There was an outcrying of concern during last night's Swift Current city council meeting. 

The meeting became contentious as the City opened up for a public hearing. Residents from in and around the city voiced both support and apprehension towards the City of Swift Current's plan for the Swift Current Branch Library.

This didn't catch Swift Current's Mayor, Al Bridal, off guard. 

"The material received was kind of what I expected," said Bridal. "There's generally always negative reaction to any change, as people always think of the worst [outcomes]. That's just human nature."

The plan was announced back in the summer during the city council meeting on June 27. It would see the City of Swift Current take over the management and operation of the Branch Library, which is currently run by the Chinook Regional Library. They would also adjust the jurisdiction of the literary institution to extend to the existing city limits. 

New Library JurisdictionThe new jurisdiction of the library, if it became a municipal endeavour. (image courtesy of the City of Swift Current)

Many, if indeed not every speaker who attended last night's meeting voiced similar thoughts and concerns. The main themes followed:


  • A fear that surrounding communities and residents would end up paying for services that would no longer extend to them.


  • Concern over the possible loss of reliability and quality of service that Chinook currently provides.


  • The City of Swift Current's level of thought and inspection to the cost of running the library without Chinook support.


With each additional speaker, the sentiment expressed became clear. Plenty of concerned rural individuals and citizens of adjacent communities do not want the current system managing the library altered.

While the City will continue the process of angling towards making the library a municipal endeavour, this is by no means final. Bridal assured folks present during the meeting both before and after as of much.

Al Bridal, photo by Bobbi-jo KnakoskeSwift Current Mayor, Al Bridal (photo by Bobbi-jo Knakoske)

"My mind is not made-up. Council's mind is not made-up," said Bridal. "We may be staying as a part of Chinook, or we may be leaving. We're not making that decision tonight."

A point was also made that the City of Moose Jaw has a hybrid model with their local library system. Their library system sees them cooperate with the Palliser Regional Library, offering the best of both worlds, having input from both parties. 

"Whether it's staying in Chinook or going to our own municipal library, that's where the decision is. It may be a bit of a hybrid," allowed Bridal. "I want more information on Moose Jaw. I've actually asked Kathryn Foley from the Chinook Regional Library, to get some more information and she said she would, and so I anticipate sometime this week getting more information on that."

Over an hour was spent on the subject of the library, with the vast majority of that time going towards public hearings, both with in-person speakers, and the city reading submitted feedback in emails/letters,

"I'm going to have to make sure each comment made in a letter is correct," said Bridal. "As far as finances; do we have the correct amounts? What it's going to cost us to run a library here, the administration has given us a cost, but I want to make sure that cost is correct."

This won't be the last time the topic comes up in council as the process for taking over the library as a municipal function could possibly take up to three entire years. There is still plenty of time for the plan to change, as the City digests this feedback.