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Last Modified: June 21, 2023
Feature Image for "Alberta’s Newest Public Library Opens in Langdone": Interior shot of the Langdon Community Library. “Beyond the Stacks with Jessie Bach" is written in white text on a red background below the image.
Alberta’s Newest Public Library Opens in Langdon

Alberta’s newest public library has just opened in the Hamlet of Langdon, a community of just over six thousand people located east of Chestermere in Rocky View County. Despite its large and growing population, which includes a significant number of children and youth, Langdon residents have up to now had to travel to nearby communities such as Strathmore, Chestermere, or Carseland to access library services. Beginning in 2021, a group of citizens identified a library as a real need in the community and got to work on making it a reality.

Langdon is known as “the Good Luck Town” and the story of how the new Langdon Community Library came to be proves the nickname true! Just when they thought they might have to wait for a major infrastructure project to come through before a library would open in Langdon, they received a generous donation from the Village of Cereal. When Cereal dissolved into a hamlet in 2021, its municipal library had to close. Prior to disbanding, the Cereal Library Board, aware that folks in Langdon were hoping to open a library of their own, donated the contents of their library to Langdon. This donation was worth approximately $150,000 and contained about four thousand items, including shelving, desks, furniture, IT equipment and of course, books.

The new Langdon Community Library will be a member of Marigold Library System. Being a part of Marigold means that Langdon patrons will have access to the full range of Langdon Library LogoeResources available online at Marigold member libraries—you can see the full list of eResources here on the Langdon Library website. With their new Langdon Community Library card, community members will also have access to all the same great interlibrary loan services and online resources as other libraries in the region. Their collection will be available in the online catalogue TRACpac so that patrons can view the holdings, place hold requests, and manage their library accounts online.

To learn more about the new Langdon Community Library and what it took to get it up and running, I connected with Cori Nicholls, President of the Langdon Library Society.

Jessie Bach (JB): How did you identify the need for a public library in Langdon?

Cori Nicholls (CN): Our story is an interesting one. Langdon is a hamlet…but it’s a hamlet with a population of just over six thousand people. We have a very high youth population and a very low number of services. A library was identified as a service we needed, but it was something we didn’t think would happen until the community’s planned new recreation centre was eventually built.

JB: Tell me about the journey from identifying the need for a library, to the opening of the new facility.

CN: In late 2021, the Village of Cereal was dissolving, and they were about to lose their beloved library. As a way to have it live on, their board voted to donate their entire library—books, furniture, and all—to the community of Langdon. Suddenly, we had a library but nowhere to put it.

In early 2022, the Langdon Library Society was formed with the mission of creating a public library for the community. Our board was comprised of a diverse group of community members who had a common interest in supporting the formation of a community gathering space that supports literacy and access to information. Once the Library Society was established, the adventure began to find a space and funding to put Cereal’s generous donation to use.

Langdon Library Manager, Cori Nicholls.
Desirae Laviolette Brown, Library Manager

We decided to form partnerships with Synergy (a youth organization in Chestermere) and the Langdon Community Association to pool our resources to create a truly unique space that could meet multiple needs in our community. For the library, it would be a space to operate the library and its programming. For Synergy, who had been meeting in the Community Association’s Zamboni garage, it would mean a comfortable, clean, and safe space for youth to gather and grow. The Langdon Community Association needed meeting space and the new facility provides a smaller and more professional meeting space for community groups. Shortly after partnering, it began to feel like we had injected some magic into the project. Rocky View County loved the idea of a library and youth centre, and we were up and running.

None of us had ever opened a brand-new library before, so we relied heavily on Marigold Library System to help guide us—whether it was assistance in finding furniture, preparing our operating budget, or taking us under their wing to learn about areas of the library world with which we were unfamiliar.

In late 2022, we hired our Library Manager, Desirae Laviolette Brown. She has been instrumental in building further connections in our community and fostering relationships with local businesses.

JB: Did you encounter any hurdles or challenges as you worked towards building the new library?

CN: It is impossible to embark on a project of this scale without facing some hurdles!

Exterior of Langdon Library
Exterior of the Langdon Community Library.

Despite the size of our community, Langdon is technically a hamlet. During our initial talks with Rocky View County, there was the impression that the level of library service that worked for other, much smaller, hamlets in the area would be adequate for Langdon too. In the beginning, they even suggested installing library lending lockers, rather than a full-service library. The Library Society held tight to our belief that the community needed a bricks-and-mortar library that could also act as a much-needed gathering space.

Finding a location for the new library also presented a challenge. A new recreation centre is planned for Langdon in the future, with space for the public library included, so we had to find a space that was both suitable and temporary. We had initially hoped to take over the old Fire Hall location, but it was deemed unsuitable by the County.

Ultimately, we acquired three ATCO trailers that are now located behind the Fieldhouse in Langdon Park. Renovations on the interior of the trailers started in January 2023 and now you would never be able to tell these buildings used to live on a worksite in Northern Alberta. The Langdon Community Association took the reins on construction and found a naming partner for the facility—it will be known as the Qualico Resource Centre.

JB: Can you describe the library space?

Interior of Langdon library
Interior of the Langdon Community Library.

CN: The Qualico Resource Centre is a beautiful and welcoming space, filled with natural light. The front of the library is dedicated to our children’s section, which will include enrichment centres and a welcoming place for children to learn to love reading.

Langdon Community Library Book Drop
Langdon Community Library Book Drop

You’ll also notice our hand-painted Book Drop. It is the original book drop from Cereal that has been repainted to feature book spines around the entire box. Further back, you will find chapter books, adult and youth non-fiction, young adult fiction, and adult fiction. There are tables and chairs throughout to encourage gathering, as well as private study carrels. There is a boardroom where most of our programming will be held, and we also have a dedicated space for our two public-access desktop computers.

There are two large washrooms and a small kitchen/utility area. We will also be building a mother’s area in that space where moms can go to comfort or nurse their infants or change a diaper.

The office space provides a place for our Library Manager to manage circulation, complete paperwork, and also have a dedicated workspace for processing incoming materials.

JB: What kind of reaction have you had from the community?

CN: The community has responded with support and excitement for the new library. Many of the people we have talked to have expressed that this is a long overdue service for our community, and they are happy to see it coming.

In February, we had our “Digital Grand Opening” and started to sell memberships so residents could start using the online resources available through Marigold Library System. Since then, over 150 people have become library members!

We held our soft opening on 3 June 2023, and the community really showed up to welcome this service to the hamlet. Over the next few weeks, Synergy will also move into the space, and we will be able to really start exploring how our organizations can complement each other.

JB: Feel free to add anything else you’d like to share about the new Langdon Community Library!

CN: We are excited to be here. After two years of hard work, it is very rewarding to see the fruits of our labours. On opening day, we had the best testimonial from a four-year-old girl. After her family had checked out their new books, she could be heard telling her mom in a stage whisper, “I REALLY like this library!” We really like it, too.

JB: Thank you Cori!

The grand opening event for the Langdon Community Library will be held on 14 June 2023, at 6:00 PM. It will be held in conjunction with the opening of the Qualico Resource Centre, the community courts, and the gathering gardens, all of which have been completed in the past year.

The library will be open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM and Saturdays from 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM. Library memberships can be obtained in person at the new library, or by signing up online. Membership fees are $25 for a family, $15 for an individual, and $10 for a student or senior. According to their website, all membership fees will be used to help support the library.


About the Author:

Beyond the Stacks is a column about libraries in Alberta and the useful and necessary services they provide.

Photo of Jessie Bach, author of this article

Jessie Bach grew up on a family farm in Southern Alberta and is a lifelong library user and book lover. She has a degree in history from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Master of Library and Information Studies from Dalhousie University. Jessie has worked in archives, academic libraries, corporate records management, and now public libraries. Her current role is Communications & Engagement Manager at Marigold Library System. She currently lives in Calgary with her partner and, in true librarian fashion, three cats. Jessie likes to read (of course), knit, consume way too many true crime podcasts, and lift weights in the gym.