Rebuilding the Slave Lake Library

As a library technician I’ve seen my share of damaged books, gum between the pages, dried cat urine crinkling bookcovers, and even the occassional (and dreaded) spring flood and loss of a few hundred titles. However, it is every library staff member’s subconsious fear to lose all the books in a fire. And I’m not talking a book burning, though those are horrifying as well, I mean an all out natural disaster, or electrical failure, and the whole building burns down. (Another reason why I’m so anal about unplugging our zooped up laminator after EVERY use.)

Luckily most of us will never see that image become a reality. But it does happen. And it has happened to the people of Slave Lake, Alberta who recently lost 40% of their town due to a forest fire. City Hall, the Public Library, the cop shop…and countless homes. All destroyed.

Here is a recent blog post from the library’s blog:

“Posted on Tuesday May 17, 2011 at 09:44PM

It is with sadness and shock that I  write this post.  As of Sunday, May 15, our beautiful new library has burned to the ground. Watching the news footage of the library in flames was one of the hardest things that I have ever had to watch.  All the hard work and effort by so many people to bring the new library to the community destroyed in minutes.

All of the library staff  and board are safe and sound however, which is the most important thing. Right now we don’t know what the future will bring but we will be working hard to bring library service back to the community as soon as possible. Our best wishes to all members of the Slave Lake community.”

Let’s help them rebuild – one donation at a time. I encourage all my author friends to donate copies (even one!) of your book(s) and scour your bookshelves for any new/newish titles you can part with.

If you’d like to help the library rebuild, this information was posted to the Peace Library System website:

Rebuilding the Slave Lake Library – one Donation at a Time (posted May 19)

The public library in the Town of Slave Lake was completely destroyed on Sunday, May 15, as a result of a huge forest fire. The beautiful new Rotary Club of Slave Lake Public Library had just opened in 2010.

About forty per cent of the Town is gone and support for those who lost their homes and possessions is pouring in via the Red Cross and other organizations. Support for the library is also pouring in. Libraries, bookstores, publishers and other library-related organizations have been in touch with Peace Library System to see how they can help the library rebuild. Here’s what you can do:

Donations of new or nearly new books (no more than two years old) can be shipped to Peace Library System headquarters where they will be catalogued, processed and stored until a temporary library opens in Slave Lake. Please ship prepaid to:

Peace Library System
8301 – 110 Street
Grande Prairie, AB T8W 6T2

ATTN: Books for Slave Lake Library

Cash donations can be made by going to the library’s web page at and clicking on the “Make a Donation” link.

The Slave Lake Library and Peace Library System thank all who make a contribution to rebuilding the library.

For additional information, please contact Carol Downing, Assistant Director, at

Monitary donations can be sent to the Red Cross to assist the town in general.  Here is more information.

7 thoughts on “Rebuilding the Slave Lake Library

  1. Good Morning,
    As a member of SCBWI I received a call for books to the Slave Lake Library, which I will do promptly. I am the coordinator of the Raise a Reader program in the South Okanagan, and I’m in contact with many authors through this program, however the public is also very supportive of what I do with reading and writing – may I please post a call in our local papers for the local public to also assist in resupplying the library?

    1. Hi Yasmin, thanks for feeling the pull to assist the Slave Lake Library. I’ve just contacted the Peace River System (responsible for any donations) and informed them of my efforts to encourage authors to donate. I’ll forward your request to them as well and they can get back to you.


  2. Hi Judith,
    I would be happy to donate some of my books to the Slave Lake Library. How do I get them to you?
    I just donated two big boxes of nice books to the CBC’s spring book sale. Perhaps the two book sales now going on in Calgary could be approached to donate their leftover books – which I am sure would be a good variety and in good shape.

    1. Hi Shirlee, I’m not personally collecting donations, just spreading the word. Donations can be sent here:

      Peace Library System
      8301 – 110 Street
      Grande Prairie, AB T8W 6T2

      ATTN: Books for Slave Lake Library

      Thanks for thinking of the Slave Lake Library!

  3. Judith,
    Thanks for passing on my thoughts on how we might help. I’ll be making a public call in our local papers this coming week and will ask readers to drop off books for Slave Lake – we will ship the books we receive on a monthly basis, as I’m sure the public will support this effort of adding books for the library. We will also put out a call for a courier company to come on board to assist us in getting the books to Grande Prairie.
    I want to thank you for making us aware of this crisis. We’ve all seen the news clips, but they have never mentioned anything of the destruction of the brand new library.
    Hugs for your efforts to get the word out.
    Best Regards,

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