When the Drumheller Library Society offered money to pay for free library cards in celebration of Canada's 150, they couldn't have imagined the program's popularity.
Emily Hollingshead, Director of Library Services at the Drumheller Public Library, says they've given away more than twice as many cards as they usually sell.
"We started offering free library cards on July 3 -- the first open day after July 1 -- and we've had, since then, 361 new patrons," revealed Hollingshead. "Which, compared to last year, is about two-and-a-half times what we would have expected without the free library cards on offer."
Hollingshead has been attending events throughout the valley this summer to promote the free cards.
"We were certainly expecting an increase," explained Hollingshead. "We expected it to be a big rush at the beginning and then trail off, and it's actually been holding pretty steady."
The free cards aren't just for new library members. Existing patrons of the library can renew their cards for free until June 30, 2018. Unfortunately, Hollingshead isn't able to compare this year's free renewal figures to last year's numbers.
"That one is a little harder to track, because of the way that the computer system keeps stats. I don't expect that it's a lot different because, if people were going to come in and renew their cards, they would do it one way or the other."
The library's next event around town is the Drumheller Dinosaur & Comic Expo on Friday, Sept. 29 and Saturday, Sept. 30.