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Tag: Pincher Creek Library

Rhonda Oczkowski – woman with shoulder-length brown hair wearing black and white plaid jacket and black pants – holds two pair of cross-country skis

Free lending of skis and snowshoes in Pincher Creek

Pincher Creek’s recreation office and municipal library are once again offering residents the chance to borrow snowshoes and cross-country skis free of charge through their lending program.

The program is intended as a cost-effective way for community members to get outside and get active this winter.

The idea took shape five years ago when Rhonda Oczkowski, Pincher Creek’s recreation programmer, applied for the Choose Well grant. With the funds, the original pairs of snowshoes and cross-country skis were purchased, and since then, the inventory has continued to grow annually with the popularity of the initiative.

“We wanted to make sure that this program is accessible to everyone, so the program is free and available for anyone to come in and borrow equipment,” says Rhonda.

Prior to last year, the recreation department and library struggled with accommodating everyone that was interested in taking advantage of the loan pool. Adult-sized cross-country skis in particular were often unavailable due to the limited number of sets.

To navigate this issue, the recreation office and library partnered with Syncline Castle Trails Association, also known as SCaT, to expand upon the lending program, while promoting the Syncline Trail Network.

With money acquired through the Return to Play grant, SCaT was able to purchase and donate 30 pairs of adult cross-country skis and poles to the program, along with 45 pairs of adult-sized boots. According to Rhonda, the association has made an additional donation of skis and skiing equipment this year to fill sizing holes found in the lending initiative last year.


Ace of spades card on ad for Chase the Ace at the Pincher Creek Legion


“Last year, we were running out of larger ski boots and equipment for adults, so now we’ve filled that gap and I think we’ve covered our bases in terms of sizing,” she says.

While the hope is to avoid a lack of equipment to lend out, Rhonda notes that the issue of not having enough equipment does suggest that the program is a popular one that is getting residents outdoors and active.

To borrow equipment, you need to either have a library card or sign up at the library for an equipment rental card. A library membership costs $10, while the equipment rental card is free of charge. Once you have one of the cards, you can simply head to the library, identify what size of equipment you need, rent it and be on your way.

Once you’ve rented the equipment, you may hold onto it for up to one week before returning it to the library.

Previously, there was no need for a library membership or rental card. The change was made to alleviate the manual work library staff had to do to keep tabs on rentals.

According to Rhonda, the recreation department has a few exciting plans coming up regarding skiing and snowshoeing, including pop-up lessons for novices and guided snowshoe/cross country skiing tours. Those interested are encouraged to keep an eye on Pincher Creek recreation’s Facebook page for updates and information.

For more information about the lending program, you can contact the library at 403-627-3813 or by email.


Beauty products on ad for Providence Salon & Spa in Pincher Creek


Camille Kalveram, young professional woman with long blonde hair, on Vision Credit Union ad


Municipal library in search of new town board director

Pincher Creek’s library is looking for a new face for its board of directors. 

The Pincher Creek and District Municipal Library provides services to residents of the town, the MD and the village of Cowley. The opening is for someone living within town boundaries.

“The board provides direction to the library manager,” says library manager Kayla Lorenzen.

“They are the manager’s boss but they, for example, wouldn’t become involved in something like staffing. They do, however, do policy creation. They talk about the budget and the finances. They successfully work with the [provincial] government to run the library.”

Public library operations throughout Alberta are monitored by the municipal affairs ministry.

The board is made up of nine representatives. The town and MD have four members each — one elected councillor and three individuals from the community. A member-at-large from Cowley rounds out the nine.

Nine, under provincial guidelines, is also the number of years a director can be on the board, but exceptions can be made past the limit if there’s consensus among directors. Terms are three years.


Aerial view of the Cowley Lions Campground on the Castle River in southwestern Alberta


“So, we have a couple of the board members that have served for a very long time and some who are brand new, which gives us a wide variety of experience,” adds Kayla.

She says the board traditionally meets nine times a year, on the third Wednesday of every month. Exceptions are July, August and December, unless something urgent comes up. 

“Typically, they last anywhere between 90 minutes and two hours. You’ll also need to give yourself time to read the documents that are sent out ahead of time so you’re able to actively take part in the discussions.”

There are also four subcommittees that meet, albeit not on a monthly basis, that are also part of the role, Kayla points out.

“There is one that will cover policies, another for personnel matters, a finance subcommittee and there is one that looks at expansion.”

She says being on the board can be very rewarding. Even more so, as the current facility looks to complete the first quarter-century of operation in 2024.


Tires on ad for safe winter travel with winter tires from Fountain Tire in Pincher Creek


At its next meeting, the board will finalize the library’s plan of service. Details of the document included a survey with feedback from 160 residents, input from a community engagement session and pop-ups at events like the trade show. The focus, Kayla says, was around the question: What does the library in Pincher Creek look like for the future?

The board is expected to pick its top three choices at its October meeting, with a brochure to follow next month outlining the library’s direction.

Application forms are available on the town website at or can be picked up from the front desk at the town office.

Completed forms can be dropped off at the library or at the town office.

The position is volunteer and requires no previous experience.

“You just need a love for the library,” Kayla says.

It’s hoped the successful candidate can be in place by the November meeting, but there’s no timeline.


Large B logo for the Brick Pincher Creek with yellow button to view current flyer


Young girl dressed in pirate costume reads library book

Library happenings

How are we talking about November already? It has certainly been a busy fall at the library, and we have enjoyed seeing lots of smiling faces visiting our space and participating in all of our fun programs.

October was filled with everything spooky, and ended with the return of our Halloween at the Library event. We would like to thank all of our patrons who came to celebrate with us during this event. We had a lot of fun!

In November, our weekly programs — Tuesday morning Lego club, Friday Lego league, story time on Wednesdays — along with craft kits for both adults and children, and our D&D clubs (every second Saturday), will continue throughout the month.

We are excited to welcome Wes Olson to the library on Thursday, Nov. 10, at 6:30 p.m. Wes has spent four decades working in the field of wildlife and landscape conservation. On top of his incredible career, Wes is also an author and an artist! Come spend an evening at the library and learn about his work with buffalo.

We are also welcoming a new-to-Pincher artist, Anne Sczyrba, to teach a beginner watercolour class at the library. Anne has taught many art classes in the past and is excited to offer her class to our patrons on Tuesday, Nov. 15, from 6 to 8 p.m., and on Thursday, Nov. 17, from 10 a.m. till noon. Space is limited for this program, so be sure to call the library to register.

The art continues with our Create a Bookmark contest. Throughout November, we invite our adult patrons to come in and pick up a contest kit. The kit will come with a blank bookmark and instructions. We will use the winning bookmarks as our date-due slips during December, and the winning artists will be recognized within the library as well as on our social media.

Sheldon Smithens is visiting the library again this month, and hopes to be joined by his Canadian Pickers partner, Scott Cozens. His visit will be on Saturday, Nov. 26, 1 to 3 p.m., and he will answer all your questions about the world of antiques.

Do your kids have some days off from school during the week of Nov. 7 to 10? Do they need something to do? Bring the whole family to the library. We will have self-serve games, crafts and activities for them to enjoy all week long!



Kids trick or treating in lion costumes – one roaring and one smiling on the front page of Shootin' the Breeze. Alberta news from Pincher Creek area and Crowsnest Pass.

Nov. 2, 2022

Lion’s share of fun

Ames and Miles were spotted enjoying Spooky Town and the great weather Saturday at Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village in Pincher Creek.