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Library programming full steam online

The St. Albert Public Library has programs that patrons can attend and participate in from the comfort of their homes. Online book clubs, virtual escape rooms, book clubs, crafting, and more await through the library's various social media channels.
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St. Albert Public Library children's programmer Drew Thomas holds up a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone during an online edition of the Paperback Kids Book Club that was held on Facebook Live on March 26. The book will be the subject of discussion for the next club meeting coming on social media from 4 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 9. A Facebook account is not required to view the event and a recording of the meeting will remain on the library's Facebook page for 48 hours afterward as well. Look for it on the library's various social media channels. Links can be found on its website at

A librarian never sits idle, especially with hundreds – nay, thousands – of eager readers out there with oodles of couch time on their hands. While people wait for the St. Albert Public Library to reopen its doors, its social media channels are buzzing with tons of programs being broadcast live and in living colour.

Simply put, there’s a lot going on, explained the library’s communications specialist Leslie Greentree.

“We've started doing storytimes live on Facebook and the children’s department has a number of other offerings that are going to go live on the weekend,” she said, quickly listing off storytimes and the Paperback Kids Book Club that have already been established with a growing popularity.

People don’t actually need a Facebook account in order to view the events either. If they aren’t available during the scheduled event time, the library keeps the video of it posted for 48 hours afterward, offering a distinct benefit over a traditional in-person live library event.

A Saturday story time and a Sunday family read-aloud program are also in the works for kids and their keepers, while adult patrons have many event opportunities to choose from as well.

“The Connected eBook Club was launched last week and adult staff have also worked with the Genealogy Club to create the ‘Ask A Genealogist’ Facebook page, which is really getting some interest and some traction. There are some very cool adult programs coming up soon, too.”

In addition to all of its eLibrary offerings – movies, music, informative and educational programs – it has programs that patrons can attend and participate in from the comfort of their homes. Book clubs and readalongs are just a taste but there are also virtual escape rooms, crafting sessions (called Crafter-noons) and more on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

If you’ve never heard of a virtual escape room, its most recent adventure game involved robots going haywire. Players must use their computer coding skills to fix the situation. There’s a new challenge posted every week.

“This week, it's called Maker Escape. You're a makerspace ninja geeking out on the latest tech and coming up with amazing codes and you get contacted by somebody who needs you to help them hack into something. It’s a choose your own adventure-style escape room where they move through an online document making choices that lead them to their next situation and the next set of choices. Our teen librarian came up with that and it's just really, really cool.”

There are STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) challenges, too. Check it out on Facebook Live every Friday at 2 p.m. when a new challenge goes up.

Greentree promised the library team is hard at work to make new engaging content to keep people entertained and stimulated.

People can even take part in the #BigLibraryRead event until April 13. The global ebook club is focusing on Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic by Michael McCreary, which is available to download for free through the library’s website.

Scott Hayes

About the Author: Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns, and profiles on people.
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