Skip to content

Library Spotlight: Carberry/North Cypress Library

Posted in Library Spotlights

“You can grow ideas in the garden of your mind”

-Fred Rogers

The process of cross-pollination in the natural world can help to produce bountiful gardens and crops required for healthy living. Communities can also benefit from this process, but rather than pollen, insects, and wind, it is libraries which act as a hub for exchanges that promote healthy social living. The Carberry/North Cypress branch of the Western Manitoba Regional Library is a prime example of this, where a conscious effort is made to promote a web of interaction between age groups, local organizations, and types of information.

One of the first things visitors may notice upon entering the library is the hum of a 3D printer transforming patrons’ imagination into reality. There is a steep learning curve associated with 3D printing and the library’s knowledgeable staff is eager to offer their support. This piece of technology, which was funded by the Carberry and Area Community Foundation, was intentionally placed near the entrance to educate the public that “libraries aren’t just dusty rooms full of old books,” in the words of branch supervisor, Laurie MacNevin. According to the library’s records, over 1000 3D prints were made last year alone. Conventional printing is also a popular service offered by the library. Other technologies available to patrons include telescopes, language translation devices, and even home radon detectors.

The library is anything but a dusty old room full of books. Large windows fill the space with natural light, making it an ideal environment for keeping plants. Some patrons will even winter their plants in the library and there is an array of permanently housed plants throughout the space, giving it a home-like, welcoming feel. The natural elements of the library are complemented by local works of art, which not only beautify the space but work to support connections to and within the local arts community as well.










With gardening being a popular pastime amongst patrons, the library, in collaboration with Carberry Garden Club, has setup a seed library where members from the club and the community-at-large can donate and exchange seeds. On occasion, the club also holds talks on topics such as no till gardening and winter sowing. An advantage of this form of knowledge exchange over generic information on the topic is that it is based on locally tried-and-tested methods. Gardening in the Carberry and surrounding area, for example, is known for its highly sandy soil composition, which poses a variety of challenges in terms of nutrients and drainage.


Another element of this library is its focus on nurturing critical life skills amongst the community’s younger generations; for instance, teamwork, confidence in using new technologies, communication, logic, and problem solving. Patrons have access to “Micro:bits,” which are small programmable circuit boards designed for teaching the fundamentals of coding. Like the learning curve associated with 3D printing, the library’s friendly and knowledgeable staff is keen to support patrons (typically 9 to 12-year-olds) with their exploration of these devices. How to Solve a Rubix Cube is a popular program which encourages both collaboration around problem solving and confidence in one’s own problem-solving abilities. Access to games, such as Dungeons and Dragons, also provides opportunities for developing verbal, numeracy, communication, and teamwork skills.

In addition to sowing the seeds of critical life skills amongst youth, the library also provides programs tailored towards the community’s seniors. The Reader’s Teas for Seniors provides a warm social atmosphere for patrons to enjoy refreshments while listening to a story read aloud.

Though some programs are tailored to specific age groups, they are not intended to divide them. For the most part, they all take place in a central, common area to encourage a community-of-one atmosphere. A notable exception is the all-ages Chess Club, which has helped to build bridges across generational divides in the community in a way that few other activities can.

Whatever the purpose of their visit to the Carberry branch of the WMRL, patrons are likely to discover new aspects of their community and of the information world – an experience that branch supervisor Laurie MacNevin describes as “breaking the algorithm,” which is a reference to the highly addictive echo chamber of information that is fed to us on social media based on clicks and likes.

Laurie MacNevin, Branch Supervisor (Left) with Mackenzie Altenburg, Library Assistant (Right)

The MLA would like to extend its gratitude to Laurie MacNevin, Branch Supervisor and Mackenzie Altenburg, Library Assistant, for their passion and commitment to creating library experiences that challenge and advance the notion of what a library is while strengthening bonds in the community.

Article and Photographs by Rustam Dow, MLA Communications Committee Member