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Volume IX, Issue III - September 2021

What's new at HQ?

In August we said goodbye to long-time staff member Aaron. Thank you for your support over the years, Aaron!

We are also excited to welcome our new 
Systems Administrator, Edi. Scroll down to learn more about the newest Shortgrass staff member!

In This Issue


Five Fun Facts about our Systems Administrator, Edi!

1. I graduated from SAIT’s Fast-Tracked Network Technician Program in 2018.

2. I’m a former Medicine Hat Hounds Bantam “A” Representative hockey team player.

3. Due to hockey I’ve broken my wrist, cracked my ribs, and cracked my Collar bone (3 times in one season).

4. For fun I like to ride my bike, play video games, and hang out with friends.

5. I was born in Calgary and originally moved to Medicine Hat when I was in grade 4, because of my father's work (he managed the Sobeys Bakery).


Ancestry: Library Edition

Remember that Ancestry: Library Edition continues to be available for patrons to access from home! Access will continue until December 31st, 2021.

While Ancestry: Library Edition does not have access to all of the functions available through a personal membership, it does provide full access to all records and documents in the database. It's a great resource for learning more about your heritage- and is always popular with patrons!

Promotional materials such as social media posts and informational brochures are available from Shortgrass. Please contact Kait to request these materials.


Professional Collection

Shortgrass Library System has a professional development collection that is available to staff at all member libraries! We have a small but mighty collection of works that will help you develop your skills in programming, management, planning, and more.

To borrow any of these books, log in to WorkFlows and search for the title. Be sure to search under "Keyword" rather than "Browse".

Place the titles you are interested in on hold, and they will be sent to your library.

Follow this link to view the complete list of titles.



Reminder: Single-Use Masks Still Available

Contact Shortgrass HQ if you are in need of more masks for your staff, volunteers, or patrons, and we can send more your way.


Check out these upcoming releases, coming out Summer 2021!

It All Comes Back to You, by Farah Naz Rishi

Sept 14th, 2021

Two exes must revisit their past after their siblings start dating.

This #ownvoices YA rom-com is perfect for fans of Sandhya Menon, David Yoon, and Morgan Matson.

add to ULS cart

Walking in Two Worlds by Wab Kinew

Sept 14th, 2021

An Indigenous teen girl is caught between two worlds, both real and virtual, in this YA fantasy debut.

Perfect for fans of Ready Player One and the Otherworld series.

add to ULS cart

The Annual Migration of Clouds, by Premee Mohamed

Sept 28th, 2021

A woman infected with a mysterious parasite must choose whether to pursue a rare opportunity far from home or stay and help rebuild her community, in this dystopian novel.

add to ULS cart

The Björkan Sagas, by Harold R. Johnson

Oct 5th, 2021

Drawing upon his Cree and Scandinavian roots, Johnson merges myth, fantasy, and history in this epic saga of adventure, set in a world of heroic storytellers, shrieking Valkyries, and fire-breathing dragons.

add to ULS cart

Joy: Life Lessons from a Tuscan Villa, by Debbie Travis

Nov 2nd, 2021

Lifestyle pioneer Debbie Travis shares her secrets for a joyful life- learned while hosting guests at her thirteenth-century farmhouse in the Italian countryside.

add to ULS cart

Wildcat: The Untold Story of Pearl Hart, the Wild West's Most Notorious Woman Bandit, by John Boessenecker

Nov 2nd, 2021

Discover the story of Canadian-born Pearl Hart, who robbed a stagecoach and sparked a manhunt.

add to ULS cart

The Ballerinas, by Rachel Kapelke-Dale

Dec 7th, 2021

Years earlier, Delphine abandonned her prestigious soloist position at the Paris Opera Ballet to protect a secret. Now she has returned, to try to finally set things right.

add to ULS cart

Giller Prize 2021 Longlist


The longlist for the 2021 Giller Prize has been announced! Learn more about the nominees here.

All titles are available through ULS. Follow the link below to add them to your collection.

add to ULS cart


Want to learn more about upcoming releases? The Dewey Divas fall webinars aired on September 14th and 15th, and booklists are available on their websites. These lists highlight exciting new books from major publishers. Follow the link for more information!

For more information, visit the website

Upcoming Events

September 22-24: Stronger Together virtual conference

September 30: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

October: Canadian Library Month

October: Women's History Month

October: Item Count Month

October 11: Thanksgiving (Shortgrass office closed, no deliveries)

October 31: Halloween

November 7: Daylight Savings Time ends

November 11: Remembrance Day (Shortgrass office closed, no deliveries)

November 15: Library Managers Meeting

December 8: Shortgrass Christmas Dinner & Social

December 24: Christmas Eve (Shortgrass office closed at noon, no deliveries)

December 25 - January 3: Shortgrass office closed (no deliveries

CEO Update

Petra Mauerhoff, CEO

I am excited about the end-of-summer edition of the newsletter each year, because it always contains such great photos and stories from the summer reading program!

This year is no different, I hope you enjoy reading about the summer activities in member libraries as much as I did.

It was another pandemic summer that involved a lot of improvising and adjusting to keep everyone safe, both in the libraries and here at our Shortgrass facility. We said farewell to our Systems Administrator Aaron, who moved on to a different position and we just welcomed our new Systems Administrator Edi this week. This is the 3rd staff member we hired and onboarded during the pandemic, after Client Services Librarian Kait and Bookkeeper/Executive Assistant Bernadette in January. Starting a new position is never easy and doing it during a pandemic adds another level of difficulty and stress.

As part of pandemic stress mitigation, Shortgrass staff are currently participating in the 2021 Activity & Mindfulness Challenge, where they track minutes spent engaged in activity or mindfulness during the workday and compete for prizes. Staff have until the end of September to get their minutes in.

At the August 2021 Shortgrass Library Board meeting, the Board approved the 2022 operating budget, which included a 1% increase in municipal levies. As you know, in 2021 we were asked to absorb a 5% cut, which required us to sell off a vehicle from our fleet, cancel the Bibliocommons app and make a few other internal adjustments. Since 2012, our budget has shrunk by over 30%, while at the same time, we have increased the expenses we pick up for member libraries such as the full fee for the Integrated Library System, all internet expenses and the Overdrive platform fee. The municipal levy still requires approval from 2/3 of Shortgrass member municipalities, and we hope that all councils recognize the important role their local libraries play, with the support of the regional system.

The municipal election happening in October is sure to bring changes to many municipal councils, and Shortgrass will be providing some advocacy materials to member libraries to create awareness among candidates.

We are looking ahead at a busy fall, with the main priority remaining to keep everyone as safe as possible during the ongoing pandemic, while also doing our best to provide great service to member libraries.

Be safe.


Client Services Update

Kait McClary, Client Services Librarian

Summer 2021 is a wrap!

Summer 2021 is over! Member libraries were running awesome programs all summer long, and I really enjoyed learning about how all of the different libraries run their SRC.

I visited several libraries this summer to run programs- Sticky Science for the older kids, and Super Storytime Dance Party for the younger ones! Thank you to those libraries who hosted me!

Shortgrass Library System also sponsored a concert series. The Ernestine Hatpin Show put on an awesome performance that families all over the region enjoyed!

Please be sure to submit your SRC statistics by September 24th, 2021.


We're launching a new training program for staff across the system! Participate in monthly eResource training quizzes and enter the draw to win a monthly prize. Ask your manager for details.

And while we're on the subject... what sort of training would you like to see from your Client Services Librarian in the future?

  • Digital resource walkthroughs
  • Readers' Advisory training- basic or advanced
  • Storytime refreshers
  • Social media tips & tricks

If there's anything you would like to learn about, be sure to let Kait know!

New Programming Kits!

New programming kits are NOW AVAILABLE! Contact Kait to book these (or any other) kits.

Straws and Connectors- a STEM building kit that encourages children to build anything they can imagine! Check out this arch that is big enough to walk under (we had to make sure everything was working, after all!)

Giant Four Across- it's just what it sounds like! This giant four across board is perfect for team building, outreach events, or as a fun addition to almost any program.


Want to promote digital resources at your library? Contact Kait to request brochures on any Shortgrass services or eResources. We currently have brochures for Libby, Solaro, PressReader, Ancestry, Pronunciator, CELA/NNELS, and BiblioCommons, plus a customizable "Welcome to the Library" brochure.

What's New in Shortgrass Member Libaries? 

Summer fun at Foremost Municipal Library!

Foremost Municipal Library had a wonderful program this year! We had about forty kids register with an average of twelve kids at each activity day. We even had some kids go around the game board more than once! All the children were well behaved and always excited for what we had planned. We had Alberta Health Services Mental Health come down a couple of times to help with crafts and we were able to collaborate with the Foremost FCSS Agency to put on a movie matinee.


Bike Safety at Duchess & District Public Library!

Duchess once again offered their annual Bike Safety program, which everyone loved! They also tye-dyed towels, which turned out looking fantastic. The 2021 summer reading program was very successful.


Graham Community Library wows with pixel art murals!

This year, Graham Community Library created two pixel art murals! The kids got to stick a square on the pixelated canvas when they checked out books. Everyone was excited to participate and couldn't wait to figure out what it was.


Forensic Crime Scenes at Redcliff Public Library!

Redcliff had a successful summer reading program this year, with a few modifications. One guest speaker that the staff were really happy to have was Sergeant Fishley from MHPS. He is part of the forensics unit and had a great presentation!

Redcliff is also looking forward to an upcoming Culture Days event- Lethbridge photographer, Darlene Meinzer, is hosting a show & sale, September 25th 10-4. All her photos are from Southeast Alberta and Southwest Saskatchewan. She is also one of the artists being featured at the Alberta Local event in Edmonton's Manchester Square on September 18th, so we are very lucky to be able to have her here! 



Fun Facts about Bassano Library Manager Mandy!

1. I live in Bassano with my husband Darcy, our two boys, Oliver (12), Spencer (9), our cats and dog. We go camping as much as possible every summer, all over southern Alberta.

2. I love spiders, snakes and all things creepy crawly.

3. I collect rocks, gemstones and fossils, and am slowly on setting up my own lapidary workshop at home.

4. I love Halloween and everything horror related, especially zombies or anything HP Lovecraft.

5. I collect houseplants that are not green. I have red, yellow, pink, purple and black plants in my home jungle so far.

Indigenous Resources

The following documents were shared by Colette Poitras, Manager of Indigenous Public Outreach at Public Library Services Branch.

Programming Ideas

Blind Drawing Challenge

This super fun (and sometimes silly) game is perfect if you need to pad out a slightly-too-short program, or as a program on its own!

Give everyone a paper and pencil, and then tell them how to draw a specific picture. Don't tell them what they're drawing, or show them an example- get them to complete the drawing using detailed instructions! It's great practice giving clear and detailed instructions, and often has hillarious results!

Passive Program: I Spy!

There are so many ways to host an I Spy game in your library. Halloween is coming up- hide pictures of ghosts around the library and have kids count how many! Or share a list of things hidden in the library (cut-out clipart? Kindness rocks? The possibilities are endless!)

Or, you could create an I Spy display, like this librarian did. Use a display table or case, round up all your clutter and knick-knacks you can find, then create a list of things for patrons to find!

Follow this link to learn more!

Passive Program: Paths and Obstacle Courses

Need an indoor version of the Sidewalk Obstacle Course, now that it's getting colder?

Jbrary (an awesome resource for early literacy!) has gathered some resources for indoor obstacle courses! Print out the designs, laminate them for durability, and secure them to the floor with a good tape/adhesive. Or you can purchase some brightly coloured tape and create a zigzagging, curling path around the library, encouraging kids to explore the whole building!

Check out the blog post with these great ideas here.


As you may know, your Client Services Librarian ran science programs at several libraries this summer. One hit science experiment was SLIME! This recipe is super easy if you're looking to run your own slime program. You could even offer this as a take-home option, if you have containers with lids. It's so easy!


  • 4 TBSP clear Elmer's glue
  • 1 TBSP Tide Free & Gentle
  • Food colouring, glitter, and sequins (optional!)

Combine the ingredients, and stir together. When they start to stick, use your hands to continue to work the slime until it achieves the correct consistancy.

Contact Kait for more info (including the science behind it, and suggestions for must-have supplies!

Professional Development & Training

Indigenous Canada

September 30th is the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Learn more about the historical and contemporary issues facing Indigenous peoples across Canada in this course from the University of Alberta. It is free of charge, and takes approximately twelve weeks to complete.

Register here.

Crash Course in Gentle Reads

Have you ever been asked for "clean reads"- books that don't have swearing or explicit material? These types of books are often referred to as gentle reads. Check out this webinar from NoveList to learn more about how to find these books for your patrons.

Watch the video here.

Stronger Together 2021

The Alberta Library, Parkland Regional Library System, Peace Library System, and Yellowhead Regional Library are once again hosting the virtual Stronger Together conference, taking place September 22-24 2021. There's still time to register and attend some of their excellent planned sessions- and it's completely free to attend!

Check it out here!

Gale Course: Enhancing Language Development in Childhood

For the children's programmers out there- this course may help you become a pro at encouraging language development in little ones, and add an extra something to your storytime reportoire.

Find out more about this Gale Course here.

Don't forget! Our neighbours to the north, the Marigold Library System, release a monthly email newsletter full of excellent professional development opportunities- webinars and articles from all around the world!  

Marigold Professional Development Newsletter


Don't forget that our virtual meeting software, GoToMeeting, is available to all Shortgrass member libraries.

Please contact Chris if you would like to book GoToMeeting to host your next virtual program or Library Board Meeting.

Share Your Stories!

Anything new to share? Send us your photos, stories, and updates!

  • Screenshots of a popular online event
  • Photos of what's going on at your library- displays, programs, renovations, weeding projects
  • News about your library

Submit updates to

Shortgrass Library System
Resourceful by Nature

2375 10th Ave SW, Medicine Hat, AB T1A 8G2

Tel. (403) 529-0550 ext 101 Toll Free Number 1-866-529-0550 ext 101

Shortgrass Library System honours and acknowledges that we are situated on Treaty 7 and Treaty 4 territory, traditional lands of the Siksika, Kainai, Piikani, Stoney-Nakoda, and Tsuut’ina as well as the Cree, Sioux, and the Saulteaux bands of the Ojibwa peoples. We also honor and acknowledge that we are on the homelands of the Metis Nation within Region III.