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Bonnyville library keeping literacy alive online

The Bonnyville Municipal Library may be closed to the public, but residents are still able to access their services online. Photo by Robynne Henry.

BONNYVILLE – Residents can continue to enjoy the services offered by the Bonnyville Municipal Library, all from the comfort of their own homes.

While their doors are closed, the local branch is still continuing their programming and encouraging residents to utilize their online services.

Program manager Kat Eliason has taken to social media to continue Story Time and Rhyme Time through videos. Eliason said a main reason they wanted to offer the programs was to provide a sense of normalcy, particularly to their younger patrons, during this time.

“It was knowing that routine and that sense of community, and having a familiar place is important to a lot of our early learners,” she explained. “All kids and people definitely find comfort in those familiar things but especially our little friends. We were also uncertain of how or when things would be able to get back to normal, and it was nice to still find a way to offer some of our programming in a similar fashion as before when they can’t come to see us in person.”

Library manager Leah Woodford added, “We wanted the community to know that our services are still available online, and that sense of visiting a comfortable place, virtually, can hopefully prevent a sense of isolation.”

People can go online to the Bonnyville library’s or Northern Lights Library System’s (NLLS) website to access numerous resources, including Audiobooks, eBooks, OverDrive, Canadian Newsstream, and Cloud Library, among others.

For those in taking advantage of the online books the local library has to offer but don’t have a library card, Woodford said that isn't a problem thanks to online registration.

“The Northern Lights Library System is offering people the opportunity to register for a temporary library card,” she told the Nouvelle. “This card allows these new patrons to use all the online resources the Bonnyville Municipal Library and databases the Northern Lights Library System provides, but will not allow the loan of physical materials.”

If there are physical items checked out that had a return date, Woodford said, “there’s no need to worry.”

“The library has made arrangements to push overdue dates on all materials to May 15, 2020. The other option is that materials can be placed in the library drop box.”

With the unknowns surrounding coronavirus, Eliason has more plans for activities and videos in the future to keep their users busy.

“It could be a Facebook post with a challenge for some of our older patrons. Some of the things were a home building challenge that I posted to get people being creative, and bringing back a sense of community so they can share their version of what they made from the challenge. Moving forward, we’ll do more things like that to engage our older audience as well,” she detailed.

Woodford encourages everyone to use this extra time to enjoy a book.

“It’s a lifelong skill, and to be able to take advantage of a time when there are less distractions and to dive into a book can really help in escaping from a situation that may bring anxiety to some people,” she expressed. “Reading while keeping your mind active is entertaining and can help some people avoid depression and loneliness in these unprecedented times.”

Residents can visit the Bonnnyville branch online at or NLLS at

Robynne Henry, Bonnyville Nouvelle