3 Things You Need to Know about the “New” Interlibrary Loan System

We’re all adjusting to life with the “new” interlibrary loan system. You might have heard, after a 50% budget cut earlier this year, the ILL program in Ontario was paused so that libraries could get organized, and decide whether we could continue the service within our own budgets. Unfortunately, most libraries were already well into their budget year, and this made for some deep talks with library boards and municipalities. Once the Southern Ontario Library System (SOLS) and Ontario Library System North (OLS-North) tightened their belts even further, they came up with some funding to help us all out. But it’s probably not what you think, and it certainly won’t be the Interlibrary Loan service we were all used to.

So what has changed, and how does the system work now? Here are a few bits of info to help you understand what we’re doing….and what other libraries are trying to do as well.

You can order books once again through Interlibrary Loan. But…

  • Books are now being sent through the mail instead of being delivered by courier.
  • Canada Post has continued our preferred “library rate” for shipping, but we can only ship one book per bag, which means it’s going to cost quite a bit to ship books overall.
  • It’s possible that it will take longer to ship books, and receive books, although we haven’t quite determined that yet. So, keep that in mind if you order a book.
  • Not all libraries are going to be able to ship books in an unlimited format as we used to do. Although SOLS has promised to reimburse libraries for the costs, they only have limited funds, which will be divided up among libraries at the end of the year. We might see good funding, or we might end up having to take on the majority of the cost…no one really knows yet.
  • Not all libraries have been able to work out extra funding, either from their current budgets, or through extra funds from their municipalities. That means, not all libraries will be able to afford to participate.

What does that mean for you?

  • We’ll be able to order books, but they might take longer in the system, as not every library is responding just yet to the service.
  • Book clubs might be restricted to only a few copies of a book, which could be passed around to members to read prior to meetings. That might mean shorter lend times, but it will be up to your library to decide.
  • Not all book clubs will be able to continue in the same way. Some might have to resort to theme months, or author months.
  • We might not be able to get all of the books we once could. An obscure book still in a small library collection might not be loaned now because that library cannot participate in the ILL system due to costs.

We know you’d like to help….

  • Many patrons have offered to pay a fee for their Interlibrary loan, but according to the Library Act, libraries are not allowed to charge fees for borrowing books.
  • Your letters, phone calls, peaceful read-ins, and petition signatures were a HUGE help! You showed the province just how important library services are to patrons, and to the health of libraries in general. While it may not have reversed the cutbacks, we sure felt your support.
  • When ordering books through ILL now, please be patient, and know that we’re doing all we can to support this service and get your materials in a timely manner. No need to call us or drop in repeatedly to check on your item….we’ll contact you as soon as we get your ILL at our library!

Have you been affected by the cuts to Interlibrary Loan service? Let us know what you think!

New French Resources!

maBiblio_logoWe have some great new options for patrons looking for eBooks and Audiobooks in French! Mabiblionumerique is our newest e-Resource, completely accessible through our main library website. All you need is a library card,  set your login, and you’re ready to go!

There are plenty of great options, from Quebecois authors, to non-fiction, to translations of popular titles for both adults and children. And if you’re not fluent, but looking for some options to get you started, the website is also offered in an English interface to make it easy. Drop by our library website, and choose ONLINE RESOURCES, then LANGUAGE LEARNING, and then Mabiblionumerique….or simply click the link here to go directly to the login page.

You’ll have to download a small program to use the interface, but it’s easy to use, and you can take out a number of books at one time and read to your heart’s content.

Voila! This is a wonderful way to supplement your French reading!

Learn a Language!

mango.jpgThis year, we’re excited to offer our patrons a whole host of new eResources through our online catalog, and one of our most exciting additions is Mango Languages! They’ve made it fun and easy to learn a new language, and we’re making it simple for you to take advantage of it.  All you need is your library card!

Visit our online catalog, click on the eResources link, and choose Mango Languages. All you’ll need to do is sign in with your library card, and then choose a language you’d like to learn. Want to know some Spanish for the mid-winter holiday? Feel like expanding your knowledge for a someday trip? There are plenty of choices. (They even have Pirate-speak as something you can choose. Arrgggh, Mateys! This is great!)

The website is super fun and easy to use. Once you set up an account, they’ll keep track of your lessons, where you’ve finished, and what you might want to work on next. Practice conversations based on activities you might participate in when visiting a particular country (you can learn all about Flamenco dancing while practicing the language in context, for example. They even include cute graphics to make you feel like you’re there! The guitar-playing mango is particularly funny).

This resource would be great for students who might need some brushing up on their French skills, or for people new to our country. You can learn English, too! There are so many fun ways you can use Mango Languages.  What’s your favourite?

The Future of Language

Recently, in the December 2015 issue of Popular Science magazine, there was an amazingly interesting article by John McWhorter, a linguist at Columbia University. In the article, McWhorter talked about how languages are changing–and being lost–due to technological advances and the way cultures have so much access to each other now. It was an eye opening discussion, where McWhorter claimed that of the six or seven thousand languages in the world today, in the next 100 hundred years, that number will drop to about six or seven hundred.  Wow.

More common languages will absorb the ones spoken in remote areas of the world, and instead of people needing to learn languages when they travel, McWhorter believes there will be instant-translation apps where people speak into their devices and the translation will be instantly communicated to listeners. That sure would make traveling a lot easier for people. But does it make us lazier?

You might think that the English language will become the dominant language spoken throughout the world, but this linguist claims it won’t be…not exactly.

“It’s going to be this weird language that originated from tribes drinking blood out of skulls somewhere in Denmark a very long time ago. That’s what we’re speaking now. The Chinese will be running the world, but they’ll be doing it in English, simply because English [got there first].”

John McWhorter

The emergence of a simplistic texting language on our phones is evidence enough for McWhorter to believe that our languages will also be reduced to less formal, and more creative versions of what we know now. Will that translate into how people speak, also? It will be interesting to see if that’s what happens.

To listen to more about this topic and the evolution of language, you might want to watch this fascinating TEDtalk by McWhorter from 2013.

Carmel vs. Caramel

I’m not going to say we have this conversation at work often because we eat a lot of candy, but is it pronounced “car-mel” or “caramel”?  The debate is on, and it turns out, it depends on where you live!

This is a great website that strives to show how word pronunciation differs, even just across the US. This is just the carmel/caramel example. Have fun looking through the maps.

the-pronunciation-of-caramel-starts-disregarding-vowels-once-you-go-west-of-the-ohio-river.jpg

How Do You Pronounce That?

I come across words everyday that I’d probably mumble into my shirt if anyone asked me to say them out loud. Unless you happen to hear a word or a name you’re unsure of, how else can you be sure of a pronunciation?

forvo Forvo.com is a fabulous site that allows people to ask for a word or name they don’t know how to pronounce, and someone will upload an audio file of that word so everyone can hear it. Isn’t that amazing? There are words in other languages, words you might find in a dictionary, but also names and places that you might be reading about in far-off countries. Readers can vote on the pronunciations they think are most accurate, so there won’t be any discrepancies because of local dialects etc.

Even if you’re not struggling with a word right now, it’s a fascinating site to peruse. You might even come away learning a thing or two!