Tuesday, 16 December 2014

When your neighbour's yard is a library

Sean Evans and his girlfriend Catherine Farquharson show off their little free library on the front lawn of their house. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)
Sean Evans and his girlfriend Catherine Farquharson show off their little free library on the front lawn of their house.
(Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)


When your neighbour's yard is a library

In a city etched with stubborn social divisions, it’s remarkable how a wooden box full of old books can bring a community together.
During the first eight years that Sean Evans, a 43-year-old business coach, lived on a quiet street in the St. Clair West area, he rarely talked to the neighbours on his block. Then, last fall, his girlfriend, photographer Catherine Farquharson, gave him what looks a bit like an oversized birdhouse for books: a peak-roofed box with a glass door and a shelf, installed firmly on a 4X4 post sunk into their front lawn.
After they stocked a couple of dozen spare volumes in their so-called “little free library,” which enjoins passersby to “take a book or leave a book,” those once aloof neighbours not only emerged from their houses to look at the curious object in their midst; they began get to know one another as they pursued the collection.
“I’ve talked to more people who stop by to see what it’s about in the past year than I’ve [talked] to in the last nine years combined,” says Mr. Evans.
In a city with the world’s best used public library system, the popularity of these tiny branches, and the way they forge connections among city-dwellers, shouldn’t come as a surprise, even in this age of screens and ebook readers.
But the movement – which began with Todd Bol, a retired Wisconsin teacher, and a light-bulb moment in 2009 – has gained remarkable traction around the world. According to Mr. Bol’s not-for-profit, LittleFreeLibrary.org, there are more than 15,000 around the world, most of them in the U.S. and Europe, and including 33 in the Greater Toronto Area.
While these book-filled boxes are undeniably conversation starters, Mr. Evans and other local owners say the more fascinating feature of the little libraries is the fact that they take on a life of their own as people borrow, take or drop off a wide range of books without necessarily notifying the proprietor (Mr. Bol’s group calls owners “stewards,” and stresses that the libraries are community assets). Sometimes the books are returned, and sometimes they disappear for good.
Dominic Stones, a Parkdale resident, built one in May on a sliver of fallow railway embankment land that had been gradually reclaimed by local homeowners as a community garden. “I was worried it wouldn’t take care of itself,” he says. But the collection ebbs and flows on its own. “People take it upon themselves to put stuff in and take stuff out. I don’t want to police it at all. I want the community to make up its mind about what comes and goes.”
The range of books, mostly drawn from the excess volumes that accumulate in so many homes, is as wide as can be. Mr. Evans says he’s seen everything from business self-help guides to quality Canadian literature. Mr. Stones recalls a battered old Bible that showed up one day, only to disappear a couple of weeks later.
Some have long-forgotten inscriptions or marginalia, and Mr. Evans says it’s not uncommon to find a book that’s got a card or some keepsake tucked between the pages. Not long ago, he found a thank-you card from a recent immigrant who’d borrowed a book and then returned it a few months later, along with another one. “I’ll always remember the guy who asked me to get one of your books as the first person in Canada who showed me kindness and an attempt to connect with others.”
Jacqueline Jordan, who managed to persuade the city to let her install in Nesbitt Park, near Bayview and Moore Ave., across from her home, says its contents skew towards kids’ books, because the box is located near a couple of benches and a meeting spot for the local walking-school bus. As children arrive and wait to leave, they pull out books and leaf through them, and often hang onto what they’ve found.
But Ms. Jordan, who buys boxes of second hand books at garage sales or church fundraisers, says she once plucked an old copy of an Edith Wharton novel she’d always wanted to read. “There’s obviously someone in the neighbourhood who has my taste in books,” Ms. Jordan says, adding that she’d like to meet the person.
For her part, Ms. Farquharson says she gets a thrill when someone takes a favourite book she’s put out.
“It’s as exciting when they get returned,” Mr. Evans adds. “I like to imagine that the person has read it and enjoyed it so much that they want to pass it on.”

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

New Years' Money Challenge

After the expenses of the holiday season, many of us look for ways to review and rejig our financial situation to the positive.

Here is some very sound advice from Personal Finance guru - Gail Vaz Oxlade.

'Start setting aside money every month for RRSP savings or to put toward a major purchase like a car or house. Also be sure to pick simple ways that improve your finances — like reducing movie or pay-per-view expenses — and taking advantage of your local library.'

The public library is a great way to find entertainment and information - all for free!

Make the public library your tool to personal and financial growth!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Today is Giving Tuesday

After all the hoopla about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we can reflect on what in society is meaningful to us with Giving Tuesday.  Canadians are asked to donate to charities which are meaningful to them in their lives.

In the local community, there is one agency that provides free services to everyone, no matter their age, their economic situation or their ability.  It is the public library. 

Public Library Boards and Staff listen to their communities and work hard to provide the local services for education, recreation and social connections.

With year end almost here, why don't you consider donating to a worthy organization: your public library.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

World's Smallest Book Store

Now this is the kind of roadside attraction I would stop for.

About 100 miles northeast of Toronto, The World’s Smallest Bookstore sits on a quiet stretch of County Road 503. world's smallest bookstore The bookstore itself is about 10ft by 10ft, and its shelves are full of mainstream literary titles and classic authors. The kicker is that the books are only three dollars apiece, paid on the honor system. (There is a larger selection of books (and prices) in another building on the property). Lest drivers miss the little speck of store, the bookstore’s road is several times bigger than the store itself.

There are handbills for visitors to take titled “Why I Love Books” that list the following reasons:
1) Books are silent.
2) Books do not require hydro.
3) Books do not interrupt.
4) Books open easily — no switches or remotes.
5) Books can be shut up easily anytime.
6) Books cannot be offended.
7) Books do not talk back.
8) Books do not demand T.L.C. — but get it anyway.
9) Books do not require food or water.
10) Books will not feel neglected.
11) Books will not send you on a guilt trip if you lose interest or ignore them.
12) Books never require medical attention
13) Books do not have commercials.
14) A book does not go into a snit if you look at another book.
15) A book won’t mind if you are reading more than book at a time.

How can you not love a place like this?  

(From Book Riot)

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Keep Warm

Snow, snow and more snow! Areas to the north, east and south of sheltered Beamsville have been bombed with snow over the last two days. We in Lincoln are situated in a warmer and less snowy micro-climate so we have received some steady, but light snow all day. Our new Beamsville digs has a working electric fireplace which has attracted much attention these past few days. My office is next to it which makes me feel warm and cozy today. However, Lincoln PL keeps our community warm yet entertained and educated in this weather with our wide-range of e-resources and ebooks. Keep warm and busy with your library's virtual offerings!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Libraries lend a hand to development

JOSH O’KANE The Globe and Mail Published Monday, Nov. 03 2014, 4:34 PM EST Last updated Monday, Nov. 03 2014, 4:34 PM EST In a city often focused on history, it is a glistening monument to the future: Halifax’s new central library, set to open on Spring Garden Road by the end of the year, is no ode to the paper books of libraries past. It’s designed to be a gathering place, a learning space and an innovation centre. What will happen inside the building, though, may have less of an impact on the city than what happens around it. The Halifax Regional Municipality is consciously using the $57.6-million library to attract development along Spring Garden’s bustling retail corridor. The Halifax Regional Municipality is using its new $57.6-million central library, set to open by year end, to attract development along the Spring Garden Road retail corridor. The costs of the branch are covered, in part, by the sale of three adjacent parking lots to private developers, who in turn are building new mid-rise, mixed-use projects in the area, bringing much-needed density to the city’s core. The library is crucial infrastructure needed to bring Halifax into the 21st century, says Wadih Fares, who, on top of developing two of those parking lots, just announced a $100,000 donation to the branch. Mr. Fares sees it as a stimulus for downtown growth, likening it to the first spark in a fireplace: “It will ignite the whole fire.” Consumers are moving to e-books in droves, but the death of the conventional library may be greatly exaggerated. The dissemination of information no longer requires a printing press, but it remains a core component of democracy. Cities across Canada are building new libraries with a focus on broader learning and community building – and they’re being financed in ways that complement and encourage nearby development. Those branches are paying their cities back in spades, bringing in greater density and community engagement. In Halifax, Mr. Fares’s donation will help pay for a community space within the library, which was built by Danish architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen with local partner Fowler, Bauld & Mitchell. Mr. Fares, who emigrated from Lebanon to Halifax in the 1980s, wants people to live and play downtown in the city that has supported his life and career. “The more community places you have, the more modern, 21st-century buildings that go up, it attracts people to that area,” he says. Paula Saulnier, interim chief executive officer of Halifax Public Libraries, says “any city that invests in their libraries makes a commitment to learning, to culture and democracy.” That, in turn, brings people: “We’re going to see this as a catalyst to encourage people to live and work in the downtown.” Two of the nearby parking lots have been sold, bringing in nearly $14-million to cover municipal costs of the project, with up to $10-million expected from the third, says Peter Stickings, the HRM’s manager of corporate real estate. New libraries are increasingly being seen as community focal points. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson called a new central branch an “important community asset” when campaigning for re-election in October. A planned branch on Vancouver’s East Hastings Street, meanwhile, is part of a joint project with YWCA Metro Vancouver that will include affordable housing for low-income single mothers and their children. In Calgary, a $245-million new central library has been announced for the city’s East Village, which is undergoing a multi-decade, 49-acre brownfield redevelopment project to transform it from neglected neighbourhood to family-friendly community. By the time the East Village is fully developed, more than 11,000 people are expected to call it home. The curved, glass downtown library, perched on top of a light-rail transit line, is set to open in 2018. “We consider the library an educational anchor to the development” of the East Village, says Susan Veres, vice-president of marketing for the Calgary Municipal Land Corp. (CMLC), which was created by the city in 2007 to redevelop the neighbourhood. When the East Village site was chosen for the new library, the CMLC committed $70-million to the project from its community revitalization levy, a pot of money the corporation sets aside for infrastructure improvements. Rather than add a development levy to existing property taxes, CMLC struck a 20-year tax-incremental financing deal with the city to funnel income from new development into specific projects to improve the community, adding amenities to encourage further development. So far the fund has invested $345-million into public improvements in the East Village, Ms. Veres says. Though much of the land is already scooped up by developers, “I think [the new library will] affect people choosing to live here,” she says. “The neighbourhood had a bad personality, and now that personality is changing favourably.” “I’m really proud that the library is the linchpin for all that,” says Bill Ptacek, CEO of the Calgary Public Library. The Calgary system is aiming to double its membership in the near future as it makes its library cards free and beefs up its programs. The strategy includes, as reading goes electronic, getting rid of some of those pesky physical books. “We’re trying to take up less space in our community library to make more space for people.” Calgary isn’t the only city where a whole new downtown community is popping up. The former railway lands along Toronto’s waterfront have turned into a sprawling community of condo towers that, until this year, was without a library. When planning the community, the city decided to apply a per-unit levy to developers building in the area to fund public services like a school, community centre and library. The levies are charged to developers as soon as they apply for building permits. The original indexed library levy, set in 1994, was set at $277 per unit, but rose to $400 by 2008. This funded half – $4.6-million – of the cost of the new Fort York branch, which opened in May. This wasn’t the only bonus the branch scored from private development. The developer Context, whose Library District condos are adjacent to the library, donated $500,000 for the branch’s public art installation, a collaboration between visual artist Charles Pachter based on Margaret Atwood’s poetry collection The Journals of Susanna Moodie. “I think it’s been a really successful way, from the city’s perspective, to deliver a complete neighbourhood,” says Toronto planner Lynda Macdonald, who oversees that community. “We think the new library is fabulous and the community loves it.” Anne Bailey, Toronto’s acting city librarian, says the new branch is an important step for the growing community. “Through the glass and openness of the facility, it declares to the neighbourhood that it’s here, it’s open and it’s available for everyone.”

Friday, 31 October 2014

Budget Time

It's that most wonderful time of the year - budget preparation time! In the public library world, it seems that the CEOs and administration staff are more like alchemists. We mix and move money around so we can get to the municipality's increase target. Find a bit of money here because we have a new staff member at a lower level of the pay grid or there because the cost of a database has gone down. Or we can raise fines by $0.05 a day or initiate a new service that will generate income. We will have both a new council and a new board in 2015. All will be ready to do the right thing by keeping taxes down. It will be a challenge to meet everyone's expectations for quality library service at a low cost. How is your budget preparation going?

Friday, 24 October 2014

Customer Service

I teach a number courses in the SOLS Excel program. This term I am teaching a course in Library Management. A comment by one of my students took me by surprise. She indicated that she didn't think she would need to use her customer service skills in the public library setting until she started working in one. Perhaps this mindset is why there are some public libraries seem unwelcoming and cold. One of my staff visited New Brunswick this summer and went to a small library in the northern part of the province. She was very surprised that the staff did not even look up to acknowledge her presence. Why would a newcomer to a community want to come back if this is the welcome they get! Customer service is the cornerstone of public libraries. As a library manager and recruiter, one of the main qualities that I look for in a new staff member is experience in customer service. You can train an employee in library procedures and routines, but you cannot fully train for good customer service if there isn't any interest in providing it. Certainly additional training in customer service can elevate it, but the core must be there. What do you look for in new recruits?

Friday, 17 October 2014

30 Moments Any Librarian Knows Too Well

With the shorter work week and preparations for next week's Board meeting, I am late posting this week. I just circulated these to my staff. I hope that at least one of these scenarios will relate to you! 1. “I’m looking for this book, I forget the title, but there’s a dog on the cover…?” 2. When a patron wants you to find a book, based only on the vaguest detail. 3.when a patron starts panicking because they can't find a particular book ... 4. When a patron is shocked that you know a bestseller off the top of your head. 5. Conversely, the shame of forgetting the name of a book you KNOW you know. 6. When your maturity is tested by a patron’s name. 7. When you refuse to give up on a search, even if the patron asking is long gone. 8. When you find the perfect source just after a patron has left. 9. When a little surprise falls out of a book you’re shelving. 10. When you see a book returned like this and your soul dies a little. 11. When some prankster pushing the books back on a freshly read and edged shelf. 12. When a patron wants to know how long the wait is for the latest YA hit. 13. When your shift is suddenly a workout. 14. When a patron tries to convince you that she KNOWS she returned that book. 15. When that potty training book comes back in, ah, not so great condition. 16. When you get first dibs on a brand new release. 17. When all of your holds come in at once and it is actually impossible to read them all. 18. When adult patrons ask if there’s any way to keep it down in the children’s room. 19. When you’re genuinely concerned about your health. 20. When you realize you’ve basically become your family and friends’ personal librarian. 21. When someone comes in with a reference question that makes you question everyone’s sanity. 22. When you have to double as IT for the patrons whose windows “just closed for no reason.” 23. When the cart becomes an extension of your overflowing desk. 24. And when all of that overflows to your home. 25. When it’s time to move. 26. When a kid draws you a special picture because you’re her favorite librarian. 27. Patrons. watching. porn. 28. When randos try to explain how you’ll be out of a job when libraries disappear in the not-too-distant future. 29. When a patron comes back to tell you how much he loved your recommendation. 30. And when they start seeking you out specifically because they trust your taste.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014


On October 27, Ontario municipalities will be having elections for local councils and school board representatives. Every four years, eligible Ontarians will have the opportunity to make their voice known on local issues that matter to them. Tonight and Thursday night, the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce will be hosted 'Meet the Candidates' nights. Tonight will be Ward candidates and Thursday will be mayoral and regional councillor candidates. I plan to be there to listen to the candidate platforms. For those of us who support public libraries, it is important to be seen at these events and, perhaps, to pose a question or two about library service. In Lincoln, our voice was finally heard, and we have a beautiful new facility in Beamsville. Now, if we could get some extra funding for staff for the increased usage! Where ever you are in Ontario, make your voice heard. Vote!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Libraries Inspire! - October is Library Month

Canada’s libraries make a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals and in our communities. They help to inspire Canadians to celebrate our culture, to advance universal and equitable access to information, to support lifelong learning and to document and preserve our heritage for generations to come. In October, the inspiration created in and by libraries will be celebrated during Canadian Library Month with the theme “Libraries Inspire!”. The products of inspiration take many forms. Libraries are a treasure trove of these creations andtestify to the ingenuity of the human spirit. Scientific discoveries, philosophy, music, business innovation, popular culture and more all find a home within the physical and digital spaces of our collections. But inspiration is also present in more commonplace interactions. A conversation between a librarian and a researcher can take a project in a groundbreaking direction. A library program can ignite the passion of a community to work together and make positive changes. A class visit with school children can encourage an interest in books that will benefit young readers for the rest of their lives. Access to the Internet, and digital literacy training, can open doors to employment opportunities and new career paths. Today, over 23,000 librarians and library clerks serve in over 22,000 libraries in incredibly diverse communities, from major metropolitan areas to towns and rural hamlets, from research‐intensive universities to colleges of art and design. Over 21 million Canadians hold a public library card, making public libraries the most popular cultural institution in the country. Over 97 per cent of Canadians live in communities served by a public library, and the library adds to the vitality of every one of these communities. Academic libraries, school libraries and special libraries add immensely to the creativity and personal, professional and academic growth of Canadians, serving everyone from students and faculty to those in the corporate, government and non‐profit sectors. Libraries have a strong role to play in the present, and they have a great deal to contribute in the future. This October, help us to celebrate not only how Libraries Inspire, but also what they have inspired: a sense of community belonging, the joy of learning, the exhilaration of discovery, a new friendship, or an idea for the next great Canadian novel. Let your community know that inspiration starts here, at the library, in hundreds of ways each day; where it leads has no limits. Check out the Lincoln Public Library's activities for our Library Week - October 20-25: http://www.lincoln.library.on.ca/sites/default/files/news_thumbs/OPLW2014.pdf

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Libraries and Hockey - Do They Mix?

Our new Fleming Branch opened on June 21 in a multi-use facility that includes one ice pad. The Town of Lincoln does not operate its two arenas with ice year round. The Library has had the summer to get used to its new surroundings without many other activities in the building. A couple of weeks ago, hockey started for the season. The hockey players and spectators had a stand-alone building for almost 50 years where kids could be kids and parents could meet and talk. Can the business of hockey coincide with the more sedate library activities? It will, but there is a learning curve as both groups realize that they can't operate in the same way when you have 'roommates'. Let's see how things progress during hockey season.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Libraries supporting Little Free Libraries

I have just finished reading some great posts on PUBLIB regarding public libraries supporting Little Free Libraries in their communities. One that caught my eye. A Public Library in New York State placed one along a canal walk. The Little Free Library looks like their building. It is used by residents as well as visitors and boaters. The Friends of the Richardson Texas Public Library have received permission to place one on the public library grounds and are planning more throughout the community. Little Free Libraries cannot replace the full service public library, but are a great way to promote reading, community outreach and public library programs and services. Is your public library supporting Little Free Libraries?

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Television Series Remakes

Although there is some innovative television out there today, Television executives like to play it safe sometimes with series remakes. The latest one to come to the United States is a remake of the British murder mystery Broadchurch which will be named Gracepoint. This series will have the unusual twist of having the lead actor from the British series play the same character as an American. Some British imports succeeded like All in the Family. Others like Coupling had a quick death. I did prefer the British version of Law and Order. I thought that the acting was better. The US version of the Australian series, Rake, did not last long. I did wonder in the beginning about the quality of the US House of Cards, but the casting and production are excellent. However, for those who have seen both, the British one still excels. Below is an article from Variety on the new Gracepoint series. What do you think about TV series remakes? Gracepoint’ vs. ‘Broadchurch': How Fox’s Adaptation Differs From British Original July 21, 2014 | 10:49AM PT Laura Prudom, News Editor, Variety Fans of acclaimed British murder mystery “Broadchurch” may question the need for a U.S. remake, but the producers of Fox’s “Gracepoint” are fairly confident their adaptation will stand on its own — mostly because they believe that many American viewers aren’t even aware of the original. “[BBC America's] viewing audience for ‘Broadchurch’ represents really, truly less than one percent of the American television viewing population. We’re not particularly worried about the overlap,” said executive producer Carolyn Bernstein at the Television Critics Assn. press tour Sunday. “We think those people who do overlap will be really into it and really enjoy the show.” “My mom is right down the alley of the BBC America audience, and she started watching it, and she’s like, ‘I can’t understand a word they’re saying,'” agreed EP Dan Futterman. “And I think that was a common experience… There are some devoted viewers and cultured viewers who watched that whole show and loved it. We watched the whole show and loved it.” A critic who has seen the first two episodes of “Gracepoint” noted that the show replicates “Broadchurch’s” first two installments almost beat for beat, without offering much in the way of originality. “We did consider different starting places, different ideas for the first episode,” Bernstein conceded. “I think we kept coming back to [the first episode of 'Broadchurch'], not shot for shot, but the way that the story was told was so well done that why would we contort ourselves to figure out a different way to tell the story, when that was the smartest, most compelling way to launch this particular story?” The producer did promise that “as the series progresses, it really diverges in pretty big large ways from the original. But particularly in that first episode, it felt like the smartest, best launching pad. We didn’t want to try to fix something that we all thought was excellent.” “It’s going to start to change very, very rapidly. I think by the third and fourth episodes, you see very, very great detours, and it also reverts to form as well, because the genetics of the show are powerful, and they’re successfully powerful,” Futterman added. “But we deviated as much as we wanted to and as much as we could while still trying to tell this beautiful story that has a beginning and now a different ending.” While the EPs wouldn’t definitively confirm that “Gracepoint” features a different killer than the perpetrator in “Broadchurch,” Futterman told critics that his chief desire was, “I don’t want you to rule anybody out. That’s not to be coy, but I don’t think you should rule anybody out as a suspect. We end in a very different place, which is both exciting for the season and potentially exciting for what could be a great second season as well.” The show also employed a legal adviser and a police adviser on set to keep the show accurate to its new Northern California setting, but Futterman admitted that the differences in police procedure weren’t as marked as one might think: “There is an ability of a suspect to either waive their rights or not waive their rights, and you see that in the interview rooms. And so the investigations of the various suspects can have a similar flavor, although the suspects become more different in the show.” “Broadchurch” star David Tennant is also reprising his role for “Gracepoint,” albeit under a different character name and alongside a different co-star (Anna Gunn instead of Olivia Colman). “What I can’t get enough of is good writing, you see,” Tennant reasoned. “And when it’s this good, you think, ‘Well, if they want me to be part of it, I’m not going to say no.’ It’s always a gamble on any new project, but if you can start with a good script, then why not? You can mess up a good script, but you can’t make a bad script much better. So I’m just happy to go where the good writing is, which has been ‘Broadchurch’ and now ‘Gracepoint’ and now ‘Broadchurch’ again [for season two]. If the writing keeps being as good as it’s been so far, then I’ll keep turning up.” As for whether there are any real differences between “Broadchurch’s” Alec Hardy and “Gracepoint’s” Emmett Carver, Tennant offered, “They feel very different to me. Obviously, they both look quite like me, and they’re similar heights. But they feel different for all sorts of reasons, because of the circumstances of everyone around me. You’re playing opposite this extraordinary Rolls-Royce of a cast. I’m also very fortunate to play with a Rolls-Royce of a cast back home, but it’s a very different one and that creates a different set of circumstances to be within. It’s such an unusual situation. It’s quite hard to be entirely objective about it myself because it’s the same character and yet it’s not.” He continued, “The relationship between Carver and Ellie Miller is very different to the relationship between Hardy and Ellie Miller, because they are very different actresses playing those parts, even though they have similar starting points. And I think that’s true right through, working with all these extraordinary people as well. And the spine of the story is the same, and the spine of the two characters is the same, but there’s very different flesh on the bones, I think.” In the case of adaptations done well, Tennant pointed to “The Office,” noting, “it was brilliantly reimagined over here and started very similar and ultimately became a very different show, which was equally successful in a very different direction… There’s a lot of traffic back and forth culturally, and I think there’s huge advantages to that. Sometimes it backfires, but I think we can bring contrasting sensibilities to the same piece of work and get something exciting and new from it. I’m confident that’s what happened here.” “Gracepoint” will premiere on Oct. 2 on Fox.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Canada AM Segment on Libraries

Check out this Canada AM segment on the growth of new Canadian library construction and the broad range of services in public library by Marie DeYoung, President of the Canadian Library Association. Great interview! http://canadaam.ctvnews.ca/video?playlistId=1.1980495

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Ferguson Municipal Public Library is a Haven

A wonderful story on how the public library can serve as a safe temporary school while a town is in turmoil. The community came together to help the children, and the library was immediately identified as the location to do it. Congratulations to all how participated. By Nancy Chandross NBC News When Ferguson, Missouri, elementary school teacher Carrie Pace learned schools would remain closed all week after violence erupted on their city’s streets in the wake of the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, it never occurred to her to sit at home and wait it out. “[I was] just looking for something to do, looking for a way to help,” said the 31-year-old art teacher. Pace decided to start reaching out to other teachers to see if she could organize programs for the kids of Ferguson. She immediately thought of the library. It started small at first. Pace and her teacher friends began to email parents and post on social media, inviting kids to come to the Ferguson Municipal Public Library. Initially just 12 showed up, but by Thursday they had 60 volunteers and roughly 150 kids, with some spilling out to another space in a nearby church. “We’ve essentially taken over the library,” said acting principal Antona Smith. They are offering math, writing and literature classes just like in school. "They’re having full academics and teachers are coming with full curricula ready to teach!” And the kids, from pre-k to high school, are ready to learn. Soon after, local food banks and even neighbors began dropping off food to ensure breakfast and lunch could be offered to the students. Teach for America and other educational groups are now also among the volunteers. “There’s just been an outpouring of support,” Pace said, as the nation watched the developing turmoil in Ferguson. “I had someone call me from Michigan and say, ‘What can I send to you?’” The generosity is a stark contrast to the violent and racially-charged protests in Ferguson that caused the school closures. “We don’t talk about it, when they’re in here this is safe quiet space,” Smith said. Volunteers will pull kids aside if they seem upset, but she said most are just enjoying being back in class. “It is wonderful. I’m looking at smiles and laughter, that’s what’s going on.” Smith, who is an educator, drove 20 miles from Kirkwood, Missouri to help. “I’m also a parent. My last two children are in elementary school … they had their first day of school. Kids in Ferguson haven’t.” So she says she’s thrilled to pitch in and organize the classrooms at the library. “It is an amazing thing to see. There’s a lot of learning going on.” There’s also a lot of appreciation. Smith and Pace have been receiving a steady stream of heartfelt “thank yous” from parents. Pace said some of the parents were left without childcare this week and needed somewhere for their kids to be while they’re at work. “It’s expensive and we have a lot of families that are in need and it’s a really difficult situation," she said. Sign up for The Nightly newsletter from Brian Williams and the Nightly News team. The library programs are helping to bridge that gap while also getting the learning started. “Our community values education - as all parents do,” Pace said. Schools are expected to open Monday, and until then, Pace is glad she’s been able to help provide a place where kids could learn. “I hope that it’s healing in some way, if nothing else I think it is a total breath of fresh air for the kids who can be here.” And, she thinks the kids will be happy to get back to their usual schools Monday, with a jump start from this week’s classes. “They will be so ready!” she added. First published August 21 2014, 1:55 PM

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

5 Things That People Don’t Realize their Librarians Do

by Rebecca Tischler, Head Editor, INALJ Tennessee

Many people still have the stereotypical image of a librarian stuck in their head: an older kind of frumpy woman wearing glasses on a chain, her hair up in a bun, shushing people with one hand while stamping books with the other. Many of my Jr. High classmates predicted that I was going to be a librarian because I liked to read, and, during those years, I was very quiet and wore glasses. I still love to read and always have something to read, but since I’m much more comfortable with myself, I don’t know if people would still say that I look like a librarian. Ironically, I did become a librarian, but for completely different reasons (part of it is the sheer variety involved in the profession).

As a librarian, we help to teach people how to become self-sufficient on the computer, find the answer to patron’s questions (no offense Google, but while you may come back with a million answers, we librarians come back with the right answer), develop graphic designs for advertisement, act as a social media managers, handle reader’s advisory, teach information literacy classes, act as storytellers, and teach children, to name just a few of our duties. We wear many many caps.

And here are five things that you may have been unaware that librarians do (just a few of their caps), or that libraries offer.

  1. Librarians are teachers. Many libraries have computer classes, which can include teaching a room full of people how to use Microsoft Office, how to use the internet safely, how to set up accounts and stay safe on social media, or how to use photo manipulation programs. Some libraries even teach computer programming classes. Librarians also do a lot of one-on-one tutoring if there isn’t a class that specifically covers the need of the patron.
  2. Librarians are tech savvy. Whatever computer classes librarians are teaching, or when we have to help a patron troubleshoot their own technology, we have to be computer and technologically literate in order to help. We have to know the basics of computer technology, at the very least. Most times, however, we know more, and if we don’t know the answer off the top of our heads, we know how to find it.
  3. Librarians are advertisers. Libraries mostly manage their own public relations and advertise their own services and events (and generally with almost no budget). They write the press releases, network and make connections, as well as create their own logos and graphic design. And many of the librarians are self-taught when it comes to graphic design software.
  4. Librarians are event planners. Libraries have dozens of events every year, and the staff has to create budgets and event plans, and bring in volunteers or paid presenters. They plan the activities, the topic, the refreshments… everything. Most of the decorations are probably also made by the staff and, sometimes, the librarian is also the presenter if the librarian’s outside hobbies coincide with the event’s topic.
  5. Librarians are researchers. Librarians not only know how to organize and find information. We know how to collate and analyze information. We see the patterns and can extract information from it. For example, have you ever gone to the library looking for the next book that you would love, and asked one of the librarians what they would recommend? If so, you were probably asked about what type of books you liked, if you have favorite authors, of those favorite books or authors, what was it that drew you in (location, characters, humor…), etc. These were all questions that help the librarian gather information to analyze your taste in books in order to hopefully provide you with your next favorite read.

With just those 5 things, librarians have to learn graphic design, communications, interviewing techniques, public relations, writing, event planning, budgeting techniques, DIY crafts, computer literacy and information literacy. And yet, there is so much more to librarianship that even just the 5 items discussed above. This in no way means that the librarians are ready to march into those other professions fully prepared, but we do have to study and learn multiple professions so that we can act as librarians. Librarianship is much more than just reading books, and organizing them. Libraries provide classes, events, public space, and access to computers and technology, just to name a few.

Libraries are more than just free bookstores.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Coronation Street Supports Libraries

I am a big Coronation Street fan.  I have been known to gossip about the characters with some of my regular patrons here in Lincoln.

The UK has experienced a large number of public library closures due to Council budget cuts. In Canada, the fight to save the Weatherfield library is being shown on the Street. They are highlighting the important role of public libraries for everyone, especially those who are disadvantaged.  They are also celebrating the feisty librarians who make a difference in their communities.

In Canada, we are fortunate that our politicians are continuing their support of public libraries and what we do.  Let's hope that the citizens of the UK continue to fight for their libraries!

Here is the Corrie library protest on Youtube.


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

It All Started at the Lincoln Public Library

Here is a great success story which started right here at the Lincoln Public Library! Rubert is today an avid user of the library and its resources.

A graduate at last

58-year-old happy to hit the books

Grimsby Lincoln News

BEAMSVILLE — It was not that long ago that Rubert Payea had to choose his food by looking at the pictures.                            
"I couldn't be sure if I was buying cat food or tuna," said the now 58-year-old who last month officially became a high school graduate.
The journey to literacy began with recovery for Payea.
When he was one year sober, his sponsor told him it was time to get his life back on track. They happened to be in a church parking lot across from the Fleming Library.
"I looked at the library and I said to myself, it would be nice to read all those books," recalled Payea.
It took a lot to step through the door. He was hesitant, ashamed of the fact that at his age, he couldn't read even simple, three letter words.
But he took the steps anyway.
Staff at the library told Payea about their neighbour, the Niagara West Adult Learning Centre. They said the agency could help him. They told him he could learn to read.
And he did.
It didn't come easy. It has taken years for Payea to get to where he is now. He kept at it and now enjoys writing mysteries.
He credits his accomplishment to tutor Sue Minchin, who he was worked with for close to seven years.
"She knows where I am going to have problems before I even get there," said Payea. "She makes me fell comfortable."
Minchin has also been patient with Payea and encourages him to problem solve for himself. His whole life friends and family have helped him to spell, but have never really taught him to spell. When he asks Minchin how to spell something, she responds by asking him how does he think it should sound.
"That's not exactly true," said Minchin, when Payea mentioned he still has trouble with big words. "You think you can't, but you can."
It was Minchin's encouragement that saw Payea achieve something he never thought possible — earning his high school diploma. When Minchin learned Payea was only a half credit shy of completing the curriculum she got on the phone.
"When I found out it was just a half credit, it seemed so minimal," said Minchin. "I thought it was important because of all of his hard work."
Now that Payea has his diploma he is looking at higher education.
"Now that I have my Grade 12 college is often on my mind," he said. "I'd like to learn more about computers."
In his time at the centre, Payea has gone from pupil to tutor. He is considered the computer "guru" and is the go-to guy for any computer-related question.
"I've always been good with my hands," said Payea, who was a woodworker and antique dealer in the past. "Now today, I'm good in the brain too."
In 2004, Payea was at the same reading level as a Grade 1 student. Today, his reading is between 75 and 95 per cent accurate. He is an avid mystery writer and keeps a blog on his journey to literacy. Follow Payea's blog at www.freewebs.com/rubertsleapinreading

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The Low-Tech Appeal of Little Free Libraries

The "take a book, return a book" boxes are catching in even on places where Kindles and brick-and-mortar books abound.        

Margret Aldrich
When a 36-year-old bibliophile in Daegu, South Korea, sat down at his computer and googled the word “library,” he didn’t expect to find anything particularly noteworthy. But as DooSun You scrolled through the results, an appealingly anti-tech concept popped up.
The Internet led him to Little Free Libraries—hand-built boxes where neighbors can trade novels, memoirs, comics, and cookbooks, and connect with each other in the process.
The little libraries immediately appealed to DooSun. “Reading books is one of the most valuable things in my life. I think a book is equal to a treasure,” he says. “I hoped to share that feeling with my neighbors—that’s the reason I wanted a Little Free Library.” The website showed pictures of the diminutive structures standing in front yards, on city curbs, and alongside country roads all over the world, along with their GPS locations. “The Little Free Library map was a treasure map,” he says.
Soon after his online discovery, DooSun built a Little Free Library—the first one in South Korea—in front of his apartment building. Then he built a second at a different spot. Then a third. Slowly, his “take a book, return a book” libraries began bringing people together, garnering book donations and handwritten notes of thanks from strangers. He now pastes a QR code on the front of each library, so passersby can use their smartphones to learn more about them, and he regularly exchanges emails with others who want to build their own. He recently started a Facebook group where other Little Free Library stewards throughout Asia can swap ideas and experiences—as easily as visitors to their libraries swap physical books.
In 2009, Tod Bol built the first Little Free Library in the Mississippi River town of Hudson, Wisconsin, as a tribute to his mother—a dedicated reader and former schoolteacher. When he saw the people of his community gathering around it like a neighborhood water cooler, exchanging conversation as well as books, he knew he wanted to take his simple idea farther.
“We have a natural sense of wanting to be connected, but there are so many things that push us apart,” Bol says. “I think Little Free Libraries open the door to conversations we want to have with each other.”
Since then, his idea has become a full-fledged movement, spreading from state to state and country to country. There are now 18,000 of the little structures around the world, located in each of the 50 states and in 70 countries—from Ukraine to Uganda, Italy to Japan. They’re multiplying so quickly, in fact, that the understaffed and underfunded nonprofit struggle to keep its world map up to date.
Khalid and Yasmin Ansari, who live in Qatar, say they get a special satisfaction out of seeing their six-year-old son Umayr’s Little Free Library represented on the website. “When looking at the LFL world map,” says Khalid, “you almost feel obliged to have one in the neighborhood to fill the gap. It's like doing your part in your part of the world.”
In some places, Little Free Libraries are filling a role usually served by brick-and-mortar libraries; the organization’s Books Around the Block program, for example, aims to bring LFLs to places where kids and adults don’t have easy access to books. In North Minneapolis, an area more often in the news for shootings than community engagement, the Books Around the Block initiative set up 40 of the little libraries. Two hundred more sprung up shortly thereafter.
Last year, Sarah Maxey of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, discovered Little Free Libraries when browsing the crowdfunding site Kickstarter. She was then inspired to launch her own LFL Kickstarter campaign. The response was enthusiastic: By the time the campaign ended, Maxey had raised more than $10,000 for her cause—enough money to build dozens (and dozens) of little libraries.
“What happens is, you start the momentum, and then the community—the Lions Club, the Rotary, the churches, the neighbors—steps up and builds more. It just keeps going,” Bol says.
Individual stewards are using their Little Free Libraries in altruistic ways, too. Tina Sipula of Clare House, a food pantry in Bloomington, Illinois, does more than distribute groceries; she distributes books via an on-site Little Free Library. As she points out, homeless people don’t have addresses—which means they can’t get public library cards. Linda Prout was instrumental in bringing dozens of Little Free Libraries to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and Lisa Heydlauff of Bihar, India, is working to bring a thousand Little Free Libraries to girls’ schools in her country, filling them with books that teach business and entrepreneurial skills.
“Little Free Libraries create neighborhood heroes,” says Bol. “That’s a big part of why it’s succeeding.”
Though they owe their spread largely to the Internet, Little Free Libraries often serve as an antidote to a world of Kindle downloads and data-driven algorithms. The little wooden boxes are refreshingly physical—and human. When you open the door, serendipity (and your neighbors’ taste) dictates what you’ll find. The selection of 20 or so books could contain a Russian novel, a motorcycle repair manual, a Scandinavian cookbook, or a field guide to birds.
For many people—particularly in more affluent areas where libraries abound—this sense of discovery is an LFL’s main appeal. A girl walking home from school might pick up a graphic novel that gets her excited about reading; a man on his way to the bus stop might find a volume of poetry that changes his outlook on life. Every book is a potential source of inspiration.
Added to that is a kind of literary voyeurism, in which visitors get to contemplate the reading habits of their neighbors. Who left the Brazilian travel guides, and who’s reading Camus? Who added Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84, my favorite novel of the last five years? And where will my copy of The Odyssey end up when I leave it in the library for someone else? By peeking into the reading lives of fellow Little Free Library users, you get to know your block better.
“I think it warms peoples' hearts that a stranger would go through the trouble to leave a gift for passersby,” says Suzanne Pettypiece, steward of a Brooklyn Little Free Library—the first one in New York. “And everyone knows books are magical, so when you build a little house for them and say, ‘Hey, take one of these, because we think you'll like it’—well, that's kind of exciting.”
Some people use Little Free Libraries specifically to share something about themselves, says founder Todd Bol:
There was one woman who was excited to put up her Little Free Library quickly, and when I asked why, she said that she wanted to put books in it about Nepal, where her kids are from. She wanted the neighborhood to get to know more about their background.
After all, no matter how closely a computer studies your search habits, its algorithms will never have the charm and mystique of a simple wooden box filled with a neighbor’s literary treasures. It won’t be able to lend you a cup of sugar either.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Do We Need Libraries?

There is a big buzz in the library world about the opinion piece by Tim Worstall in Forbes in the U.K. He is suggesting that all the British libraries be closed and every citizen be given a subscription to the Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscription (which is not yet available in the U.K.).


Looking at it money-sized, it makes sense. The cost for the Kindle Unlimited subscription is definitely cheaper per capita than supporting and maintaining public libraries. It wasn't clear in the article how everyone in Britain would get a Kindle or how they would be trained on it.

However, as we in the library world know, libraries offer more.  From my office in the new library, I can see a continuous stream of visitors using the computers, checking out materials, reading a newspaper, studying, participating in our various programs or relaxing in one of our lounge areas.

On the hottest day so far this summer, the cool library certainly matters to the many people in my community who don't have air conditioning.

Libraries are important!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Joy of a New Building Project

The new Lincoln Public Library Branch has the joy of being not only in a new facility, but also in the middle of a new subdivision.

This week, the developer decided that it was time to put in the curbs in front of the library.  So it was almost impossible for traffic to get to the parking lot.  The landscapers put in a walkway in the middle of the south parking lot so there was limited places to park once you got there. Despite all this, our patrons perservered and made it in!

Inside, they are still working on the heating and cooling so there were ladders in front of one of the circulation terminals for a while this morning.  One shelving unit was being assembled and the workmen left out their tools which were enticing for the little ones attending our morning program to play with!

There is still some more work to finish up as usual in any building project, but I hope it isn't as exciting as this week so far!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Summer is in Full Swing

With a June 21 opening, we were able to start our Summer Programs in style in our new facility.  With this year's theme 'Eureka', we could explore the world of science.  Fortunately (or unfortunately), our special programs are full for the most part, but we are still registering children for the TD Summer Reading Club.

However, we haven't forgotten the teens and adults this summer.  We are offering a contest for both groups with great prizes!

All the staff are very pleased to see all the families, seniors and teens coming out to the new library.  Because of our open concept, staff can see people in all departments browsing or sitting and reading in one of the many chairs beside the window wall.

Literacy and community is what it is all about this summer.  Where ever you are, visit your local library and enjoy!

Monday, 30 June 2014

Amenities at the new Fleming Library

We are settling into our new 'digs' in the Community Complex in Beamsville. 

This week, I thought I would outline some of the new amenities.

* A study room that seats 10:  It can be used on a first come, first served basis for literacy tutors or group projects.  It can be booked for $10 with access to an interactive whiteboard.

* Self holds pickup:  Patrons can now pick up holds on their own.  The identifying slip has the first three letters of the last name and the last four numbers of the library card.  (This has also been implemented in Vineland).

*Touch Screen Online Catalogue: No need for a mouse - you can now touch the screen as you use the online catalogue.

*Fireplace: need I say more! It will be installed shortly.

*Several Seating Options: We have laptop friendly seats by the window wall, some with power, two tables and chairs with power, soft seating with power in the fireplace lounge and bistro seating in the children's area.  Watch for the bench underneath the bow window in the children's area arriving soon.

*Self Check Out: Coming soon!

*Freegal: To celebrate our opening, we have added Freegal to our online lineup. Download music for free which is yours to keep! Find Freegal in the Database link on our homepage - www.lincoln.library.on.ca.

If you haven't done so yet, please visit us.  You will love your new library!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Check Us Out!

The Lincoln Public Library staff are miracle workers.  We had the usual construction delays, but, with a fixed opening date, we had three full days to get the library operational.  Despite what I thought on Friday, we were able to serve patrons on Saturday morning.  There are a few things to come yet, like some shelving. 

The community's reaction has been overwhelming extremely positive.  They can't believe that such a grand facility with a library, community space, walking track and an arena, can be in their little town.

If you are in the Beamsville, please drop in.  Our new address is 5020 Serena Dr.

I will include photos, etc. for next week's blog.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

We're Almost There!

Ten days and counting!  I was just over to the Fleming Library earlier this morning.  The furniture is being put in place and the shelves are starting to take shape.  We even have a circulation desk!  It is becoming a reality that the west end of Lincoln is finally getting a new library building.

As we get really to move, we have been busy clearing out and packing up decades of 'stuff'.  I can't believe how many boxes of shredding have left my tiny office. I am working now in 'chaos' with boxes and bags everywhere.

It will be a bittersweet move because the current library building has been here since 1851 and everyone loves its cosy feel and good location.  However, it will eventually have new tenants who will bring new energy to it.

I won't be posting next week because I am not sure when we will have Internet in the new place.

If you are able, please visit us on June 21 at 10:00 a.m. for the grand opening of our new 'digs'.  It really is bright and beautiful. The address is 5020 Serena Dr., off Ontario St. in Beamsville.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Downton Abbey saves village library with £20,000 donation

Another good news story on the saving of public libraries in the U.K.  Many libraries have closed or have had their service greatly reduced due to austerity measures. The Parish Council understands the importance of the library and used the windfall from the filming of Downton Abbey to preserve a vital community service.

Under-funded library in Bampton, in Oxfordshire, saved by £20,000 given to villagers for putting up with shooting of Downton Abbey 

Bampton Library, formerly a church, serves as the exterior for Downton Cottage Hospital
Bampton Library, formerly a church, serves as the exterior for Downton Cottage Hospital Photo: EDDIE MULHOLLAND FOR THE TELEGRAPH

Downton Abbey has helped to save a village library after it donated £20,000 to residents for putting up with the shooting of the hit ITV show.
Bampton, in Oxfordshire, was given the sum by London-based production company Carnival for supporting the crew during the fuss and commotion of filming in the village.
The sum has been set aside by Bampton Parish Council to fund half the £8,800 staffing costs the village must pay each year to keep Bampton Library up and running after its funding was dramatically cut in 2011.
Bampton parish council Chairwoman Jacky Allinson said: "The money has enabled us to keep a professional library open.
"We could choose to use it for something else but once you lose it, it won't come back.   

"Everyone is very positive about having Downton here but it's not going to go on forever."
Bampton, along with Highclere Castle in Berkshire, have been used for Downton since 2010.
But although Carnival has told villagers Downton will return next year for a sixth series, locals fear the next season could be the last.
Carnival also hires the village recreation ground for parking its trucks, canteen wagons and make-up artists' cars, and has given £2,600 to Oxfordshire County Council, who are spending it on library furniture.
Downton has brought money-spinning tourists from all over the world flocking to Bampton to see where the scenes are shot and filming has brought prestige, glamour and much-needed income to the village and its traders.
Residents have grown accustomed to seeing TV stars wandering the streets and shooting scenes at St Mary's Church, the library and Churchgate House.
The film team are in the village for up to five days each year, including for a Christmas special, giving £1,000 for each filming day.
Funding was used in the first year for creating a post office in Bampton Town Hall.
Since the county council cut £2m from its libraries budget in 2011, the money has been given to the Bampton Library support team to pay half the staffing costs of a professional library manager and assistant manager. The county council still funds the rest of the service.
Support team member Jane Wallis said of the Downton Abbey money: "It makes up about 50 per cent of what we must raise each year to keep the library, and it's helping the village in so many ways."
Fellow member Robin Shuckburgh said villagers had been told by the production company they will be back to film next year.
He said: "We're very pleased to know it's coming back but I suspect it may be the last."

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

First Nations in B.C. gain libraries thanks to judge, ex-officer

What a great story!  Learn how a magnificent idea and the power of community have built libraries in B.C. First Nations.  Libraries do change lives! 

Write to Read project has built libraries in 6 First Nations in B.C.

By Duncan McCue, CBC News Posted: May 26, 2014 7:47 PM ET Last Updated: May 27, 2014 12:50 AM ET

The library at Toosey First Nation was opened in 2011 with 3,000 donated books.
The library at Toosey First Nation was opened in 2011 with 3,000 donated books. (Michael McCarthy)         
They’re an unlikely duo — a judge and a former police officer — but Steven Point and Bob Blacker have joined forces to inspire a flood of donations aimed at building libraries in some of the most remote First Nations in British Columbia.

“We started this idea of just promoting literacy. We ended up by bringing libraries. I said, ‘God, how did you do this?’” chuckles Point in amazement.

The project is called Write to Read, and it started when Point became B.C.'s 28th lieutenant-governor in 2007. The first aboriginal person to hold the post, Point knew aboriginal literacy rates are far below Canadian average.
For some, it’s hard just getting a book. Of 600-plus First Nations in Canada, less than a third have a library.

Bob Blacker and Steven Point
Bob Blacker and former lieutenant-governor Steven Point are behind Write to Read, a project that has now built libraries in six First Nations in B.C. (Bob Blacker)
"A book is a fork in the road. It’s a turning place. It’s got the power to create a different future," said Point, a member of the Skowkale First Nation.

When Point visited First Nations as lieutenant-governor, he would bring a box of donated books. He was pleasantly surprised to watch children snap them up.

Building partnerships, building libraries

That's when Point got to talking with Blacker, his aide-de-camp. Both are members of the Rotary Club, a secular charity with the motto "Service above Self," known for its overseas literacy programs.

"He asks, 'What are we doing in our own backyard?'" said Blacker. "I said, ‘I wouldn't have a clue, your honour. But I'm gonna find out.’ That was the start of this amazing journey."

The retired police officer recruited a team of retired librarians, who began seeking book donations for First Nations. They were quickly swamped with new and used books, so they set up headquarters in a donated storage locker. The project took on new scope in 2011, when trailer manufacturer Britco offered a free trailer to house a library.

Steven Point Write to Read
Steven Point hatched the idea for Write to Read when he started bringing books to First Nations on B.C.'s coast. (Government House)
Blacker arranged to have it transported hundreds of kilometres to the Toosey First Nation in the B.C. Interior, where community members had been driving an hour to take children to a library, which they did once a week. Suddenly, they had their own, with over 3,000 books.

“The trailer got here one day, and the next day they had it set up. The next day, we had the grand opening," said Shirley Johnny, Toosey’s education co-ordinator.

That success translated into more trailers, more books and donated labour from hundreds of Rotarians. Companies joined in with financial donations, as did First Nations with “sweat equity” contributions.

“We ask them to prepare the site, get some electricity, all those things we need you to do,” said Blacker. “We also ask for a member of the community that we can train to be library technician, to look after the books.”

Write to Read has now built libraries in six First Nations in B.C., including Yunesit’in, Halalt, Old Masset, Bella Bella and Oweekeno.

A place to read and meet

Malahat Kwunew Kwasun Cultural Resource Centre
The Malahat Kwunew Kwasun Cultural Resource Centre will soon act as a cultural meeting space and literacy centre. (Bob Blacker)
When the Malahat First Nation teamed up with Write to Read, an architect donated his time to help the community imagine what two trailers and a library might become.

The surprising result, modelled after a traditional longhouse, will act a community meeting space and literacy centre. It will also house a language and cultural learning program.

Chief Michael Harry of the Malahat First Nation says it was built entirely from donated services and fundraising, without any federal or provincial support.

"It’s showed the government that we can do this without them, and we want to thrive,” said Harry. “But more importantly, we want to create relationships with external communities surrounding us."

The Malahat Kwunew Kwasun Cultural Resource Centre will celebrate its grand opening this summer.

'It’s connecting these folks, breaking down barriers that should never have been there. And they're coming out to the communities for the first time, saying "We want to help."'— Steven Point
Point ended his term as lieutenant-governor in 2012  and was recently reappointed as a provincial court judge. But he’s thrilled to see Write to Read continue to grow.

“It’s connecting these folks, breaking down barriers that should never have been there. And they're coming out to the communities for the first time, saying, ‘We want to help,’" said Point.

B.C. Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon enthusiastically endorsed the project when she took over the post. Six libraries have been opened, with six more on the way. Thirty-thousand books have been donated so far.

Learn more about the Write to Read project. Find out more about the Malahat Cultural Centre.

Watch the segment:

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Public Libraries Promote Literacy and Community with Little Free Libraries

Public libraries in Illinois have created their own little free libraries to promote literacy and community.  Isn't that what we are all about? 

What other public libraries are developing their own Little Free Libraries network?

Brian Eason, IndyStar 8:09 a.m. EDT May 18, 2014

Miniature libraries are popping up in parks, trails and front yards across the metro area, and you don’t need a membership card to use them.
They’re known as Little Free Libraries and, true to their name, they aren’t much larger than a mailbox. They’re typically made of wood, with a roof, a glass door and a bookshelf stocked with a few dozen books.
And although the national movement was slow to come to Indiana at first, the idea has started to catch on. From 16 registered in 2012, Indiana has 98 today, with more on the horizon.
Here’s how it works:
Take a book you want. Leave a book, if you’d like.
And that’s it.
There’s no due dates or late fees, and if you fall in love with the book you borrowed? You can keep it, guilt-free.
“At first, people weren’t quite sure what to think of it,” said Amy Rexroth, a Girl Scout troop leader in Carmel. Rexroth’s girls maintain a Little Free Library just north of 106th Street on the Monon Trail. At first, she said, park officials assumed the scouts were trying to sell something, and threatened to nix the idea.
“I’m like, ‘it’s free.’ ‘What do you mean it’s free?’”
But although the Monon box got off to a slow start in fall 2012, it has grown into a popular stop.
When the weather’s nice, they typically see a 12 to 15 book turnover each week, Rexroth said. That’s about double the national average of 25 books a month, according to littlefreelibraries.org. Kids books go the fastest, often snatched up by moms who visit the Monon, strollers in tow. But adult best-sellers like John Grisham and James Patterson are popular, too, as are cooking books, to Rexroth’s surprise.
“It’s generated a lot of discussion, which has been fun, too,” Rexroth said. “We live right behind it and we hear people talking out there.”
Todd Bol, who built the original Little Free Library in 2009 outside his Wisconsin home, says he hears the same story all across the country: these innocuous wooden boxes build a sense of community.
“One newspaper said we were a revolution in neighborhood conversation,” Bol said. “How cool is that?”
In the footsteps of individuals like Bol and Rexroth’s scouts, area organizations are trying to replicate that success in an effort to promote literacy, as well as community.
The Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library has six around town, with 10 more planned; the Greenwood Public Library debuted its first one in April, with 10 planned in all. And this month, Carmel Clay Public Library opened its first three, with future locations already in the works.
Beth Jenneman, a spokeswoman for Carmel Clay, said she expects there to be plenty of interest, but expansion will have to be tempered by the need for upkeep. “We don’t want them to be empty ever,” she said.
Indianapolis has lagged behind its suburban neighbors; it had just three, according to the most recent count available online.
“But won’t people steal the books?” reads a frequently asked question on the national group’s website.
Impossible, Bol insists — you can’t steal a free book. And he’s found vandalism to be pretty rare. “In part, it’s because we say to everybody: ‘It’s yours. This is your community’s,’” Bol said.
That community spirit has helped keep the Little Library on the Monon well-stocked.
“Only twice have we been just completely empty — and both times we went to Goodwill and Half-Price Books and bought a bunch of clearance paperbacks,” Rexroth said. “I don’t think the troop has put a total of $10 into it.”

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Itty-Bitty Free Library - Vineland Ontario

As you have read, I love Little Free Libraries.  Check out this cute one which is my own community, not too far from the Moses F. Rittenhouse Library in Vineland. I found on my way to the garage sales at the Cherry Hill subdivision on Saturday.

The Itty-Bitty Free Library is located at 3521 Rittenhouse Road. From the photo, there is lots of choice for younger and not-so-young readers!

Have you used this Little Free Library? Let me know!