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Meet one of AUMA’s not-for-profit members: Marigold Library System

June 29, 2021

An AUMA Member since 2007

Marigold is a not-for-profit membership collective of municipalities to provide affordable and progressive public library services and support. Marigold serves 343,000 residents in 43 rural and urban municipalities that surround Calgary and two First Nations Reserves. Our services are largely focused on the 36 libraries in our region, although Marigold also delivers services directly to residents in a variety of ways: Library Lending Lockers, 24/7 digital resources and services on our websites, volunteer book deposits and mail services.

What do you see in the post-COVID-19 world for your organization?

Marigold will continue to serve its municipal members to provide quality library services for the residents of member municipalities. Our focus is on the library operations in our member municipalities and residents of the municipalities.

Marigold will continue to innovate and use emerging technologies to provide library services. An example of this is the Library Lending Lockers which were recently unveiled at the Bragg Creek Community Centre in Rocky View County.

Workplace flexibility is a big win for Marigold. COVID has provided opportunities to look at processes and workflows with a fresh perspective, and we have learned that workplace flexibility increases productivity and employee job satisfaction. Going forward, Marigold will be more open to making work from home arrangements with staff, while continuing to pay attention to the importance of in-person connections.

Because Marigold’s member municipalities are spread across Alberta, it is not easy to gather everyone together for regular Board meetings. We have learned through necessity during the pandemic that Zoom and other video calling technologies work very well for getting work accomplished at all levels of the organization, and we will continue to take full advantage of those communication technologies.

Our new headquarters facility will have more space configured to better support our business operations. After the move, Marigold is also looking forward to connecting with our communities and expanding library services to underserved parts of our region.  

What’s the number one success you have celebrated during COVID-19 that you are particularly proud of?

It is hard to choose between two successes to which we point with pride.

During 2020, there were no layoffs, no resignations and no new hires at Marigold. While partly due to good fortune, this staffing stability was facilitated by the type of work that we do, which is mostly behind the scenes. Because of our well-established and updated Business Continuity Plan (thanks to help from AUMA on this), we were able to adjust our workflows to accommodate remote work within a matter of hours as soon as we heard the first COVID closure news in March 2020.

Marigold is also proud of the fact that we were able to launch and sustain our building project with our partner, Western Irrigation District. Throughout the summer, fall, winter and spring, the building project has progressed with good workmanship and collaboration and without derailing delays. We are looking forward to moving into our new headquarters facility this fall.

How has AUMA helped you navigate the pandemic over the last 13 months?

During the recent 13-month pandemic period, Marigold continued its operations with necessary COVID adjustments, such as enabling staff to work from home and implementing safety protocols in our headquarters facility at Strathmore.

This is exciting news for us and for our 43 municipal members. Our current headquarters facility started out as an armory that was built almost 70 years ago. Marigold is building a new HQ in partnership with the Western Irrigation District. Marigold’s High Interest Savings Account (HISA) through AUMA is integral to managing cash flow for this project with minimum fuss and paperwork.

During the pandemic, Marigold management and staff took advantage of webinars and training provided by AUMA. The Mental Health Webinar Series sessions were valuable, well-received and well done. Staff members also took advantage of WHMIS training at no cost, and we are looking forward to accessing the training in the prevention of violence and harassment in the workplace. Marigold staff attended the 2021 AUMA Public Risk Conference and found that it was informative and beneficial.

AUMA equips Marigold to be good fiscal stewards to save money and to maintain efficient operations and financial practices, such as by managing utility costs through AUMA’s energy program and using AUMA issued BMO pay cards for payments. These services allowed us to efficiently and seamlessly handle business operations throughout the pandemic.

Our AMSC insurance agent, Mark Sosnowski, is an expert and trusted advisor. His assistance recommending and setting up various types of insurance for Marigold has been a blessing for Marigold. During the pandemic, Marigold arranged for added insurance coverages for our building project and for operational security.

What gap that you see that can be filled to achieve greater success?

Marigold appreciates that AUMA has shown leadership in communicating with our provincial government on legislation that benefits all Albertans. We hope that AUMA will continue to be a strong voice to represent Albertans.

Municipalities are very important to Albertans’ quality of life. We need our municipalities to have the resources to serve their residents well. Advocating for the resources to get municipalities and businesses back on their feet will help everyone.

Advocate for any means by which to prevent and contain cybercrime.

Webinars on topics of current interest and concern will be appreciated going forward, such as how to adapt to a post pandemic world.  How can we engage Albertans more so they feel like they are part of a better future?  How can we strengthen and encourage leadership?

Better promotion of consultation services. During the recent AUMA conference, it was mentioned that Marigold could get advice from AUMA before terminating an employee as part of risk mitigation. It would be nice to have more information about HR services that are available through AUMA.

Please find more information about Marigold on their website: To learn more about their building project, please visit https://www.marigoldwidcommunity.ca/blog

Authored by:
Chief Executive Officer
Michelle Toombs