Human Books

human_library_logo_jpeg-1We’re getting ready for another exciting event at the Carleton Place Public Library! Yes, it’s that time of year again….the Human Library Project is almost upon us again. If you weren’t able to attend last year, we have some wonderful human books lined up for April.

What is the Human Library Project?

It’s part of a join initiative with all of the Lanark County libraries, where we offer up something unique to our patrons….the chance to speak with a fascinating person from our community, one-on-one! This isn’t a presentation series…..you come into the library and sit with one of our esteemed guests and chat with them about their work, lives or whatever they’re excited to talk about. These community members have graciously provided us their time, and all of them have a great story to tell.

When does it take place?

Set aside Saturday, April 18th for this great event. You can book your time starting April 6th to reserve your space.

Who can I talk with that day?

I encourage you to drop by the website to read a complete bio on each of our wonderful participants, but we have an Olympic volunteer, a former Deputy Minister, a Fire fighter, and a leader in the human rights movement.

Where can I find out more?

Drop by the Lanark County Human Library website to find out all of the details. You can see who will be a Human Book at each of the participating libraries, and starting April 6th, you can register to save your space online.

This is a fantastic chance to talk with someone you might never get the chance to have a conversation with normally. Don’t miss out! Spaces are limited.

March Break Success!

We had such a fun March Break last week. It was busy, but it was also very successful! Now we’re recovering. But what did we do? Lots!

march.jpgWe had THREE young writers sessions, where we wrote poetry, learned about mysteries, and made up some fractured fairy tales

  • We had a very loud and exciting session of Crazy Library Bingo! (All right now everyone…switch cards!)
  • Although we were scheduled to paint with Coke, it worked better with Kool-Aid.
  • And our Big Hero Drop In was one of the busiest afternoons we’ve had in a long time. (I think everyone was satisfied with our care.)
  • On Thursday, the great people from Radical Science visited and helped us dissect diapers, and make slime! How sublime! (Yes, that was a leftover from the Poetry Party.)
  • And our first French Storytime was a great success. We can’t wait for the next one! (Even though I promised to learn French songs for the occasion.)

Thanks for donating cash and groceries for the Food Bank, for sharing your Shelfie Selfies with us, for drawing cave art and searching for all of the fun I Spy items in the library. We couldn’t have done it without you!

The Page 69 Test

If you’ve ever read and re-read a book jacket, back cover or inside flap over and over to try to decide if you might like a certain book, one blog has taken this to the next level. It’s called “The Page 69 Test”. The idea is that page 69 is a good point in the story–the characters have been developed a bit, the tension is in mid-stride, and the plot is well underway–to tell a reader exactly what the story is really about. On the blog, they ask authors to open to page 69 of their books, and share that page with readers. Is it always a good choice? No, but more often than not, when you read what each author has written about the page, they seem to be amazed at how much page 69 is indicative of their books.

Let’s give it a try. Picking up HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY by Audrey Niffenegger (the first book that came across the desk as I was writing this post), I flip to page 69 and find that it’s about the twins, the flat that the story revolves around, and sewing—all things that quite represent the book. (It was a long page….so I didn’t bother typing it out here.)

fearful

Give it a try with a book you’re currently reading, or one of your favourites. Flip to page 69. Does it represent the book? Let us know! This is a lot of fun, and a new way I might recommend people choose books, just to see how it works.

Would you try this with a book you were thinking about picking up at the store?

Girls. Everywhere.

girlHave you noticed that many of the most talked about books recently include the word “girl” in their titles? From GONE GIRL to THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN and now to GIRL IN THE DARK…what is so catchy about using the moniker “girl” instead of woman? What does the word do, aside from the obvious alliteration bonus in GONE GIRL?

Does it appeal to a reader who is part of a younger generation? Does it make us believe the main character is young at heart, or the spirit of the book is young, free, adventurous, or exciting? Does the word “woman” sound too matronly to be appealing?

What if they began altering books to include the word “boy” instead of “man”? Would anyone want to read them? How about THE OLD BOY AND THE SEA, or THE INVISIBLE BOY? They don’t have the same appeal, somehow. Is it that the titles sound more confident when they use “man” instead of “boy”? And why don’t we care about this on the reverse?

I don’t have any answers to this, but I’m curious to see if the trend will continue. Do you think it matters when trying to sell books? Would you care if the above titles were changed? Let us know!

Bookstores.

readsWe have a wonderful local independent bookstore called Read’s Book Shop. On any given day, they have fun drop-in clubs (knitting, book clubs etc), delicious treats and homemade soups at their counter, cute gift items and of course, lots of wonderful books for purchase. I’d like to think this is a bookstore that will continue to go the distance, but we all need to make it work.

Like the future of libraries, bookstores depend on people coming in and purchasing books and other items. They need to remain vital parts of our main streets, and have programs running that will bring in shoppers as well as readers. They also need to be able to provide friendly staff, quick turnaround for book requests, and incentives to get customers to come back. Read’s does this and much more, very similar to a library’s goals, I think.

Did you know that our library and Read’s Book Shop work together at times? You might think we’d be on opposite sides, but we’re not! Our library tries to use the local bookstore for small book orders we might need on a quick turnaround, we encourage people to shop there if they’re looking for something we might not carry at the moment, and we also try to participate in programs they support, such as Free Comic Book Day. In return, they offer us fantastic support, whether it’s through program advertisement, inclusion in special book fairs, and even spontaneous author visits!

Libraries and book stores should do more of this. We are important to each other in different ways, and especially in small communities, vital to the survival of books in our town. Make sure you visit both….your public library and your local book shop. Without you, we might not be around forever.

eReaders. How We Love to Hate Them.

Don’t get me wrong, most of the staff at our library use electronic devices to access eBooks and audiobooks from the OverDrive site, and we’ll rave about it to anyone who will listen. But do we love dedicated eReaders? Not really. And as it turns out, only a small portion of people who use them actually like them.

ereaderWhen eReaders first came on the scene, it was predominantly an Amazon market. The Kindle was the only eReader for many people, and because they were expensive, and only allowed people to read books that they purchased, only a select few were instantly in love.

Then came an explosion of eReaders put out by a variety of companies. These allowed you to access books from other places besides Amazon, and *cue the trumpets*, you could now also download FREE eBooks from your library! WOW!  We were overwhelmed by people purchasing eReaders for themselves and their families (mostly for elderly parents who might not be able to get to the library as easily as others), and it was decidedly frustrating for us in the library. The eReaders were not simple to use, not if you wanted to download free books from the OverDrive website. Everyone had different devices, different computers and different problems. We could spend hours with a patron trying to get them set up, only to face the probability that they’d be back in a few weeks, still not sure how to do the entire process on their own. It was especially difficult that first year as many people bought eReaders for their parents at Christmas, and then left them with the instructions to “go to the library to have it set up”. For many of these people, computers were difficult enough to use, and to add a device was more than frustrating. I think we had a lot of disappointed patrons that winter.

Now, after several years, there are more devices on the market, and fewer problems. How is that possible? Apps, my friend……APPS.

People who want to enjoy eBooks and audiobooks are no longer forced to buy a device that only allows them to read books on it. Now, phones, tablets and many of the eReaders themselves have wi-fi and use apps so that users can read books, surf the net, text, check Facebook, take photos for Instagram and tweet….all while they listen to a book or download their next ten books for their vacation. They are multi-purpose devices, and that’s exactly the way eReading needed to go.  They are much easier to use, have a simple set-up for OverDrive, and people can usually download a book and be on their way in minutes, rather than have an extensive session at the library to get them going. We love them….and still loathe them, all at the same time.

Kindles, while still one of the most popular devices on the market, are not compatible with OverDrive in Canada. Well, not most of the Kindles, anyway. (The Kindle Fire is more of a tablet which does use apps, and therefore, allows you to access OverDrive.) This is sad news for people who have done research and found the product that seems to have the most positive reviews will not work for them if they want free eBooks and audiobooks. In the US, library patrons can access OverDrive ebooks through their libraries due to a program used to allow them to be compatible, but so far, it hasn’t crossed the border. Are there bigger issues that aren’t being addressed?  I’m not sure, but I guess we’ll deal with that when the time comes.

Now, though, Kindle has put out a new device that they are saying is BETTER THAN BOOKS.  Better than books????? What? The Kindle Voyage claims to be so good, you’ll forget you’re reading on an electronic device. The “paper” is so realistic, it is easy on your eyes, and in your hands, and will certainly make you a convert. But what’s so special? Have you ever read an enormous book with multiple characters that are difficult to keep track of? The Kindle Voyage has a simple pop up that will display the characters to remind you, let you tap a word to look it up in the dictionary, allow you to flip to footnotes and back easily, and also uses new technology that puts turning the pages right under where your fingers naturally rest when holding the device. No more swiping.

I’m sure it’s wonderful. I’m sure it will revolutionize reading for many people. How could it not? Who wouldn’t want to be able to carry around thousands of books in the palm of your hand? Who wouldn’t want to be able to download the newest best-seller from their favourite author the second it comes out on the market? eBooks and eReaders are truly wonderful for that. And Kindles aren’t the only devices that will do this.

But will the frustrations from not being able to access books from your library, or having to re-charge your device simply to finish that book, or losing your entire collection when you drop your device on a hard floor (or in the bathtub), override the old hardcover? Probably not. We love eBooks and audiobooks and all that they provide to us. We just don’t always love the downsides that come with the devices.

How about you? Let us know…do you prefer eBooks over the real deal? Do you mix it up?

 

Winners

After the Oscars this past weekend, a lot of people will be flocking to rent or buy some of the winning movies they didn’t manage to see last year. Did you know that we carry many of the most current DVDs and also a great assortment of the books that the movies were based on? You can drop in and pick up a DVD at the library using just your library card, and keep it for a week. Isn’t that a great deal? We think so! These are just a few of the movies that won or were nominated for Oscars this year, and we have them here. If they aren’t available when you come in, put one on hold.

availableTake out a movie today!