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Volume IX, Issue IV - December 2021

What's new at HQ?

Following the municipal elections, Shortgrass Library System has a number of new faces on our Board of Trustees! Welcome to our new Trustees!


In This Issue


Five Fun Facts about our Technical Services Assistant, Val!

1. Grew up in Vulcan, Alberta

2. First studied Computer Science (programming) at Lethbridge Community College and then got my Library Technician Diploma from SAIT.

3. Met my husband Neil on a blind date through a mutual friend I worked with at Lethbridge Public Library.

4. Have worked in every department of the library (Circulation, A/V, Children's, Reference, Bib Services, Technical Services and Admin).

5. Have two sons, Nathan and Ian, who are both on the Autism Spectrum.


Digital Resource Spotlight: Solaro

Do your patrons know about Solaro? This great digital study and test prep resource provides lesson plans, flash cards, practice quizzes, and more. Tailored to the Alberta curriculum, this resource supports students in grades 3-12.

Promotional materials such as social media posts and "Getting Started" 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. There are some brand new titles in this collection, too!

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.



2022 Membership Drive

Shortgrass Library System sponsored a hugely successful membership drive this fall!

From October 12th until November 10th, community members could visit participating libraries and enter the draw to win a $200 gas card- and sign up for a library card! We also conducted a mass email campaign to reconnect with patrons with expired memberships.

The campaign was a great success, with memberships rising an average of 5.9% at participating libraries.

Special mention to Duchess & District Public Library- their membership increased by an impressive 22.97%!

Pictured (right): the winner of Duchess & District's prize draw.


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!

The Replacement Wife, by Darby Kane

Dec 28th, 2021

Elisa Wright is convinced her brother-in-law is a murder. Not only did Josh’s wife die, but his fiancee disappeared. Now Josh is dating again, and Elisa suspects the worst. As she digs into the past she begins to worry she may be too close to the truth.

add to ULS cart

The Maid, by Nita Prose

Jan 4th, 2022

A charmingly eccentric hotel maid discovers a guest murdered in his bed. Will she be able to find the killer before it's too late?

Solving the mystery will turn her once orderly world upside down in this utterly original debut.

add to ULS cart

A Flicker in the Dark, by Stacy Willingham

Jan 11th, 2022

When Chloe Davis was twelve, six teenage girls went missing in her small Louisiana town. By the end of the summer, Chloe’s father had been arrested as a serial killer. But twenty years later, the disappearances start again...

add to ULS cart

Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron, by Julia Quinn and Violet Charles

Jan 11th, 2022

From the bestselling author of the Bridgerton series comes this charming graphic novel! Born into a happy family that is tragically ravaged by smallpox, Miss Priscilla Butterworth uses her wits to survive a series of outlandish trials.

add to ULS cart

Daughter of the Moon Godess, by Sue Lynn Tan

Jan 11th, 2022

A captivating debut fantasy inspired by the legend of Chang'e, the Chinese moon goddess, in which a young woman’s quest to free her mother pits her against the most powerful immortal in the realm.

add to ULS cart

A Taste for Poison, by Neil Bradbury (NF)

Feb 1st, 2022

A brilliant blend of science and crime, A Taste for Poison reveals how eleven notorious poisons affect the body--through the murders in which they were used. Perfect for true crime fans!

add to ULS cart

House of Sky and Breath, by Sarah J Maas

Feb 15th, 2022

In this breathless, action-packed sequel to the #1 bestseller House of Earth and Blood, Sarah J. Maas weaves a captivating story of a world about to explode―and the people who will do anything to save it.

add to ULS cart

Squire, by Sara Alfageeh and Nadia Shammas (YA)

March 8th, 2021

Aiza has always dreamed of being a Knight, so when her country finds itself on the brink of war, she enlists. It's nothing like she imagined, though, and she'll have to make choices she never expected.

add to ULS cart

Upcoming Events

December 23: Last deliveries for 2021

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

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

January 4: Shortgrass office reopens for 2022

January 17: Library Managers Meeting

January 19: SLS Board Meeting

February 16: SLS Board Meeting

February 21: Family Day (Shortgrass office is closed, no deliveries)

March 14: Library Managers Meeting

March 16: SLS Board Meeting

CEO Update

Petra Mauerhoff, CEO

Well, we have made it to the end of 2021- and once again I get to say: what a year it has been!

The highlights include seeing eResource usage soar; welcoming three new staff members to the Shortgrass team; receiving grant funding for a project to combat period poverty (thank you, Community Foundation of Southeastern Alberta!), and seeing all of the brilliant ways that member libraries offered top-notch services to their communities even under the most challenging conditions.

There have also been bumps in the road- rather literally, in at least one case. To cap off another pandemic year and library closures, our delivery van lost its back window the first week of December.

And of course, the bittersweet: 2021 saw some big changes to the Shortgrass board, following the municipal election in October. We were excited to welcome six new Trustees to the board, and are looking forward to working with them for the next four years! But that meant saying goodbye to our "retiring" Trustees. Thank you to the outgoing Trustees, for their contributions toward providing great library support services to the region!

Looking forward to 2022, we hope that things will be smoother on all fronts! We are excited to pilot a new and improved delivery schedule starting February, which should get items into the hands of patrons significantly faster. We will also be getting ready for our financial audit, so please remember to get all outstanding invoices to us ASAP.

Stay warm, and have a safe and happy end-of-2021!


Client Services Update

Kait McClary, Client Services Librarian

CODE RED: Free. Period.

Shortgrass Library System is very excited to announce that we were recently awarded a grant to combat period poverty by providing free menstrual products in a number of our member libraries' washrooms! Thank you to the Community Foundation of Southeastern Alberta for their generous support with this project.

Period poverty is a major issue in Canada, with as many as 70% of menstruators having missed school, work, or a social event as a result of their period. There is also stigma surrounding menstruation, with many menstruators feeling they have to hide that they are on their period. Providing products in library washrooms will help to combat these issues.

Stay tuned in early 2022 for more updates about this exciting project!

eSkills Challenge

We've recently wrapped on the pilot run for our new training program: the eSkills Challenge!

We are taking a break in December, and will be back with a new challenge in January. If you have any feedback about the pilot run or would like to request a particular eResource to be featured in the new year, please send Kait an email!

Congratulations to the winners of our first round of challenges:

  • April from Brooks Public Library (September)
  • Danielle from Medicine Hat Public Library (October)
  • Tina from Duchess & District Public Library (November)

Programming Kits Update

New programming kits are NOW AVAILABLE, with more coming soon! Contact Kait to book these (or any other) kits.

Storytime Kits- all existing storytime kits have been upgraded, and we've added a few new ones! Kits now come with sample program plans, more books, puppets, felt/magnetic pieces, and craft supplies!

Scratch Art- create your own scratch art with this fun crafty kit!

COMING SOON: Silhouette Cameo 4- make vinyl decals, create hand-crafted cards, and more, with our brand new Silhouette Cameo 4!

COMING SOON: Snap Circuits- learn about electricity and circuitry with this fun Snap Circuit kit for kids 8+!


Want to promote digital resources at your library? Contact Kait to request brochures on 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. Visit our website for a list of all available brochures.

What's New in Shortgrass Member Libaries? 

Tilley & District Public Library is Back!

Tilley & District Public Library has officially reopened!

There was a spectacular turnout for the grand re-opening event at the library on Saturday, November 27th. The ribbon was cut by Larry Jasperson. Larry serves on both the Tilley Library Society board and the Seniors Society executive. Door prizes were drawn for by County Councillor Adena Skanderup and were won by Amanda McIvor, Lori Hebert, Julie Musgrove, Sheryl VanWert and Carol Jasperson. Many people enjoyed a cup of coffee, a good visit and a wild ride in the VR headset. We were honoured with the presence of two founding board members – John Desjardins and Elma Volek – both of whom worked with others on the board to start a public library in our community in 1975, and then to keep it operating for many years. I’m sure Elma retains many burn marks on her fingertips from writing call numbers on spines with the old-fashioned heat pen! Thank you to all who helped make this happen and to those who joined us in celebrating. You are all very much appreciated. -Anita Chappel, Tilley & District Public Library Manager.


Weekly Crafts at Duchess & District Public Library

The staff of Duchess & District Public Library are hard at work creating take-home crafts for children and young adults, funded through a community grant from the Duchess Rec Board and the County of Newell. Every week until the end of January, patrons can collect these craft kits. The kids are loving them!



Escape Games at Graham Community Library

Graham Community Library held a successful Houdini-themed Escape Room activity in November. Staff member Krissy set up a very exciting room for the kids! Sessions were limited to six kids to keep safe, and they ran five sessions in total. The kids enjoyed them and the staff were happy with the outcome- and will do more of them in the future!


Brooks Public Library: Backpack Kits and the Library Gift Shop

The Friends of the Brooks Public Library Society purchased small backpacks so that staff could create themed kits throughout the year. During the summer, we displayed and loaned kits with materials for all ages that coordinated with the weekly themes of our Summer Reading Program. You can see them on our display shelves featuring holiday items now (see image on right).

The Friends have also launched a Library Gift Shop. The Gift Shop features "mystery books" (like-new condition used books wrapped in butcher paper and designated by a genre icon and brief synopsis), resin bookmarks made by a local artist, branded USB sticks, "Out Of Print" merch (check out our banned books mug!), and our exclusive Mini-Crates (see images below).

Mini-Crates are a three-item package sourced and packed by Brooks Farmers Market. They are curated for and only sold at Brooks Public Library. A new version will be offered each month!


Christmas Cookie Decorating & Storytime at Redcliff Public Library

Every year, Redcliff Public Library hosts a Christmas Cookie Decorating and Storytime event! The past couple of years have found us hosting the event virtually. We were very happy to announce that we were able to hold 2 events on December 6th, in person, this year.

The morning started merry and bright while we decorated cookies. Together we listened to music, and later read Christmas themed books while enjoying our fresh cookies and visiting with one another. It was refreshing to be able to interact and enjoy the smiles from our little patrons.

If we had not I would never have learnt that Santa does not like snowmen, stars, or snowflake cookies... coincidentally those are the shapes we made, I guess we'll just have to eat them all!


Fun Facts about Gem Jubilee Library's New Manager, Tonja!

1. I live by Finnegan on a farm with my husband and four kids, a few cats and a dog named Perry who was named after a platypus.

2. I love music and books.

3. Libraries have been my favorite place to be for as long as I can remember.

4. I have served on our library board as well as the County of Newell Municipal Board and have volunteered in our library for over 20 years and was on the build committee for our current location.

5. I enjoy exploring new places either in my backyard or when we've had opportunity to travel.

Programming Ideas

Draw Cute Animals- Tween Programming!

Check out this adorable drawing program for middle-grade kids! This outline was created by Ontarian Librarian and is a super easy, no-fancy-materials-required program.

This program was developed pre-pandemic, but could easily transition to a virtual format if needed!

Follow this link for more information!  

'Tis the Season for Outdoor Programs (really?)

Check out this archived webinar on the benefits of outdoor programs in winter, with plenty of great ideas to help you embrace the cold! Ideas shared include Winter StoryWalks, Scavenger Hunts, Outdoor challenges (who can make the best snow art?), Citizen Science, Nature Play, new collections (snowshoes, anyone?), and more.

Check it out here!

Biography Display!

Finders' credit to Mandy from Bassano for finding this neat idea!

Promote biographies with these fun bookmarks, featuring an image of the subject, and a quote attributed to them! If your biographies have not been moving very much, this is a fun way to draw attention to them.

Follow this link to learn more!

Professional Development & Training

Library Association of Alberta (LAA)
Speaker Series

LAA's inaugural virtual Speaker Series features sessions that focus on professional growth and development for library professionals from sectors and in all stages of career growth and development. Talks run monthly from November 2021 - April 2022.

Registration for the Speaker Series is free, and open to all members of the Alberta Library Community!

Tickets are free, but space is limited. Visit for more information and to register.

"Awful Library Books": Weeding!

Check out this website that is full of discussion on why weeding is important!

This website regularly shares books that are being weeded by various libraries, and explains why they no longer belong in the collection. The site also has a lot of resources on why weeding matters, as well as sample collection development policies and weeding guidelines!

And don't forget- we also have weeding guidelines in the Manager Manual on the Shortgrass website (including a weeding cheat sheet!)!

Mythbusting with OverDrive: Innovative Ways to Talk About Your Digital Library

"I tried ebooks a long time ago and it just wasn’t for me."

"It’s too much screen time for kids/students.”

How many times have you heard these reasons for why people aren’t using your digital library? Join OverDrive as they share simple, effective tips and resources to encourage all users, from the digital doubter to the tech savvy teen, to give digital a try.

Register here for the webinar (December 16th, 12pm MST)!

Gale Course: Certificate in Stress Management

The last two years have not been easy on anyone. This course covers the physiological, social, and psychological aspects of stress, exploring ways to reduce and manage stress.

Find out more about this Gale Course here.


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

Please contact Chris or Edi 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.