The Butterfly Quilters, a kaleidoscope of six talented artisans, have been meeting every Tuesday for months to perfect their spectacular quilts and accessories to sell at the Fruitvale Christmas Craft Fair. The Butterflies donate all proceeds back to the community through local charities. Funds raised at the fair are donated to Friends of the Beaver Valley Library. (From left: Lynn Gerein, Cathy Aitken, Pauline Potvin, Elsa Santarossa, Alba Vellutini and Johanne Balfour)

Fun fair keeps Beaver Valley library thriving

Butterfly Quilters just one of many Kootenay artisans who will be set up at the Fruitvale craft fair

What’s better than shopping for special gifts from talented Kootenay crafters then chatting over coffee and a treat?

The fact that all proceeds from admission to the Fruitvale Christmas Craft Fair, which is only $2, will go towards children’s programs and other initiatives at the Beaver Valley Public Library.

So the more visitors to the upcoming craft fair at the Fruitvale Memorial Hall, the better for the library, which now has 3,000+ registered active library card users.

Every year the valley’s public library, located on First Street, gets busier as it provides free service to the growing number of families in Fruitvale, Montrose and Area A of the regional district.

And, as Director Marie Onyett points out, the library is here to stay. That’s because locals still love to check out page-turners in this progressively digital age.

“We are often asked if we are worried that with the advent of technology that the number of people using libraries will decline,” Onyett said. “But we see the exact opposite; technology offers us more opportunities to work together with members of the public, and let’s face it, many people still love books. Our membership numbers climb each year and items circulated also climb.”

Children’s programming has traditionally been the most popular draw, though staff is always looking at ways to better accommodate all age groups.

“We are working to extend our services to not only to children and adults,” Onyett said. “But also to seniors who have difficulty attending the library … In addition, we are in the planning phase to offer library service to seniors at the local seniors’ facility by taking the library to them. And we plan to host STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) events for older children beginning in the new year. All programming is provided free of charge.”

The public library is funded through taxation in its service area and with provincial grants, which largely support basics like collection development, Inter Library Loans, the BC OneCard and limited programming.

The key element with public libraries like the Beaver Valley reading hub, is that it’s open to all, at no-cost.

“One of the things I love most about libraries, ours included, is they are one of the last places that are open to all persons regardless of their socio-economic status and background,” Onyett said. “They are one of the last ‘free’ spaces available in many communities.”

With more people joining programs that range from Mother Goose and Storytime for little ones, to drop-in knitting for adults, learning events for seniors and book readings by local authors, funding is stretched to the limit.

That’s where the craft fair comes in. This annual fundraiser, which hosts a wide-range of local artisans, specifically supports Friends of the Beaver Valley Public Library.

The mandate of the Friends of the Beaver Valley Public Library is to support/fundraise for the library, in particular, to support children’s programming, Onyett explained.

“To this end, all supplies for all of our children’s programming is purchased with funds from the Friends group,” she added. “In addition, the Friends group assists us with purchasing of new printers and replacing the photocopier.”

Past projects include, but are not limited to, new tables and chairs for the library, replacement of the carpet in the children’s area and new magazine storage.

“The Friends of the Beaver Valley Public Library is a small group of very dedicated volunteers,” Onyett said. “And we are very grateful to them for all the support they give the library.”

The Fruitvale Christmas Craft Fair will run Friday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

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