‘Checking Out’ Local Art: Airdrie Public Library launches Travelling Book Project

Story by Josie Randall


Photos by Airdrie Public Library

Winter 2023/24

If you’ve ever felt the urge to draw in a library book, now’s your chance.

The Airdrie Travelling Book Project is a new collaborative book-in-the-making in circulation at the Airdrie Public Library (APL) that hopes to highlight creativity in the community.

There are three sketchbooks available for anyone with a library card to check out. Then, individuals simply choose a page to let their creativity out on.

“Absolutely anyone can contribute anyway they want,” says Lisa Murphy Lamb, Adult Programmer with APL.

“From poetry, short stories to making drawings, watercolors, collages, textiles – it is really up to the individual what they want to put on the page.”

Murphy Lamb says she got the idea from a similar project in Brooklyn, New York, where artists from around the world were sent a sketchbook and asked to contribute to it.

Here in Airdrie, the ‘now-empty’ book project invites contributors of all ages to share moments, secrets, stories, dreams, visions and ideas that are specific to each individual.

Contributors cannot be hateful in any way, or alter someone else’s page.

When finished, the book will be available to checkout in several libraries across the province.

“Once all the books have been filled out, it will tell the story of our community and those who live here,” says Murphy Lamb.

Keith Gorham is a local artist who is waiting to check out one of the books. As a mosaic artist, he plans on creating a mini mosaic out of paint chips to include in a book.

“It is such a good opportunity for people of any age to dabble in their creativity,” says Gorham.

“Airdrie has so much talent, and I bet there is a lot of budding talent as well. These books will be a great way to collectively show Airdrie’s unique voices.”