On Valentine's Day in 1977, the County of Strathcona Municipal Library (as it was know then) opened in the basement of the newly constructed County Hall in Sherwood Park, after a grassroots petition by community members to establish a library.
Here are five things you may not know about the library's history!
1. Heather-Belle Dowling served as our first director until retirement in 1986.
She was also president of the Sherwood Park & District Chamber of Commerce from 1979–80.
2. The first bookmobile was a converted Blue Bird school bus.
In 1982, the library's first bookmobile hit the road, making bi-weekly stops to serve the county's rural residents. It was designed by staff member Pat Babb and Director Heather-Belle Dowling and built by carpenters in our county Facilities Department. Helen Lavender was our first Bookmobile driver.
3. The second bookmobile was donated to Slave Lake after their library was destroyed by wildfire in 2011.
Stocked with donations from the community, staff members drove the retired bookmobile to Slave Lake so that they could use it as a temporary library.
This bookmobile was built in Coaldale, served Fort McMurray before coming to us, and after Slave Lake was used by Cold Lake Public Library to serve their rural surrounding area until 2015. It gets around!
4. The library automated its integrated library system in 1992.
That was when we said goodbye to the card catalogue! Circulation was automated earlier using punch cards and a giant primitive computer processor. This automated system checked out the millionth item in 1994, which is also the year the library set up its first public access computer.
5. "Lucretia Flowfire" was the name of the dragon that guarded the children's area when the library was in the mall.
Her name was chosen by children and she was part of a castle design theme. The first County Hall library had a train in the children's area, and currently we house an enchanted forest. It features a memorial painting for former staff member Jackie Shaw.
Tell us what your favourite children's area is in the poll!