What is a Library?

May 03, 2022 Heather White

What is a Town Library?

One of the many valuable services provided to the citizens of Oyen and district is its library. Oyen has has a library for well over 50 years, but it was in the early 1980’s that high-school principal, Mr. Peter White, invited the Town Library, book-collection to be moved into SCHS. Mrs. Georgia Sullivan, the school librarian at that time, was responsible for initiating a joint library between South Central High School and the newly formed Marigold Library System. This was the beginning of the Oyen Municipal Library.

In the years since, the library has expanded and introduced many services which are enjoyed by patrons throughout Oyen and district. Funding for the library and its services is provided through grants from the Marigold Library System, Alberta Provincial Government – Public Library Services Branch, the Town of Oyen, Special Areas #3 and donations from patrons and The Friends of Oyen, Acadia Valley and Cereal (OAC) Libraries, as well as fundraising projects organized by the Town of Oyen Library Board.

In 2019 the Oyen Municipal Library was officially re-named the Town of Oyen Library. Since the library is housed in SCHS and the contents are provided by the school system and the Town library together, it is able to provide free, on-loan to patrons, a large collection of books for all ages and interests; periodicals and newspapers; audio books; DVD’s; learning kits for children; and computer and printing access; as well as offering activity programs for children, youth and adults, often in conjunction with other community services. In addition patrons become members of the Marigold Library System, enabling them to access any book in the entire System by ordering through the Oyen library or online with their TRAC membership card. E-books may also be downloaded on-loan from the System using the TRAC card. The TRAC service saw a substantial increase in activity during the period of COVID shut-downs. Today, every student in SCHS has a TRAC card.

Despite the COVID shut-downs during 2020-21, the library did not close. Although patrons could not physically enter the library, they were able to continue accessing library materials via the Curbside Pick-Up system, so efficiently conducted by the library manager, Tricia Fischbuch. The Town of Oyen Library Board is extremely grateful to Tricia for her 16 years of service to the library. Not only did she serve the patrons who could attend the library, but in her long term of service she greatly expanded the resources and programs in the library; ordered many books for the Seniors’ Lodge and Hospital Auxiliary's monthly-theme activities; maintained a running-order of audio books for certain shut-in patrons; and established a successful rapport and regular order of books on-loan to the patrons on the local Hutterite Colonies. She conducted numerous activity programs for all ages and spear-headed the Library Book Club. Tricia knew her regular patrons well and was able to successfully provide materials that met their varied interests. She has been a great asset to the library. Over the years substitute-librarians were hired to assist patrons when the library manager was not available.

In October 2021, the Board accepted Tricia’s notice of resignation and wished her well in her new endeavours. Jane Kitchen had been hired as a substitute just a few weeks earlier, and the Board have greatly appreciated her willingness to step-in full-time for 5 months, making it possible to keep the library running efficiently while she was still learning-the-ropes. At the beginning of April, the Town of Oyen Library welcomed Dayna Wilson as its new library manager.

Dayna is enthusiastic about her new job and is very quickly learning how things work, with help online from the staff of the Marigold Library System. Already, Dayna has many ideas for improvement and changes and she looks forward to welcoming patrons, old and new, to the library. Look out for an announcement to “Meet the New Librarian”. New patrons are always welcome to the library. Why not drop in and find out more about what the library has to offer for you. Books have always been a wonderful way to expand your horizons or escape from the bustle of daily life, but remember, in this day-and-age, a library is much more than books.

Town of Oyen Library hours are: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 12:00pm -5:00pm Tuesday 2:00pm – 7:00pm. Hours change during July and August. Everybody is welcome in our library.