Local newspapers important in bringing information to the public
The Camrose Canadian has recorded the growth and history of Camrose as evidenced by this paper from Aug. 13, 1914. Supplied
Nicole Bannick and Deborah Cryderman
“No one needs to tell me about the importance of the free press in a democratic society or about the essential role a newspaper can play in its community.” — Robert Kennedy
Print media may be changing, but it is still a vital means of sharing information and ideas. Not everyone has access to technology or the digital literacy skills to use electronic media efficiently and effectively. Reading local print newspapers not only keeps us informed about our city, province, country, and world, but it is integral to the development of an open and critical mind and the ability to distinguish truth from falsehood.
Publications like the Camrose Canadian are so very important in smaller cities like Camrose. Rural communities face different challenges and successes than large urban areas, and it is important to have our own sources for our local news, events, and opinions. Our connection to place is rooted in our connection to each other and the idea of community. Without an unbiased forum for sharing ideas and community news, it becomes more difficult to be an engaged citizen because it is difficult to be a well-informed one.
Arthur “Bugs” Baer, an American journalist and humorist, saw so many similarities between newspapers and libraries that he is quoted as saying that “a newspaper is a circulating library with high blood pressure.” For the past 110 years, The Camrose Canadian has helped Camrose and Area residents feel connected to each other and this community by providing a weekly resource for local news, lifelong learning, social engagement, recreation, and business opportunities. For the past 110 years, the Camrose Canadian has celebrated and mourned with our community. From curling matches to soccer games; from births to funeral announcements; from reports on the completion of a Normal School in 1914 to the Aquatic Centre upgrades this year, the Canadian has shared the news that we need as a community. They have been an important forum for local political news and opinions, helping constituents to make informed decisions for our community.
Camrose Public Library would like to thank the Camrose Canadian for their history of providing our community with our local news, the opinions of our residents, and for allowing us as an organization to have space to submit weekly articles about literacy and library services. You have given the library a voice outside of the library, in the wider community, and into the reaches of our county. The Canadian has provided not only a place to promote community engagement through library programs and services, but also a forum to explain why those programs and services are vital for a diverse and inclusive community.
Many voices are important, and it is always sad and a bit concerning when one voice falls silent. When we only have access to one source of local information, it can be difficult to form or change our opinions on matters, as we are only influenced by one viewpoint. The Camrose Canadian is a voice that will be remembered and missed for many years to come. If you, the readers, would like to investigate the history of our city through the Camrose Canadian, we invite you to come explore the publication’s microfilm archives at Camrose Public Library.
Nicole Bannick and Deb Cryderman have been working together at Camrose Public Library for almost 7 years. When they are not planning fabulous parties and creating community through library services, they are rocking babies and walking dogs. They and the other staff who have had the pleasure to write articles in the Camrose Canadian will miss this publication and the opportunity to share their ideas and contemplate the opinions of others.