The Chestermere Public Library received the Marigold Making a Difference Large Library Award for its "Test Drive a Hobby" kits. The Marigold Library System spans the entire province, and the Making a Difference Award celebrates an innovative library that finds creative ways to get more involved with the community, and as the name implies, make a difference.
Chestermere Public Library Marketing and Social Media Coordinator Spencer McDonald said receiving this award was a special moment.
"We were so excited, a couple of us actually teared up. We were very excited to win and be recognized for our Test Drive a Hobby kits. It just shows that a library isn't just a place for books because it's not, there's so much for libraries to give to the community and so much that we are doing and for us to be recognized is just phenomenal," she said.
While the library does many community programs, this award was specifically for their work with their Test Drive a Hobby kits, which McDonald explained is a free way for people to try a new hobby. They have 25 kits spanning from more traditional hobbies like ukulele, crochet, soap making and more unique hobbies like ghost hunting and tarot card reading.
The kits were started during the covid lockdown years, but have been so popular that they've expanded and kept it going since then. McDonald said these kits are great for the community as they allow people to try anything they might be interested in without worrying about the cost.
"We just want to make sure that before you're investing in all these hobbies, especially for the price of some of these hobbies, that you actually enjoy it or and are going to use it. The cost of just getting into a hobby is so high that investing in all of it before you even know if you like it can hurt more than it can help sometimes."
Each kit comes with the required materials and instructional books on how to get started. In some instances you can keep the results of your hobby, like keeping the soap you make from the soap-making kit for example; you just have to return the tools you used.
"It's got a camcorder, a video/audio recorder and an EMF reader and it goes through how to hunt ghosts in your area, both respectfully and trying to find something. It's super fun, we've tested it out a few times. We don't think the library is haunted, but you never know, right?" McDonald said about what the ghost hunting kit has.
Other programs the library runs include things like their various inclusivity collections, or their spring programs for kids which include daily activities for things like chess, videogames, board games, art, and more.
McDonald wanted to give a huge thank you to the City of Chestermere, as they provided the donation grant that made the hobby kits possible.
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