Summer at the Library

1 July 2017

School’s out for summer which means the Summer Reading Program with Teagan will be getting under way. From July 12 till August 23 there will be two sessions run each Wednesday.  Four to six year olds start at 10 am and seven to ten year olds begin at 11:10 am. These are free sessions of reading, crafts and games with prizes and rewards to further the love of reading. There will be plenty of outside activities to get the kids out into the sunshine. Participants also get access to the secret content on the Summer Reading Program website.  Make sure you sign up as registration is required. We will also be having our family movie nights on Thursdays as well as some other activities on weekends such as the Stuffie Sleepover. Stay tuned for more details.

The library was pleased to host the Second Annual Local Writers’ Groups get together on June 11. Three local groups -Millarville Community Church Writers’ Group, Monday Morning Writers and the library’s very own Poetry by the Fireside – spent the afternoon listening to each other’s work which covered a wide spectrum. Stories about life up North, cowboy poetry, humorous poems, snippets of autobiographies, recollections of missionary trips and hilarious fictional stories were shared and well received. If you are interested in finding out about any of these groups please ask us at the library and we will point you in the write (right) direction!  Our Poetry by the Fireside group meets monthly and is facilitated by Doris Daley who sends out a photo each month to be an inspiration for an original poem. For June, the theme was Canada’s 150th birthday. What follows here, is my response to that theme. Enjoy!
Canada 150 Poem by Jan Burney
Said the Queen to Prince Phillip as she sipped her tea
“Have you heard what’s happening in the colonies?
A great celebration, in Canada, in July
We’ve been invited, how should we reply?
It appears a great milestone has been reached very quickly
Its birthdays now number one hundred and fifty.”
Prince Phillip looked up and with disdain did question
“So it only started in 1867?
My dear, don’t you realize that by that same date
We Britons had already much to celebrate.
The Battle of Hastings which William won
Counted anniversaries of eight hundred and one.
The Magna Carta, let’s give it its due
Had been in effect for six hundred fifty two
We had buildings like the church of St Peter’s on the Wall
Standing in place for six centuries and more.
When Shakespeare was pondering whether to be or not
There were two hundred and fifty eight years in the pot
Buckingham palace home to me and you
Had been here solidly for one hundred sixty two.
Think of the battles, the wars, the Armada
Our victories are countless, our resolve even harder.
One hundred and fifty! Oh what a laugh!
You’ve been the monarch for almost half.
A year -long party for a sesquicentennial
When England could celebrate its own millennial?
They need more centuries under their belt
Congratulations then would be more heart felt.
So send your reply to Trudeau the younger
“We won’t be setting our feet on your tundra.”
One fifty is nothing to celebrate
Send him the youngsters; send Will & Kate.

Books, Books and More Books!

1 June 2017

There is nothing a bibliophile likes more than a book sale. Running your fingers along the spines of books looking for those favourite authors; the thrill of discovering a never read volume or recognizing a long -time favourite from your childhood, is a feeling all book lovers understand. One of my greatest finds at another library’s book sale was a signed first edition by a famous author. (I will neither divulge the title nor the library that foolishly let me walk away with this item for a mere $2!). In order to be able to indulge you properly, we are currently collecting books for our annual book sale on Saturday, June 3. We accept everything except sets of encyclopaedias, Reader’s Digest condensed books and textbooks.  These items do not sell well and we end up recycling them. As part of the Discovery Days festivities we will again set up carts of books under our veranda and you can peruse them at your leisure from 11 am-3 pm right after the Diamond Valley Parade. Purchase as many items as you can carry for 25c a piece.  What we don’t sell is sent to Better World Books and they distribute them to libraries in the developing world or sell them. A portion of the profits supports both our library and other literacy organisations. When you drop off donated books, please bring them into the library. Do not put them in the outside drop box which is for returning library items only. Whether you are donating books or not, we hope to see you at the sale on June 3. Our Sheep River Ramblers group will have an information table set up at this event as well. If you are interested in our walking or hiking groups you can talk with knowledgeable people and sign up to be on the e mail list. We also invite you to come inside the library that day and view the Indigenous book display from Marigold, and the Art display of black and white photographs by Maureen Hills in the gallery space.  We were very pleased to have had Chester Lees’ paintings here earlier in the spring and are happy to announce that many of the works were sold which made for a very successful show.

Of course, the library is not just about books. Along with our walking poles, snowshoes and tools, we now have bikes! On May 20 we launched the Start the Cycle program in partnership with the High Country Wellness Coalition. Between the May and September long weekends you will be able to take out a bicycle on your library card. If you want to bike over to Black Diamond or head up to Sandy McNabb on two wheels you will be able to do so. There are six bicycles available for adults and children with helmets provided for your physical safety. For the legal protection, a waiver form needs to be filled in one time only for the 2017 season and parents must sign these for children.  People are amazed at the range of items that are available to be borrowed and often ask us what will be next. Just to be clear – it is unlikely that you will ever be able to take out livestock on your card.

As summer approaches (slowly but surely) we would remind you that the library will continue to open on the Saturdays and Statutory days of long weekends (Noon-4 pm) as the library also functions as the Visitor Information Centre for the area. All library services are available during these hours. Our Summer Reading Program will also begin the second week of July and run for 7 weeks on Wednesdays with our fabulous co-ordinator, Teagan. There will also be Family Movie Nights and some fun weekend activities. (We will have a fuller description of what is on offer in the next edition of the High Country News.) Please go to for more information and details on how to register for any of our summer events.  

Spring at the Library

1 May 2017

We are pleased to have Ian Wilson and Jacinthe Lavoie return to the library for another one of their fabulous audio visual presentations, Thursday May 4 at 7:00 pm. In previous years we have seen their multi-media shows on the wildflowers of both Waterton and Banff National Parks. This year their talk will feature the wildlife of the Rockies. Ian and Jacinthe will share their personal encounters with the hoofed, clawed, and winged creatures of the Rockies ... from beavers and bears, to birds and butterflies.  Call the library to reserve your seat.  Coming up at the end of the month (Tuesday, May 30) members of Foothills Search and Rescue will be teaching a Navigation Class. This is a good opportunity to brush up on your map reading ability and compass skills. We still have room in our spring Scanning Lab classes.  In the class you will learn everything you need to know to scan photos and slides into a digital format from our expert, Les.  Once you have completed the class you will be able to use the equipment on your own. Scanning Lab classes will be on Wednesday, May 10 at 7:00 pm and Wednesday, June 14 at 10:00 am. With the longer days and (slowly) warming temperatures we all look forward to Parade Day and Discovery Days on Saturday June 3.  As usual, the library will be holding its annual book sale just outside the front doors from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. All items will be 25 cents. From now until the sale the library will happily receive donated items for the sale which Doris, our resident cowboy poet and also expert sorter of books, will organize into categories for the event.  Books, DVDs and CDs must be in good condition. We cannot accept text books, encyclopaedia sets or Reader’s Digest condensed books as these items cannot be sent to Better World Books. This organization takes books that are unsold at the end of the sale. We try as hard as possible to keep books out of landfills.

As summer approaches the library will once again take on the role of providing visitor information services for the area. This means that on the long weekends from May to September, the library will be open on the Saturday and Monday from noon to 4:00 pm. All library services will be available during those hours (circulation desk, computers, wifi) as well as visitor information. 

In order to provide the many wonderful programs we have at the library we rely heavily on funding from the Friends of the Sheep River Library Foundation. They work tirelessly on writing grant proposals and running fundraisers. They also work a casino every 2-3 years which brings in a large amount of funding and the next casino is on June 14 & 15. Volunteers are still need to fill some of the positions.  If you  have the time and have enjoyed the authors, performers or musicians we have had at the library then please contact the library to see about volunteering in this capacity.

Writers at the Library

27 April 2017

It seems that over the past few months Canadians have had to bid a final farewell to so many of our great wordsmiths: Leonard Cohen in November, Stuart McLean in February and in more recent days, Richard Wagamese. All of these wonderful writers shared their life experiences through their unique voices, in turn provoking us to thought, laughter or tears. Many times they shed light on issues far removed from our everyday life, giving us a personal perspective that now lives on in the pages of their books, recordings of stories or songs. For those of us who were privileged enough to hear Richard Wagamese speak at the library as part of the Out Loud Series in 2014, the loss is especially poignant. To listen to his personal journey from homeless teen to Calgary Herald journalist; his struggles with alcohol and his history with Residential schools, did not leave any one unaffected. It was a powerful evening, particularly when he spoke of the role that libraries had played in his life, providing a place for a homeless teen to spend the day where he could read. It was here that Richard learned about the arc of narrative and what makes good writing. He was always profoundly thankful that the staff gave him free access to the collection at the Toronto Public Library. This sentiment is penned by him in my personal copy of Indian Horse, “For Jan, thanks for the availability of the stacks…”

Richard’s story got me thinking about all the ways libraries collaborate with writers. We can be the place where they write, or where writers meet together to talk about their work with other authors. Many times the library is the source of research necessary for a piece of writing whether it be an article or a novel. One of the ways we work with authors which is probably the most fun is a book launch. This occurs when all the work is done and the finished product is now a tangible object with printed pages bound between covers with professional artwork, bearing the name of the author. Over the past six years we have had numerous book launches for local authors. Our most recent was for Anya Unbound by Dan Carruthers. This novel is set in the Yukon where the author lived for many years. The protagonist, Sean finds Anya, a young Polish girl who has escaped from human traffickers.  Although the book is clearly a suspenseful read it also sheds light on the growing problem of human trafficking, an issue most of us know little about. The book is now available in our collection, along with many others written by people from our own community, which is another way we work together to support these efforts.

I’ll leave you with the final words from Indian Horse:

Everyone dropped their sticks in the centre-ice circle. I skated in and began pushing sticks towards each blue line. When they were all cleared from the centre, the teams were set. Virgil was on the opposite team. He skated to the faceoff circle.

     I met him there. At least eighteen of us were on the ice.
    “How are we gonna do this?” I asked.
    “Gotta hit the post to call it a goal. No raising the puck.”
    “No, I mean with all these people. How are we gonna play the game?”
     He smiled and tapped my stick with his. “Together,” he said. “Like we shoulda all along.”
     I smiled. He won that first face off, but I didn’t care.

February News

1 Feb 2017

I would like to draw your attention to programs that have been added since the publication of our guide and brochure. Starting on Wednesday February 1 at 7:00 pm we have Exploring the Arduino. Now, if you’re anything like me your first question will be, “What the heck is Arduino?”  Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. Arduino boards are able to read inputs - light on a sensor, a finger on a button, or a Twitter message - and turn it into an output - activating a motor, turning on an LED, publishing something online. There –that cleared it up for you, didn’t it? No electronic experience is necessary, just curiosity, wonder and a willingness to learn something new. Come along and have loads of fun with basic breadboard electronics.

If your interest lies outside the world of electronics and more towards finance then come along on the 3rd Thursday of the month for a series of presentations by the Royal Bank which will cover topics such as investing, mortgages and student financing. The first session will begin Thursday, February 16 at 7:00. For more details please call the library.

A little further off, but worth making note of now is a Navigation Course by Search & Rescue on Tuesday May 30 at 7:00 pm. As the weather warms and the days lengthen many of us long to be out on hikes in the wonderful wilderness that surrounds us. What better way to prepare for this than to brush up on map and compass skills.

Of course, you don’t have to wait for the snow to go to get out and enjoy the local trails. The Sheep River Ramblers walking and hiking groups remain active throughout the winter months. If you are interested in joining please come into the library and fill out a form. As soon as we have your e mail you will be added to the list and will receive information about all upcoming outings. Remember, you can take hiking poles, snow shoes and micro spikes out with your library card. Our snowshoes are available in small, medium, large and children’s sizes.

Spring cleaning season is almost upon us and many of you will have books you want to get rid of. We are happy to take your used books so long as they are in good condition and are not more than five years old for fiction and 10 years old for non-fiction. We are unable to take text books, Readers’ Digest Condensed books and encyclopaedias. Please bring all donated books into the library rather than deposit them in our drop box.

Some other programs to remind you of:
·       Newcomers Night (Friday, April 28, 7:00 pm) Come and get information on municipal and social services, library programs and other community groups.
·       Austentatious Book Club (2nd Friday at 10:30 am) February’s selection is Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
·       Conversational French (First Wednesday at 3:15 pm)
·       Dogtooth Mountain Film Group (2nd Mondays at 7:00 pm)
·       Quilting and Sewing (Every Tuesday at 7:00 pm at the large table)

See you at the library soon.

November News

01 November 2016

October has come and gone and with it our Out Loud series. This year we had a tremendous line up with The Wardens, Bruce Innes, Doris Daley and Gary Allegretto presenting concerts filled with wonderful music, stories and much laughter. We had 72 people who learned to play harmonica with Gary at his workshop. That’s a lot of harmonicas all playing at once, but remarkably, it sounded great! We are expecting to see a plethora of Blues musicians in the region.

You may think that the library would be done with concerts for a while, but this is not the case. We are thrilled to announce that we will be having Carolyn Arends perform on Friday, December 2, at 7:00pm. Carolyn is a Canadian Contemporary Christian musician, songwriter, and author, based in Surrey, British Columbia. She is the winner of multiple Dove and Covenant Awards and is also the author of several books including Feel Free, Living the Questions: Making Sense of the Mess and Mystery of Life and Wrestling With Angels: Adventures in Faith and Doubt. Carolyn will be performing a number of her hit songs, music from her Christmas Album as well as reading excerpts from her books. She will be appearing with her musical partner Spence Capier who accompanies on guitar, fiddle and mandolin. FREE tickets for this concert will be available November 8 at the circulation desk. Because we have such an amazing Friends Foundation who fund our concerts, tickets are only required for our limited seating.

The following day, on Saturday, December 3, at 2pm we will be saying farewell to our current Board Chair, Diane Osberg, who is moving to Calgary. Diane has been the chair of the Library Board for almost nine years and has been responsible for implementing many of our award winning programs and promoting the tremendous growth our library has seen in that time. She worked tirelessly to see the new facility built which tripled the size of the library. If I were to record all that she has done it would take the entire issue of the High Country News to do it, so if you want to find out about her accomplishments and join us in praising her for all her efforts please come on December 3. There will be cake – mostly to console Jan, who has been dreading this day since she took over the manager’s position in 2011. Diane will be greatly missed in her role, but we wish her all the best in her move to a new location.
Our new scanning lab is up and running in Room 2. If you have slides or photos that you wish to convert to a digital format,then you can now do so free of charge. Your images will be protected for future generations to appreciate and you can downsize on storage space. Please call the library so we can set up a time for you to use the equipment. Individual instruction is available. Also, as part of our new Makerspace endeavor we will be offering a tool library in the near future. You will be able to check out tools such as drills, hammers, and other noisy, thumpy thingies to use in your home projects. We will have a full list available with all the correct names for you to peruse.  All you need is your library card and once again you can save money but not needing to buy these items that you only use infrequently.

For more information on any of our events and programs, as always, please go to

October News

1 October 2016

Out Loud 2016: Our Wild and Wonderful West got off to a fantastic start with The Wardens concert on October 1. What a night, with their excellent music, a mix of new songs and old favourites, and wonderful stories all accompanied with a slide show. Next up in our Out Loud line up is Irene Kerr from the Museum of the Highwood who will be giving her talk on pioneer women, “The Missus”. Just come to the library on Thursday October 13 if you wish to attend.

On October 15, Doris Daley and Bruce Innes will be presenting “100 years of Thunder” – a salute to the Calgary Stampede’s centennial. Doris’ original western poetry, interposed with Bruce’s original songs highlight many facets of the Stampede from the rodeo to pancake breakfasts. At time of writing, all tickets for this event are spoken for, but you can add your name to the waiting list in case any tickets are returned.  Following this, on Wednesday, October 19, we have Gary Allegretto coming up from California. Gary is a celebrated singer/songwriter who is a master on the blues harmonica. Gary will be sharing on the role the harmonica played in the development of music in the West. There are a few tickets left for Gary’s first time visit to Canada. Gary will be following his concert with a harmonica workshop on October 20. For $20 you get a lesson and a harmonica and Gary assures us that you can learn to play in 90 minutes. If you are interested in becoming a harmonica virtuoso, then please call and sign up at the library. At present, Jan has 96 harmonicas sitting in her office and she would love to see them distributed far and wide!

Coming up on Thursday, November 3 at 7:00pm, we have Pam Clarke at the library to talk about her recently published book Kalyna. In this novel, Pam has created an engaging protagonist, together with a plot that grabs and holds the reader’s attention. She shines the light of fiction on a period when hundreds of Ukrainians who moved to the Canadian ‘promised land’ of the west and established homes in soddies then more permanent buildings. However, with the onset of the First World War many were sent into forced labour camps, often leaving wives and children on farms recently hacked out of the wilderness. A kiosk in Banff commemorates the Ukrainian Internment camp established during this time. Pam grew up in Edmonton close to Edna-Star. Kalyna is her first novel and is a tribute to her Ukrainian Canadian heritage and prairie home.

If you want to get a good deal and support the library at the same time then please purchase the AG Foods “Fill Your Basket” Coupon book. Each book contains $50 of coupons to be used at Country Food Mart and only costs $10 which the library gets to keep! Coupon booklets are available at the circulation desk until the end of October.

If you have a child/children attending either Turner Valley School or C. Ian McLaren, don’t forget to redeem your voucher for a free family membership. These vouchers are provided by Mark Mueller at Country Food Mart who covers the cost of the membership. Having a card gives your whole family access to our collection, equipment and e-resources. Just ask at the desk and we can show you how you can save money on subscriptions and other fees for e-resources. So, hopefully, we will see you the library soon!

June News

14 June 2016

And the winner is…
Many creative endeavours have their awards: movies have the Oscars, TV has the Emmys and music has the Grammys. Although not so well known, libraries too have their moment in the spotlight when they are recognised for excellence in delivering library service. Sheep River Library has had more than its fair share of awards over the past five years from both the province and the Marigold Library System, including the most recent “Making A Difference Award” presented to the staff at the Marigold Libraries Workshop on May 11. The plaque was given in recognition of our Schollaboration Project which is our collaboration with all our local schools. This covers the free kindergarten memberships courtesy of AG Country Food Mart, author visits with the elementary schools and the library card initiative with Oilfields High School enabling all students to access educational e-resources available through the Marigold Library System. We are thrilled to be the recipient of another award and the only problem it creates is that our “bragging” shelf is quite full. Of course, there is never any time to rest on our laurels as we are always on to the next thing, which in this case is our Makerspaces project. We are pleased to announce that our application for New Horizons funding was accepted and we received just over $19,000 from the Federal Government to get our Makerspaces underway. We will install new cupboards in our large meeting space to hold equipment for quilting, card making and other crafts. We are also purchasing tools for household repairs that can be taken out just like a library book. These tools are specifically designed for seniors in that they are lightweight and easy to hold and operate. In addition to all this, we will also acquire a scanner that transforms slides into digital format. You can reduce all those unwieldly boxes of slides to one CD. You can also unload that dusty slide projector you never use!  We will be offering training and classes for all of these areas in the fall, so check our website or pick up a brochure toward the end of the summer.

Time is fast approaching for our Summer Reading Program for children aged 4-10. This year’s theme is “Wild.” Teagan is all set to provide a fun filled hour of stories, crafts, games and activities. The first session, 10-11am, is for four to six year olds. A slightly longer session for seven to ten year olds follows at 11:10am. Summer Reading Program starts on Wednesday, July 13 and will run until August 24. For more information, go to our website or pick up the brochure at the library. Once again, Thursday nights will be Family Movie Night. Check our Facebook page, website or the outside signs for titles each week.

Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
Henry James

May News

31 May 2016

Annual Book Sale Returns!
Spring is here and it is time for seasonal activities such as gardening and spring cleaning. If you are decluttering your house and looking for a place to drop off boxes of books you have amassed over the years then bring them to the library. We are collecting books for our annual book sale on Saturday, June 4. We accept everything except sets of encyclopaedias, Reader’s Digest condensed books and textbooks.  These items do not sell and we end up recycling them. As part of the Discovery Days festivities we will again set up carts of books under our veranda and you can peruse them at your leisure from 11am-4pm right after the Diamond Valley Parade. Purchase as many items as you can carry for 25c a piece.  What we don’t sell is sent to Better World Books and they distribute them to libraries in the developing world or sell them. A portion of the profits supports both our library and other literacy organisations. When you drop off donated books, please bring them into the library. Do not put them in the outside drop box, which is for returning library items only. Whether you are donating books or not, we hope to see you at the sale on June 4. You never know what treasure you may discover!

The circulation desk will be closed on Wednesday, May 11 for the entire day (10am -8pm) to allow all the staff to attend the Marigold Libraries’ Workshop in Strathmore. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience. The conference side of the building will be open for scheduled programs, so if you are signed up for any Literacy for Life programs or the iPad class, they will run as advertised. We are committed to having staff that can provide you with the best service possible which means we need to take advantage of training opportunities as they arise.
Last summer the library served as the Visitor Information Centre for the Town of Turner Valley as a pilot project. The library has now taken on that role in a more official capacity which means we have extended  our operating hours. To facilitate visitor information services the library will now be open 12pm-4pm on the Saturdays and Statutory days of long weekends. Full library service will be available during this time including circulation desk, public computers and wifi. We also have brochures available in our entry way for visitors to our area.

Coming soon to our library – bicycles! Yes, along with walking poles, snowshoes and pedometers, you will soon be able to take out a bike with your library card. We are working in partnership with the High Country Wellness Coalition to provide this service. Check out the HCWC table at Discovery Days for more information. Details will be posted at when the program is ready to roll.

For a full list of all programs and events please check our website or call 403-933-3278. 

February News

16 February 2016

Come Celebrate With Us

It’s hard to believe but the Sheep River Library has been at its new location in its beautiful new building for FIVE YEARS! Yes, in early April of 2011, all the contents of the old library were packed up and moved to Main Street in Turner Valley. We have seen many changes and lots of growth in that time. We have more than doubled our membership from 1300 to 2700 cardholders.  Our annual visits have increased from 15,000 to almost 40,000 per year and we now run over 500 programs a year with more than 7,000 attendees. We are excited! So we need to celebrate. We will be hosting a 5th anniversary party on Saturday, March 19 from 1 pm -3 pm. There will be cake, displays and awesome prizes. Please mark the date on your calendar and plan to attend.

Once again we are pleased to be able to bring you the Winter Video Conference Series put on by Alberta Environment: Footprints on the Landscape. These televised lectures will be on Tuesdays at 7pm throughout February and March. On February 16 John Campbell will be presenting, Do you like to dance?  which will be looking at the secrets of the sharp-tailed grouse. This lecture also features the National Geographic award winning photographer Ken Gribbin. On February 23, the topic is The Waterton Biosphere Association and the Blackfoot Challenge: Sharing the Range. Ranchers from both sides will share their perspective and methods they have used to meet the challenge of sharing the range. March 1 will have Andrea Morehouse speaking on the Southwest Alberta Grizzly Monitoring Project. March 15’s topic is on the Dutch Creek Restoration Project and finishing up on March 22 there will be a lecture on Fire Management in Waterton Lakes National Park. This talk will look at prescribed and wildfire experiences.

For those avid Downton Abbey fans we commiserate with you as the series comes to an end. To ease the pain of its passing (what will we do now without the Dowager Duchess’s wonderful one-liners?), we are going to have another Downton Abbey get together complete with costumes, tea and scones and watch the final episode together on Sunday March 6 at 4 pm. (This is the same day the final episode will air on PBS). So, get out your hats, gloves and finest 1925s garb and join us as we farewell Lord and Lady Grantham, the Crawleys and those who scurry about below stairs.

Don’t forget about our other programs running in February and March such as How to Solve Cryptic Crosswords (February 25), Meat Lover’s Special (February 24 & 25), Computer Basics and Basics + (Starting February 24). For a complete list of all programs please go to or pick up a brochure at the front desk.  For those who need help with e-readers or downloading e-books in general, please note that we have set aside Friday afternoons for this purpose. Call the library and set up an appointment with Gita, our resident e-resource and most things technical expert.

See you on March 19 for our 5th anniversary celebration!