The Okotoks Public Library recently held an event to honour its many donors.

Fundraising has been a big focus for the library board for the last two years, with the move to their new location posing a significant financial hurdle for them considering they needed to fill out a 66 per cent increase in space compared to the old library.

Through fundraising, sponsors, and donors, over $168,000 has been raised for the new location.

The March 24 event included a tour for the major donors, many of whom had previously been given a tour when the new location first opened, and hadn't yet been given a rundown of all the library's newer features.

Acting manager Sarah Gillie says it was a chance for donors to directly see the impact they've had on the facility.

"The money that we raise through these donors, every dollar went right back into the library. We purchased essentially all-new furniture, study furniture, lounge furniture. When you see those items, that was in part from all of our generous donors. We've also purchased supplies and equipment for programs, so for example, we purchased these great little round cushions for our storytimes that we run so that the children have something to sit on."

Other notable contributions include an early learning centre sponsored by Aecon, a children's room sponsored by the Okotoks Lions Club, and literacy kits funded by 100 Women Who Care Foothills.

A sculpture depicting a person carrying a precariously-stacked pile of books was also donated by Linda LeGeyt and Larry Paterson.

imagine sculpture

Gillie says it was very fitting, considering the circumstances.

"It was around the time when we were getting ready to move into our new space and they thought it represented not only the move but with the books, literacy, and learning. It's been named 'Imagine,' and we're looking forward to having that out on the floor in the  library for everyone to enjoy."

She says it's been amazing being able to hold this kind of event in the new library since this kind of thing wouldn't have been possible when they first opened.

"With public health restrictions being lifted, we've been so excited to offer in-person programming, and now we can encourage people to gather. Libraries are no longer the quiet space where you come to check out a book, they're community spaces, they're gathering spaces. We're just so pleased we're able to encourage gathering and socializing at the library and offering the various programs. It's just been such a wonderful experience welcoming everyone back into the library."

Mayor Tanya Thorn shared the sentiment, taking note of the broad range of donors.

"It's a diverse group of people that are donating to the library but I think that is reflective of the diverse group of people that utilize the library. If you haven't been to the library in the recent past, I would encourage you to come and see all the things that exist in this library and all the services being provided. It always amazes me, the new programs and diversity of things you can do. It's not just about books anymore."

Those interested in donating can find more info on the library's website.

library donor wallA wall in the library dedicated to honouring its major donors.