Can James Patterson Teach?

In one of our writers’ meetings at the library recently, one of the members told us about something they’d seen pop up in their Facebook feed…a writing course taught by James Patterson. They had no other details, but it sounded intriguing. After all, James Patterson puts out about a million books a month (yes, I’m exaggerating, but only slightly), and we can assume he’s doing quite well by it, so a writing course might be something of value.

12275830396489850044So, when I came across this article by an author, Joyce Maynard, who took the course, I was interested to see what she thought. Ms. Maynard explains that she has written 15 novels over the course of her writing career, all of which have sold modestly, and while she earns her living through writing, she is not earning by James Patterson standards. She was curious as to what Mr. Patterson might teach her–clearly admitting that he must know something she doesn’t about the business of writing—and forked over the $90 for the 22 sessions in the James Patterson MasterClass.

The classes are well organized on a special website, and students can work at their own pace, accessing any of the lessons in any order they prefer. Maynard got right to it, deciding she’d spent enough of her life trying to write a best-seller, and worked through the lessons in about three hours, avoiding the exercises for the most part. Going in, she was slightly skeptical, but upon her “graduation”, she held a new respect for Mr. Patterson. While most of the topics were not new to her, she found that Jim, as she liked to refer to him now, talked most importantly about storytelling, and the art of creating stories that will grab the readers and not let go.

His most valuable piece of advice, according to Ms. Maynard? “Don’t set out to write a good thriller. Set out to write a No.1 thriller.”

Good advice. I think I’ll bring this course back up to the writing group later this month. It might benefit some of the more seasoned writers and give them something new to work toward. While Maynard claims Patterson’s course is not without cliche, or geared toward those who want to write poetic, epic stories, she believes every writer could learn something from this best-selling author.

Maybe there’s a lesson in there for all of us. The people who are doing the job and doing it well enough to earn their living, must have the right formula, whether you “admire” that person’s skill or not. Can you learn from it?


Next Week, We have ALL the fun!

srmeiGiIh7f7KFwVl8aG9HA5O2VfUUDNEkvWmPvwnOEWe’re almost there….Ontario Public Library Week!  Yes, we’re going to be doing lots of fun things at the library next week to celebrate, so make sure you drop in.

What kinds of fun things, you ask?

  • A special Library-themed I Spy for the kids all week long
  • Super Hard library trivia contests, and extra special scavenger hunts for the kids
  • The launch of our Adopt-a-Book program!
  • A stuffed animal sleepover
  • Our #FavBookYourFacebook event
  • Get Carded at the Library……

….and much more! You won’t want to miss a second of it! See you at the library next week!

In the running…

There are only a few short days left before the elections on October 19th, but you still have time to read a little more about some of the candidates. And wouldn’t you know it, two of the three party leaders have new books out, and the third has one from 2014.


While these books might not sway your vote in one direction, it might be interesting to read more about each of these men who are vying to take/keep control of the reins this fall. Don’t forget, the library is a great place to further your understanding of important political issues, people, and party standings. Drop in to read the daily newspaper to keep abreast of everything happening in our area, or book a computer to surf the web and read current news articles.

And don’t forget to exercise your right to vote on October 19th.

The Nerd Herd has CONVICTION!

This month, the Nerd Herd is prepping for something very exciting. It’s our first author interview, and we’re doing it through a Google Hangout! Joining us from California is Disney-Hyperion author, Kelly Loy Gilbert, author of CONVICTION, a stunning YA debut about a boy, his love of baseball, and a family tragedy that spirals out of control.

ConvictionWe’ve been reading, preparing questions, planning our snacks, making posters and cards, deciding on games, and most of all, we’re looking forward to speaking with an author and hearing how she came to be published. This is a fantastic book–very different from a lot of the fantasy/dystopian/adventure books we’ve been reading, but certainly a book full of current topics.

From Goodreads:

Ten years ago, God gave Braden a sign, a promise that his family wouldn’t fall apart the way he feared.

But Braden got it wrong: his older brother, Trey, has been estranged from the family for almost as long, and his father, the only parent Braden has ever known, has been accused of murder. The arrest of Braden’s father, a well-known Christian radio host, has sparked national media attention. His fate lies in his son’s hands; Braden is the key witness in the upcoming trial.

Braden has always measured himself through baseball. He is the star pitcher in his small town of Ornette, and his ninety-four-mile-per-hour pitch al- ready has minor league scouts buzzing in his junior year. Now the rules of the sport that has always been Braden’s saving grace are blurred in ways he never realized, and the prospect of playing against Alex Reyes, the nephew of the police officer his father is accused of killing, is haunting his every pitch.

Braden faces an impossible choice, one that will define him for the rest of his life, in this brutally honest debut novel about family, faith, and the ultimate test of conviction.

It’s going to be so exciting! Have you read this? Let us know what you think! We’ll post some follow up at the end of the month to let everyone in on the experience.


Star Wars Reads Day!

Saturday, October 10th is Star Wars Reads Day…and we’re having some fun at the library to go along with it! Stop by anytime between 10am – 5pm to take part in a special Star Wars themed I Spy, grab up a few great Star Wars books, and take home some crafts and special bookmarks. It’s going to be a great day!


Join in the fun!

srmeiGiIh7f7KFwVl8aG9HA5O2VfUUDNEkvWmPvwnOEToday, we’re starting a special project that we hope everyone will join us on during Ontario Public Library Week, which is Oct. 18 – 24, 2015.  But it’s already Canadian Library Month, so go ahead and get to it now, if you like!

We’re aiming to have everyone change their Facebook profile photos this month to a photo with you and your favourite book, or a “book face”. Then, all you have to do is use the hashtag #FavBookYourFacebook to show us you did it! We’re also hoping you’ll use the Canadian Library Month hashtag #CLM so that everyone can see that we’re celebrating books and libraries this month!

Caroline already changed her profile pic! Isn’t it great?


Just changed my profile pic for ‪#‎FavBookYourFacebook‬ in honour of Canadian Library Month ‪#‎CLM‬. My book is “Wee Free Men” by the late Sir Terry Pratchett. (Is anyone surprised?) Proudly display your favourite book in your profile picture to celebrate the amazing libraries in our communities! Don’t forget to hashtag #FavBookYourFacebook and #CLM

So, get thinking about what book you’d like to use in your photo. Show how much you love libraries and books during Canadian Library Month!

The Library is Everywhere


(This article was originally posted on Feb. 26, 2014, but October is Canadian Library Month, and we wanted to remind people why the library is so important.)

Your library is changing. It might be the same building and the same people and have the same name, but the idea of “library” is completely different now. It’s not only a place to find books, and get information and attend programs. It’s so much more. The library is everything now…and the library is everywhere.

Who is the library?

Your library staff may not have changed much through the years, or it may be in constant flux. At our library, we’re beginning a new chapter, and it’s full of interesting ideas, people and ventures. But the library is not only its staff. The library is community partners, schools, local government, and most importantly, YOU. Without you, there wouldn’t be a need for the building, the books or the staff. So, we must always keep our patrons at the forefront when thinking about the library. We have to listen to what you want and try to anticipate what you might need. I think we do pretty well overall. The library is all of us.

What is the library?

Originally, the library was a place that housed books and stored information. It was a center of learning, a meeting place and a place to gather important records for posterity. The library was history, current events and imagination all in one. And it still is all of those things, but now it’s also much more.

  • The library is a place to get books, magazines, audiobooks, ebooks, movies and music.
  • The library is a place to access computers, usually for free. This not only means access to the internet, but an opportunity to use software to update your resume, search for your ancestors, do your homework or balance your chequebook.
  • The library is a place to bring your wireless devices and access free Wi-Fi. Download movies, chat on Facebook with your friends or check your email.
  • The library is a place to socialize. It’s warm in the winter, and cool in the summer. We have lots of programs where we invite you to come and spend time learning and meeting new people.
  • The library is a place for programs. Babies, toddlers, pre-school, school age, tweens, teens, adults and seniors are all represented at the library.  Looking for something different to do? Chances are, the library is offering up something fun!
  • The library is a community space. Host a meeting, tutor some students, hold a birthday party or teach a class. You can do it all in our public meeting space.
  • The library can help you with your future. Talk with people in a second language, take a course, research Universities, find books on subjects you’d like to know more about.
  • The library can teach you about your past. Access and research your family tree. Book time in the Genealogy room or talk with a resident expert on the subject. No idea where to start? We have a questionnaire to help, and we offer special one-on-one sessions to learn how to do it, based on the demand.
  • The library is a place to go for help. We’re great at finding local information, matching people up with the correct community service and helping you figure out things like what day to put the trash out. We’re as good at finding your next great read as we are at listening to you vent about lack of parking in the public lot. And hopefully, you’ll always find us to be friendly, interested and full of great ideas.
  • The library is literacy.  Spend time in our Summer Reading program. Find a tutor to help with a second language. Start your children on the right path by coming to babytime or storytime. Read with your family.
  • The library is entertainment! Attend a fun event during the summer. Take part in one of our children’s programs throughout the year. Stock up on DVDs to get through the long weekend. Take out an armload of books.
  • The library supports local business. Did you know we buy some of our book selection from the local bookstore? How about those DVD’s we picked up in another shop in town. Participate in one of our fun events during the Bridge Street Bazaar or during Canada Day and you’ll find us encouraging you to visit many local businesses to see what they have to offer. Like us on Facebook…we have friends in the community, and you’ll find out what’s opening up or staging a special event. The library is everywhere.

Where is the library?

It might seem like an obvious question, but the library isn’t just that building in the center of town. The library is everywhere. It’s in your schools (with presentations and book visits), and it’s in your home (our online catalog is easy to access, and we have eBook and audiobook downloads, too). It’s in your car (plug in a CD or hook up your iPod or tablet to listen to a book on that long drive in), and it’s with you on vacation (bring sale books, stock up on downloads, pick up a movie before you go or access your account from the top of a mountain). Easiest of all, it’s on your phone (just download the OverDrive app, like us on Facebook, scan one of our QR codes and watch a book trailer, or send us a quick email…it’s all at your fingertips!)

When is the library?

Remember when you had to wait for the doors to open to access the library? Now, you can use the library 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Download books in your pajamas when you can’t sleep. Renew your books after we close in the evenings online. Visit our online catalog and place holds on books before you come in so they’re ready for you to pick up when you’re ready. The library is there during holidays, over the summer and most of all, on your schedule. While the physical doors might be locked, there are so many ways to access the library at all hours, you never need to go without information or books. Have a question about a library program or service? Need to know something about the community? Send us a message on Facebook or through the blog. We’re always checking our posts, and we’ll get back to you as quickly as we can. Have an overdue book and can’t find your PIN? Give us a call and leave a message. We’ll renew it the next business day, no problem.

Why is the library?

We should probably rephrase the question to be “Why is the library still so relevant?” It’s not the intimidating place you once visited as a kid, where you had to tiptoe around.  It’s not somewhere you have to go, but someplace you want to go. What other place in your community allows people from all walks of life, from infants to senior citizens, to go through the doors….for free……and participate in something interesting or fun or important? We’re hard-pressed to think of one.

Often, you’ll drop in an hear laughter pouring out of the children’s area, or people in hot discussion at the back tables. You might partake in a conversation with other patrons or staff at the front desk, or engage someone in the parking lot. Why is the library still a part of our society when everything can be accessed online? The easy answer is because the library is still about people. It’s about active conversation and ideas and programs. It’s about a physical building with community ties to engage you in something new. It’s about learning and trying new things. It’s about books and movies. It’s about access for people who might not have access anywhere else. It’s about the people that can afford programs, and the people that can’t. It’s about everyone, regardless of the job you have, where you live, your age or your beliefs. It’s a solid post in your community with access to the world.

How is the library?

This is one question that has to be answered in different ways. How is the library still available? How do we all have access to the library? How can we keep it going? In our community, we don’t charge fees to use the library (except for book fines, photocopies, room rentals and computer printouts). Our library is funded through community taxes, so in effect, if you live in our community, you fund the library. There are also other surrounding communities who help support our library, to ensure their residents also have access. We feel incredibly lucky to have a strong support system behind us, and we don’t take it for granted.  But it’s not the same everywhere.

We can keep libraries open and running by visiting them, taking part in programs, donating to special events or fundraising efforts and accessing us online. Some of our patrons rarely come through our doors, but are active members by downloading eBooks or audiobooks, which also contributes to our statistics. We keep close ties with community groups and encourage them to visit our library…like the Sparks or Cub Scouts. We invite schools to bring classes so that they have access to a bigger selection of books, and in doing so, encourage a new generation of readers. And we stay fresh in the minds of our local government by participating and inviting them to use our facility whenever possible. It’s all about ties….to people, government and ideas.

The next time you hear someone say that libraries are becoming obsolete, think of all of the ways we use our libraries now, and how we could continue to use them in the future. They won’t disappear if we fight for them and make them an integral part of our communities. After all, the library is everywhere.

 Update: Oct. 1, 2015

 It’s been over a year since we posted this originally, and you may have noticed several new changes in the Carleton Place Public Library. We have new staff, new programs that now include adults, new catalog access that allows us to email our patrons reminder notices of items due soon, and new participation in community events. We’re also gearing up for an exciting new element that will change how we do things currently at the front desk…and we think you’re going to LOVE it!

Celebrate Canadian Library Month with us by letting us know what you love about your library. It will always be a vital part of the community, and we hope you think so, too.


(Photo: Monika Majkowska)