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Fort Macleod Library unveils ‘The Tree of Knowledge’ mural

Fort Macleod Library unveiled a community project Friday that was created to mark the town’s 150th anniversary.

“The Tree of Knowledge” mural created with input from many people now hangs at the library entrance.

“The artwork consisted of 150 tiles, each representing a year in the life of Fort Macleod, and all of them hand-painted by members of the town and our community,” librarian Darlene Hofer said.

A small gathering of library volunteers and community members gathered for the mural unveiling as part of Fort Macleod 150th anniversary celebrations.

The mural is of a large tree with roots growing from a book.

“The book represents our library, which has risen from its humble beginnings in 1931 to the thriving community hub it is today, much as a tree rises from a single seed, lovingly watered and nurtured,” Hofer said. “Tree roots are deeply entrenched in the earth as this library’s are in the richness of the residents of Fort Macleod.”

Hofer acknowledged CBC Radio for funding the mural project as part of the Out Your Way Spring Fest hosted by the library in March.

Hofer also acknowledged Kathleen Bell of CBC for proposing the project and working with Hofer and Joan Sillito to kick it off at the Spring Fest.

People were invited to paint an image on tiles that were later assembled into the mural.

Library volunteer Cordelia Yip created the tiles for both the mural and a book.

Volunteers Bev and Owen Jestin built the frame, placed the tiles, varnished the mural and helped with installation.

Hofer also acknowledged dedicated library volunteer Brian Clayton, who died earlier this year. His memory is preserved on the mural in tiles created by his grandchildren.

Fort Macleod’s first library was a project of Henrietta Muir Edwards, one of the Famous Five who fought the legal battle to have women in Canada recognized as “persons.”

The first library was in a store room at the back of Struthers Clothing Store on Main Street.

Annual membership fees of $1 for adults and 50 cents for children helped pay the $3 a month rent.

That early library consisted of 300 books contributed by the University of Alberta extension library, the Victoria League of London and individual donations.

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