January 24th, 2021

Big Truck Petting Zoo earns Public Library Minister’s Award

By Jensen, Randy on August 6, 2020.

Photo submitted by the Lethbridge Public Library - The Lethbridge Public Library received the 2019/20 MinisterÕs Award for Excellence in Public Library Service for its Big Truck Petting Zoo, shown here in 2019.


Lethbridge Public Library has announced it is the recipient of a 2019/2020 Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Library Service for its Big Truck Petting Zoo.

The Big Truck Petting Zoo was held on May 25, 2019, at the Crossings Branch of the Lethbridge Public Library. The 2020 event was in its planning stages when the Lethbridge Public Library closed as part of all City of Lethbridge COVID-19 closures.

As the Crossings Branch is located in the growing west Lethbridge community of The Crossings, in the 10 years the branch has been in operation it is not unusual to see heavy equipment in the nearby fields as the land is developed for new housing. With that in mind, the Big Truck Petting Zoo event was developed as a way for the community to come and experience heavy equipment up close, and give participants a chance to touch the equipment and learn about its operation from the actual heavy equipment operators.

“The Big Truck Petting Zoo concept is one that I had heard of run at other libraries in North America and wanted to bring to Lethbridge,” said Sarah Head, Lethbridge Public Library, Manager: Branch Services, in a news release. “Heavy equipment, fire engines, and police cars all appear in kids’ books and are something that children might see or hear in their daily lives but don’t get the chance to touch, or look at, up close. Big Truck Petting Zoo offered them this opportunity to explore.”

Big Truck Petting Zoo was presented in partnership with City of Lethbridge Public Operations, and had an assortment of vehicles from Waste and Recycling, Parks, Water and Wastewater, Fleet Services, Police, Fire & EMS, on site to be explored.

An estimated 1,500-1,800 people attended the 2019 event, and feedback was overwhelmingly positive, the library noted in the release. It is an event the library plans on holding again in the future.

The Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Library Service started in 2010, as a way for the Government of Alberta to identify, acknowledge and encourage best practices, and to capture and communicate ideas that can be replicated by libraries across Alberta. Normally, the Minister’s Awards are given out at the Alberta Library Conference earlier in the year. However, as that was not possible this year, a presentation will likely be planned for the fall.

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