The Public

A new film by Emilio Estevez called “The Public” was inspired by an article which appeared in the LA Times in 2007 by Salt Lake City Public Library deputy director Chip Ward, and tells the tale of a librarian-led standoff with police after a group of homeless people take shelter in a Cincinnati library.

Libraries are becoming the safe havens of many people who either don’t have places to go, or need some respite from the elements. And while it seems like it might be the directive of libraries to provide space for any person who needs it, it can be a real problem for people who don’t believe that truth. Our spaces are open long hours. We have heat in winter and cool air in summer. We don’t require anyone to pay a fee to enter our buildings, nor have any specific purpose to be there. Everyone is welcome to enter a library and stay as long as they want.

“The Public” delves into the story of a group of homeless people who decide to stay, and a group a librarians who want to help. Strangely enough, it’s not always librarians who have the final say as to what happens in their libraries. Boards and municipalities often have input, as in this movie, and it makes for a lot of tension.

It sounds like an interesting premise for a film–and while the reviews for this movie haven’t been stellar, it might be something those who work in the library community can appreciate most.

If you’ve already seen “The Public”, did you enjoy it?

How Do Books Get from There to There?

If you’ve ever been curious as to how books go from the publishing catalog to your library where they are ready to be placed on hold, the podcast “Shelve Under” looks behind the scenes and interviews people you had no idea even existed at your library!

You can listen to this podcast and more right here.


Okay, we don’t actually have a morning cheer like some places, but this is a lot like the staff at our library. We rely on each other, we work together as a team, and we support each other.

While it might seem as though this is a quiet time at the library—we’re short on programs, quieter in the stacks, more likely to be seen with a cookie and a cup of tea at our desks, it’s certainly not winding down behind this scenes. In fact, December is typically really busy for us. We’re planning all of the winter programs and getting things ready for those, making calls to community partners to make sure co-ordinated events are in place, finishing up budget regards for the year, and prepping hoards of new books for reading programs.

December is also the time we start thinking about March Break events, we start looking at summer program obligations, we are getting ready to apply for student grants for summer, and we’re deciding on all of the sessions we’re going to attend at the annual library conference in January. Some of us are choosing National Film Board movies for the upcoming viewing year, we’re filling our staff calendar with programs, and we’re boxing up books to send to Better World Books for places that really need them. Staff are also busy ordering books for four very large books clubs, we’re preparing presentations for Town Council, we’re doing online webinars to keep current on new library services, and we’re constantly….constantly….running reports to help us take stock of our collection, clear out  stagnant works, and make it even better.

And don’t forget, this year, we’ll be doing some renovations (new carpets being of utmost importance), we’ll be thinking of great ways to celebrate Carleton Place’s 200th Anniversary, and most of all, we’ll be listening to YOU. This is your library. We are working hard to make it an important community space, a place where people feel involved, and an environment that includes everyone.

So, maybe we should have a morning cheer!


Libraries Replaced by Amazon? Absurd!

A recent Forbes article by Panos Mourdoukoutas recently made a lot of people crazy. It was called “Amazon Should Replace Local Libraries to Save Taxpayers Money”. I’d like to link it here, but the article appears to have been deleted fro the site, leading only to an error message now (which was really what we all thought).

But the uproar over it hasn’t stopped. Essentially, the author claimed that libraries weren’t needed because people now use Starbucks, Netflix, and Amazon more. He claimed we don’t need library spaces, and that they are underused. Apparently, the man hasn’t been to a library since he was a child.

As frustrating as the article was, it’s the backlash that has been the most interesting. You can find a great (although long) post from the Nocturnal Librarian here. She makes some great arguments, and has the facts to back it up. Although it’s a little difficult to read through the text, stick with it. It’s interesting.

And the tweets that follow Mourdoukoutas’ twitter post after his article ran are even better. And it applies just as much to Canadian libraries as it does to American libraries.

What do you think? Will Amazon ever give libraries a run for their money?

New and Improved!

As bookstores are having to constantly change their formats to keep up with the changing needs of customers, libraries have to do the same. Long gone are the dusty card catalogs, replaced by shiny new tablets with searchable catalogs.

And what about cramped, outdated computers to do your work or log onto social media? Sleek desks with tiny computer footprints make it easier for patrons to get their work–or surfing–done. That even includes a height-adjustable desk for patrons who might be in a wheelchair.

And for older patrons, the task of looking for large print books can be unappealing. But large print covers are now bright and fun, and facing them out bookstore style, should help make selections easier. Maybe patrons will even find some new favourite authors!

If you’re seeing changes at our library, while they might cause a bit of confusion, they’re also exciting and forward-thinking. Take a few minutes to see what’s new at our library!


Libraries are all about cost savings. You can get the obvious benefits for your piggy bank by coming here for books instead of buying them. But what else can you get for your money at libraries?

At the Carleton Place Public Library, you can get:

  • movies for the weekend
  • museum passes to take the family to see a special exhibit
  • a great choice of puzzles to take home and exchange for new ones once you finish
  • literacy tutoring for your child who might be struggling with reading
  • access to free WiFi and computers
  • a safe space for your child to meet with a tutor
  • a cool zone during the hot summer months, and a place to warm up in the winter
  • one-on-one tech tutoring for that new device you don’t quite know how to use
  • fun summer programs for the whole family
  • great monthly events like bird watching classes, meditation seminars, and book launches
  • writing classes for youth and adults
  • online language instruction, downloadable magazines, and streaming TV shows
  • access to books from all across the country
  • a family friendly washroom with a changing table
  • room rental space for events
  • Halloween costume exchanges, craft nights, and Lego Drop In days

This is only a fraction of things that you can do or access at our library, but there are many more things that happen at libraries. If you haven’t been to a public library in a while, drop by to see what they offer. You might be surprised!

So, start saving those loonies and toonies for a nice vacation, and visit your public library!


This is a beautiful quote, from architect, professor and author Witold Rybczynski upon visiting Chicago’s Harold Washington Library Center in his essay, “A Good Public Building,” collected in Mysteries of The Mall:

The atmosphere was different from that in other public buildings. Unlike a museum, it had no price of admission, and the security guards were unobtrusive; the stacks were open, and the books were there to be picked up and leafed through. There was also a more mixed crowd than one finds in a museum or a concert hall: groups of teenagers, elderly men and women, college students, street people. In a period where even art museums are beginning to resemble shopping malls, this library stands apart. It didn’t make me feel like a consumer, or a spectator, or an onlooker; it made me feel like a citizen.

Don’t all libraries make us feel that way? They should.