Hay River Library more than just a home for books

Hay River Library more than just a home for books
Tyrus Finstad shows off his superpowers during a superhero-themed event, hosted at the NWT Centennial Library in Hay River. Photo courtesy of NWT Centennial Library.

The NWT Centennial Library in Hay River sees itself as more than just a place to take out books.

Located in the heart of the community, central to the town’s main drag, folks running the library consider it a hub of community wellness.

“Promoting literacy in a community and making people feel part of a community by having a group space like this to do it in is an important part of wellness,” said library committee vice president Tom Lakusta. “Every community in the NWT has a list of community wellness priorities. There are about 10-15 priorities here and the library hits about five or six of them.”

Now, the organization is asking its users for help in the form of an annual book appeal fundraiser. Donations received between now and Christmas will be used to stock up on new books, periodicals and audio materials.

With every $20 donation made, the philanthropist’s name will be stamped into one of the new books.

Though the library does receive some monetary aid from the town and through some of its programming, those dollars are used to keep the operation afloat.

“We’re very fortunate because the funding we have, we have $160,000 from the town, that allows us to hire not just staff, library clerks and things like that to run the library when it’s open, but also for us to hire a program librarian so we have somebody that’s focused on leading programs and picking up new programs in the community.”

Those programs include home delivery of books for seniors with limited mobility, computer classes, English as Second Language classes, a monthly “Philosopher’s Cafe” for friendly debate, parent and tot time, a Lego club, guest storytellers and writing workshops.

“We see reading to be a gift and part of what every person needs in their lives so we continually look for avenues for all people to enjoy whatever aspect of literacy appeals most to them,” Lakusta said. “It really unites all people, from every age group and every economic situation.”

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