Wrentham, Alberta – There is only one business located in the small hamlet of Wrentham, a close-knit community surrounded by farmland. Residents here must drive to buy groceries, get gas, and run other errands, so the Wrentham Library and Post Office is an important amenity for community members. The library is a place to visit with neighbours, pick up some reading material, use the computers and photocopiers, and access reliable internet in an area where service can sometimes be spotty. Here, residents can also enjoy a cup of free coffee, join the crochet club held every Thursday, or take part in upcoming computer classes.
“People of all ages come to use the library’s services for school, work, or personal use,” says Marsha Edwards, library manager. “And because we’re in such a rural area, it becomes a sort of meeting place.”
The $2,500 grant from Bayer Fund’s Canada’s Farmers Grow Communities (CFGC) program that the library received has helped improve the services that the facility is able to offer to community members. “With the grant money, we were able to purchase a new photocopier and fax machine for my use, as well as another photocopier for public use,” says Edwards. “We also upgraded our coffee maker, bought a backup battery for the switch required for our internet service, and purchased new books for the library.”
Edwards says that when she found out the library had been nominated for the grant, and then that the library had won, she was grateful and felt overwhelmed. The library board was also excited about the news. “Because we are such a small library, our budget is small as well,” she says, “so this is a big boost for us to purchase some equipment that we needed to upgrade to make it easier for our patrons.”
According to Edwards, grants like the CFGC are well worth applying for and approaching community members about for nominations.
“Especially when you’re a smaller organization like us, you always need to try when it comes to applying for grants,” she says. “We weren’t expecting this, and it’s made a huge difference to our community.”