In 2025 the new Airdrie Public Library building will be opening its doors, and on February 3, Airdrionians will have the chance to add a piece of their personal history to the library’s new expanded collection.
The “Stuff the Stacks” campaign, which will be entering its public fundraising portion this weekend, was thought up to raise funds for the new library’s expanded collection. Doubling in size from 80,000 items to 160,000 items for its opening next year, the library is looking for residents who have historical materials to donate to the library’s collection on Feb. 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“We're asking the community to participate with us because we want to create a local history portion of the collection,” said Catherine Kiell, who's heading up the Stuff the Stacks campaign. Kiell said that the library is looking for people who have material that might be relevant to local history, like rare books or rare types of resources, family materials or pieces from local authors from past history. Other items like newspapers, magazines, e-books, and genealogical material will also be accepted as donations by the library.
“Sometimes it's hard to get your hands on those sorts of things and sometimes people will have those in their own homes,” said Kiell.
Even if residents don’t have donatable material they’d be willing to part with, the campaign will also accept money donations as well. About a $20 donation will cover the cost of a new piece for the library’s collection. A total of $1.5 million needs to be raised to pay for the 80,000 new pieces the library is looking to add.
Kiell said that the library has already completed the “quiet” phase of the fundraiser and around 50 per cent of the total $1.5 million has been raised from private contributions. Now it’s the public’s turn to get involved.
“We know that Airdronians are deeply committed to their community and the library is a huge resource that people need and use on a pretty regular basis so we're pretty confident that Airdronians will get behind the effort and support us … We know they’re committed folks,” said Kiell.
Kiell believes that people will be willing to donate their items because they don’t want to see them get lost to history. The library will inventory and curate all their donations.
When asked why Airdronians should be willing to donate, Kiell said that, “part of it is legacy, to make sure [those materials] stay alive for future community members.”
For community members, Kiell said that the Feb. 3 fundraiser will be a terrific opportunity to learn about the new library and to be a part of the new collection.
“The library, as a public good and public resource, is really a great equalizer,” said Kiell. “Education and access to information really does create a more prosperous and diverse society. The library is a core element in ensuring everyone has access to information and opportunity, and people being part of that is a good motivator for people to be part of the campaign.”