By Sydney Tancowny
The Camrose Public Library (CPL) is the first organization to receive the Augustana Campus Alumni Citation Award. Elizabeth Luck, CPL Board Chair (middle), and Nicole Bannick, library Program Coordinator (right), accepted the award from Augustana’s recently retired dean, Allen Berger, at the annual CSL partner appreciation event.
In Augustana’s Community Service-Learning (CSL) Program, the Camrose Public Library is a shining gem.
Created to connect student learning with experience by placing students with community partners, CSL encourages everyone to participate, regardless of discipline. Student placements are spread across organizations within Camrose in order to find that perfect fit. One could imagine each student as a book within the program, just as unique and varied in its content as the next. The goal is to find the correct shelf where each of these “books” fit. Some find their place at a law firm, some in health care and others at local non-profit organizations. However, no matter the discipline, these “books” will always have a place at the library.
“We have a motto: ‘If we don’t have it, we can find it.’ We like to feel the same way about placements. If it doesn’t exist, let’s find a way to make it work,” said Nicole Bannick, Program Coordinator at the library.
From their very first year as a CSL partner in 2012, the Camrose Public Library has stood out. The library took on 33 students when the average per community partner was 6-8. Since that time, the Library has hosted 215 CSL placements, with Augustana students participating in youth programming, technology tutoring, planning a sustainable Christmas party, joining the Library Board as interns and much more. In fact, the Library’s flexibility as a community partner has resulted in them hosting placements from almost every discipline at Augustana.
More than just connecting students to work that is relevant to their studies, CSL placements at the library connect students to the Camrose community. In their 2019-2023 Plan of Service, the library identifies itself as a community centre whose programs, resources and services work to build personal connections. With over 1,700 programs and 40,000 participants in the past year alone, the library is the place where Augustana students are given the chance to work with and meet people across all ages and demographics, expanding their horizons and their ideas for their futures.
Sometimes, these ideas of their future selves keep students at the library. After completing their CSL placement, students will often stay to work at the library over the summer, with some staying much longer. In the case of Carley Angelstad, her time with the library helped her discover her love of the profession. Since then, Carley has worked at the library, won the McCrae Intellectual Freedom Award for her work with the library’s technology programming for seniors, presented at the Alberta Library Conference and is currently pursuing her Master’s of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta. “My CSL experience with the library 100% led to all of my post-grad work experience and opportunities and ultimately got me to where I am today,” said Angelstad.
Above all, the library and their staff’s overwhelming love and support of hosting Augustana’s CSL students is of most note. When speaking with Nicole Bannick and Elizabeth Luck, the CPL Board Chair, their excitement and gratitude towards Augustana students was paramount. “They offer so much of themselves and their skills, what they can do and the things we can’t do,” said Luck. “We couldn’t do some of our programs without them.”
Over their seven years of involvement with Augustana’s CSL program, the Camrose Public Library has proven itself as both a valuable community partner and a deserving recipient of the 2018 Alumni Citation Award. Their dedication to serving Augustana students has made it clear that, wherever their education takes them, the Camrose Public Library will always save them a spot on their shelf.
The Alumni Citation Award recognizes a non-alumnus/a’s significant contributions to the life of Augustana.