New Parkland Libraries System (Photo: Chevi Rabbit/Blackpress)

Parkland Regional Library System moved into new building

The organization is not a public library but a provides services to 48 public libraries.

Parkland Regional Library System (PRLS) has moved into a new location Lacombe .

PRLS new space and building meets all their operational needs. The new building comes with a large bay garage for the part-time inter-library loan van drivers.

“This has proved to be a truly amazing accomplishment,” said Parkland Regional Library System Board Chair Debra Smith.

PRLS supports 48 public libraries and over 220 000 residents across central Alberta. PRLS provides tech support, bulk purchase discounts, library training and expertise, computer purchases, weekly van deliveries, internet and wireless service, programming kits and support.

“Our main goal is to support public libraries in central Alberta and help them give the best service possible to library users,” said Hailey Halberg, marketing specialist.

“We just moved into the new building. We were at our old location for over 60 years,” said Halberg

Halberg says the new office building is not open to the public.

“A lot of people dont know what we do so we wanted to inform the public of what we do.”

PLS is not a public library but rather a support system for the 48 public libraries they serve.

“We catalog books. We purchase books for libraries and professional librarians to support municipal libraries is another really big thing,” said Halberg.

She explains in a municipal library residents check out books.

“Here at Parkland Regional Library what we do, for example, say you request for a book in Ponoka but the book is in Lacombe. We bring the book here and put in a van to go to Ponoka.

Transporting books to the various libraries is a big component of PRLS.

In March 2017, the Government of Alberta set aside a capital grant of $2.4 million for the Parkland Board to improve or rebuild the system headquarters building. This was the first capital funding the agency received since Parkland’s last renovation in 1989.

Halberg says PRLS gets funding from the provincial government and municipalities.

“For example, the Town of Ponoka would pay into us and we help the library,” said Halberg.

All the municipalities that are part of the 48 public libraries pay a percentage of their population into PRLS.

Despite the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the new building was completed early, within budget, at virtually no cost to our municipalities, said Halberg.

“It was fully operational by October 20, 2020 with no service interruptions to our member libraries.”