton Public Library (EPL), Alberta, appointed its first Elder in Residence. In February Elder Wilson Bearhead, a cultural educator and member of the Wabamun Lake Indian Band in Treaty 6 territory, began a yearlong engagement at EPL, where he will connect with library customers one-on-one to share his knowledge about Indigenous customs, culture, and knowledge.

Canadian Libraries Help Fort McMurray Fire Evacuees

The wildfire that ravaged the city of Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada, for more than two weeks forced the evacuation of some 88,000 residents—many of them making their way to Edmonton, the nearest large city, and some as far south as Calgary. Throughout the area, local services stepped up to help the evacuees, from shipments of food, bottled water, and diapers to prepaid debit cards to a Facebook page that gathered donations of prom dresses for teenagers forced to flee without their clothing. Edmonton and Calgary public and academic libraries did their parts as well, ensuring access to library services, providing library cards to evacuees, and doing outreach at evacuation centers.

Edmonton Public Library Adds Homeless Outreach to Five New Branches

One of the many reasons Alberta’s Edmonton Public Library (EPL) was chosen as Gale/LJ Library of the Year for 2014 is its commitment to community services. In particular, EPL’s outreach program to support the city’s homeless population is a necessary initiative in a rapidly growing urban center—Canada’s fifth-largest municipality—where temperatures rarely rise above freezing from November through March. Not only has the program survived the loss of its province-based funding, with the library system itself stepping in to cover costs, but this winter EPL’s outreach will expand to five additional branches on a pilot basis.