Five Library Things

The library is a constantly forward-moving institution, even though many people don’t think of us in that way.  We aren’t just books and card catalogs anymore.  We’re technology and books and people. It’s always changing.  So, for today’s blog post, I’ll talk about Five Things that We’re Doing at the Library Today.

#1.  Blog posts, Twitter & Facebook

If you’re reading this, you might know we’ve been blogging for almost five years.  That’s a lot of posts. Not only do we blog to keep you up to date on things going on in the library, but we also aim to entertain and educate.  Our posts are about language, books, reading, writing and so much more. It’s something we enjoy doing, and it has made a real mark for us as a Public Library.  And for the last few years, we’ve also had a Facebook page and we’ve added our thoughts on Twitter. We’re looking into expanding our online presence into Pinterest and other social networking sites in the future, so keep your eyes here for more information.

#2. We’re adding to our Genealogy Room.

Did you know we have a Genealogy room where we keep local history, microfilm and many bits of information about Carleton Place and the people who have lived here?  We have a dedicated computer where you can search Ancestry.com for a few hours, or you could use the microfilm machine to search through old issues of the Carleton Place Canadian and more.  Order in a microfilm from Library and Archives Canada to do more focused research on your family tree or ask us how to get started.  We have a quick quiz to help us help you focus on what you’re looking for.  And we’re always adding to the room, getting more local history documented in book form or on disk, so ask us what we have available.  Even if we don’t have it ready now, it might be in the works!

#3.  Expanding Our Collections

Did you know we don’t actively purchase paperbacks?  We rely solely on the donations from our generous patrons who drop off their gently used new books and allow us to add them to our shelves.  You’ll always see new books, whether it’s in fiction, non-fiction or in the children’s area.  We put  more than 150 new books each month into our collection, which also means that we have to constantly clean our shelves of older books to make room (otherwise, we’d be bursting through the doors!). You can often find “new” books on our sale table, so don’t forget to check for a great deal when you come in!

#4.  Preparing for Summer Programs

Even though it’s only May, we’ve been preparing and thinking about our summer programs since about February.  A lot of work goes into the process, and we hope the kids enjoy it when the time rolls around.  This summer is no exception. We’re in the process of hiring our summer student and getting our decorations and programs ready.  It’ll be different this year, with posters and booklets aimed at both the middle grade readers and our youngest set (based on our Ready for Reading program).  It’s going to be a fun summer, with lots of crazy events and programs.  Keep watching in mid-June for our summer Calendar.  Just imagine what we’ll be doing this summer!

#5. Keeping up with technology

Yes, we’ve had eBooks and audiobooks available at the library for a while now, but you probably didn’t realize that we are constantly learning.   With the development of many new devices, our initial training has had to be expanded.  We’ve offered a workshop early this year to help new eBook users and we have a kids workshop in the works as well. While many people are still trying to work their way around the idea of eBooks, we’re here to help with the questions.  It isn’t easy, and with the development of wireless devices, it makes downloading eBooks both easier and trickier at the same time. Hopefully, the publishing companies will continue to work out ways to allow libraries to offer eBooks to their patrons and more authors and publishers will make their books available.  We’d love to have every book available to our patrons whenever they want it, but for now, placing holds and making wish lists will have to do.  It’s an exciting process and just another way we can offer books to the public. We’re looking forward to seeing where this will go in the future!

So, you can see, we always have plenty of new things on the go at the library. It’s an exciting place to work!

October is Canadian Library Month!

Yes, it’s Canadian Library Month once again. October is designated as the month to promote the importance of libraries to all Canadians….and we’re lucky that for the most part, libraries are still well supported in most communities throughout the country. Not all countries can say that.

This year, the theme is  “Your Library: A Place Unbound”. Libraries really are places without limits. You can visit foreign lands, discover how to fix your car, learn to knit  or rent a good movie. Most library resources are free and patrons have access to books that even their own branch may not own (through interlibrary loan). They really are wonderful places, not the stuffy old quiet zones of yore.

In our library, you can:

-borrow movies for a week for free

-take out as much fiction as you can carry

-take home a few audiobooks to help make that drive to work shorter

-download free eBooks and Audiobooks from OverDrive

-use free Wi-Fi anytime we’re open

-Print off your resume on one of our public access computers

-Research your family tree, either through Ancestry.ca or in our Genealogy room (please book it in advance)

-Attend storytime with your 2 – 5 year old listen to some great books and do a craft

-Attend one of our fun craft nights (if you happen to be 6 – 12 years of age)

-Join a reading program (Forest of Reading, TD Summer Reading or Paws to Read)

-View some interesting artwork when we have it on display

-Borrow books from other libraries through interlibrary loan

-Run into a local author on almost any day of the week

-Attend a fascinating talk in the Barbara Walsh Room on special evenings throughout the year

The list could go on and on. We have so many wonderful things for our community to take part in. Just drop by, get a free library card and have access to the world!

What do you like about your library?

Are you on a first-name basis with the librarian?

I came across an interesting item that really irked some law librarians in the US, but it applies to every library and patron all around the world.  A question was posed by Thomson West, a company devoted to providing services and software for law students, that said:

“Are you on a first name basis with the librarian? Then chances are, you’re spending too much time at the library.”

The quote went on to extol the virtues of their reliable services which should make needing the library almost obsolete.  And as a marketing tool, someone thought this was smart.  They just didn’t count on the fact that librarians everywhere would be seriously offended by it and cause a bit of an uproar.

So, what’s wrong with knowing your librarian by name?  Nothing.  In fact, many people will find that if they strike up a bit of a conversation with a librarian when they are at the library, often times, that person will remember you later and possibly recommend something that you might not know about.  Just talking to a librarian doesn’t mean that you’ll become friends or gain special privileges in the library, but it can’t hurt.

Being in a small-town library, it becomes easy to get to know our regulars after a while and often, people tell us it is so nice to be recognized.  Many patrons have come from larger cities and never got to know anyone in their former libraries, so they feel like they are getting some special attention.  Regardless, it is nice to get to know people on a first name basis.  You never know how important those connections might be one day.

If you’d like to read more about the Thomson West Library uproar, you can find the article here.  Let us know what you think….do you know your librarian?