Literacy, laughter and lifelong learning in ‘the hub of the community’

In east-central Alberta, Mannville Centennial Public Library serves nearly everyone in town

In a town with a population of 838, a membership of 629 people is pretty remarkable.

“I consider us to be the hub of the community,” says Brenda Walker, manager of the Mannville Centennial Public Library. “The library has been around since 1945—the original building was actually a public restroom! Since then, the library has grown and moved locations twice.”

The Mannville Centennial Public Library, located about two hours from Edmonton in east-central Alberta, is a member of the province’s larger Northern Lights Library System.

While many may think that libraries are only used to house books, residents of all ages drop in on this community library for any number of reasons.

“We’re integrated closely with the local school and offer an accelerated reading program that works hand-in-hand with the teachers to ensure what the students are reading outside of the classroom counts toward their schooling,” says Walker.

“We offer story time for our youngest patrons, and Ms. Claus makes a guest appearance to read to our little ones around the holidays.”

Beyond books, the library is a place in town where all of its patrons can use a handful of computers. Keeping up with technology helps everyone in Mannville be successful at school and work. “Kids race down after school to see who can be the first ones on our computers,” explains Walker. “Kids can write their exams on the library computers.”

But the library isn’t just for the younger generations. In fact, many of the patrons are adults who use the space for social gatherings or to further themselves professionally.

“Those who don’t have internet at home can use the computers with or without library cards,” says Walker. “Lots of people have used the computers to create resumes and cover letters, and our library staff and volunteers help them rework what they may already have.”

Enbridge is committed to strengthening the social fabric in communities near our operations and projects, including the nearby Line 3 Replacement Program. In 2016, we invested $4.08 million in community-strengthening initiatives across Alberta, while our employee-driven 2017 United Way campaigns in Calgary and Edmonton raised $1.72 million and $1.58 million, respectively.

We recently made a $3,000 donation to the Mannville Centennial Public Library to help purchase four new computer stations—including new computer towers, monitors, keyboards and chairs.

“These new resources allow everyone in the community access to word processing, e-mail, the internet, and printing,” remarks Walker. “Some people in our community don’t have computers or internet—or sometimes both— in their homes, and rely on their local library for these essential services.”