Morinville – Displays and interactive activities will mark the Morinville Community Library’s contribution to anti-Bullying Month this week. Library employee April Heppleston spent time over the weekend setting up a showcase display to visually depict the issue and library patrons will be able to contribute to the display throughout the week by putting down their thoughts on bullying.
“We’re going to put a spotlight on National Anti-Bullying Week by putting a display in the library that has been built by the members of the library and will continue to be all week by anyone that comes into the library,” Heppleston said. “It’s sort of audience participation.”
Patrons will be asked to jot down a name they have been called in the past, positively or negatively. Additionally, an anonymous form can be filled out that allows patrons to reflect on some of the names they were called in the past and what that means to them now. “We are asking the public to share with us names they have been called and how that has changed their life or how they have changed that name to a benefit,” Heppleston explained. “
As well as the display spotlighting the issue, the library has brought in a number of books on the issue and the related topic of self-esteem. “We will have materials on hand for every age level that have to do with bullying, right into adulthood because bullies come in all sizes, shapes and ages,” Heppleston said.
Although creating an environment where people feel safe and secure is an overarching goal of library staff year round, Heppleston added the library is a great place to do research on various social issues that negatively affect families.
“We have had numerous parents and grandparents who have stepped forward and said they are looking for books to help the children and really looking for the tools,” she said. “It’s a very big issue. I’ve had women in tears talking about how beautiful the child is and yet the child can’t see they are beautiful. We will do what we can to turn that around.”
Library Manager Isabelle Cramp agrees the resources are much needed. “I think for us to be able to provide supporting books for parents to access when it comes to bullying – it fits us responding to the needs of the community,” Cramp said. “Bullying is very prevalent in the news nowadays. I think every kid comes home at some point saying they’ve been bullied. It’s an ongoing concern when we’re seeing younger people going into depression and committing suicide over things like that. So I think it is a topic that is very serious and we are very happy that we are able to provide any kind of information that can help parents or adults or teens deal with this issue.”
Above: Morinville Community Library Staff member April Heppleston shows some of the books available at the library this week as part of their participation in Anti-Bullying Month. – Stephen Dafoe Photo