Our school has a great library offering a quality collection containing curriculum-connected and free-reading materials for Kindergarten to Grade 12 students. Library programs compliment school goals.
The words ‘library’, ‘books’, and ‘reading’, are shared by the school and public libraries but each library serves different functions. The school library’s mandate is to support teachers and students to facilitate learning, as described by the school and district education plans, following the Alberta Curriculum. In contrast, the public library exists to meet the learning, entertainment, and research needs of all ages, stages, cultures, ethnicities, professions, and interests of its resident population, regardless of ability.
Fortunately, the Swan Hills School Library and the Swan Hills Municipal Library have a vibrant and productive partnership. Since long before she was a PHPS Trustee, Municipal Librarian Nancy Keough was often seen in the school, providing instruction on the library’s online resources, and one-on-one literacy tutoring with young students (Early Literacy Bridging Program). Mrs. Keough and other library staff often participate in the school’s Share the Gift of a Story Christmas community readers program.
The public library also provides occasional field trips and tours each June for all elementary classes, encouraging summer visits and participation in the summer reading program. Materials are often shared back and forth and the libraries occasionally coordinate collection development to maximize the availability of popular materials and minimize expenditures on duplicate materials.
Both librarians are especially proud of the Public Library Membership Project. Because of the differing mandates (as outlined above), public or municipal libraries are able to offer services to our students that the school believes support learning in ways that the school cannot.
Students can go the public library outside of school hours for safe and engaging social and individual activities. Books, computers, and the internet are available there for research and the completion of school projects. Membership also includes access to online resources, not otherwise available to schools or the public, such as newspapers, online and electronic books, technical automobile information, maps, music, and magazines, to name just a few. Programs like the Summer Reading Program keep students reading over the summer and, best of all, comfort and familiarity with programs and services offered by public libraries will facilitate lifelong learning after students’ graduation.
For a discounted fee, the Swan Hills Municipal Library provides annual memberships to all Swan Hills School staff and students. Both institutions are tremendously grateful to local businesses for their sponsorship of this program. This years’ memberships are sponsored by the following businesses: Norstar Glass, Froggy’s Environmental Services, Meekwap Automotive, Kelly Lappin Trenching, Marriott B. Contracting, Super A. Foods, Parker’s Transport, Guye’s Backhoe Services, Wurm’s Welding, and Reeve’s Trucking.