The number of people using the Grande Prairie Public Library has jumped 20 percent in each of the last two years.
Library Director Maureen Curry says usage goes up when there is a downturn in the economy.
“It’s certainly a way to fill the need in people’s lives when expenses are looking to be cut and, of course, all our programs are free and so it provides learning opportunities and entertainment, as well as just visiting the library for free is a way of bringing the family together for an outing.”
Curry says people still prefer printed books over electronic ones.
“A few years ago, we certainly saw an increase in the use of e-books and it was quite a new, novel thing. (It) quickly became extremely popular and every year, we saw an increase in the usage. In Grande Prairie, we have seen more of a levelling off.”
The number of visitors to the Grande Prairie Public Library averaged over 1000 per day in 2016. Total visits were 377,181.
Meantime, Curry has been given the Pat Jobb Award by The Alberta Library in recognition of work by local staff to eliminate membership fees and bring in new programs, among other things.
“Those were just two examples of ways that I and my staff have been able to maximize the service by eliminating membership fees and providing truly open and universal access to everyone and also, with technology, to recognize the needs of the community.”
Jobb, who passed away in 2012, was the Director of the Peace Library System from 1989 to 1995.