To support local literacy, the Chestermere Library Foundation is giving authors, writers, and poets in Chestermere and east Rocky View County the chance to have their words read through a new initiative called Local Lit.
The initiative includes the addition of a virtual store on the Chestermere Library Foundation’s website, where Chestermere and area authors can sell their work and give back to the community. According to the website, buying from the shop directly supports the authors, the Chestermere Library Foundation, and the Chestermere Public Library itself.
Janelle Sandboe, president of the foundation, said the initiative provides a community-specific platform for “write-ists” (writers who are artists) to market their work.
“It’s kind of an acknowledgement that we have these artists and also businesspeople with a valuable product,” Sandboe said. “We’re not charging people to be on there, and there are no really rigid criteria.”
Sandboe, who was previously on the board for the Chestermere Public Library, moved over to the library’s foundation because she wanted to sink her teeth into fundraising. Having since become president, she said the foundation is working on its strategic planning and some growth planning, and that Local Lit is just one of the initiatives that have come out of that process.
“We have a ton of authors in this area, and a lot of people don’t even know about them, so it’s kind of a neat way to promote that,” said Sandboe, who added the initiative’s mandate is to build literacy in Chestermere through sponsoring both library initiatives as well as advocating in the community.
Sandboe said that more than anything, she hopes the initiative will connect people.
“People want to support the people that live beside them, so I think there’s an opportunity to connect people and also help with some income,” she said. “There are a lot of people right now who are looking for other ways to make money in Chestermere and in the area, and it just so happens that a lot of them have also written books.
“[If we can] even just divert traffic to the place that they prefer to sell their books, then that’s fantastic, and the best place to get fans as any kind of artist or creative is locally,” she added.
On the first day of Local Lit’s launch, Sandboe said 100 people visited the site and six people bought books, and that number has been growing since the initiative began. Sandboe added the foundation can accommodate print or digital submissions from authors, including a physical copy of a book, or even an e-book.
In addition to author submissions for Local Lit, the foundation is also looking for volunteers in a number of different roles, including 50 day-of volunteers for the foundation’s largest event of the year – Loop Around the Lake.
“Assuming we can go forward with [the event], it’s a marathon around Chestermere Lake and it’s a large fundraiser for the library,” Sandboe said. “It’s fantastic and we’re hoping to make it even bigger this year.”
According to Sandboe, the foundation is also offering several named sponsorship opportunities in the next couple of years.
“These are large, branded opportunities, naming rights and things like that,” she said. “We’re looking for any businesses that would like to raise awareness of their brand in the community.”For more information about author submissions for Local Lit, volunteer positions or sponsorship opportunities, check out the Chestermere Library Foundation’s website at chestermerelibraryfoundation.com