Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Play Like Girls

Like many of you, I was glued to the Winter Olympics television coverage.  I was proud of the performance of all our athletes and our 25 medals.  In particular, I was impressed by our female athletes, especially the curlers and the hockey team.

As I was monitoring Twitter during the Olympics, a mother of a four year old girl posted what her daughter said after one of the women's hockey games.  As the players took off their helmets, the little girl exclaimed, "Mommy, they're girls!" She was surprised that women could play hockey at a high level.  Also on Twitter, a cartoon was circulated.  The coach of the women's hockey team told his players "to play like girls".

What can we in the library world take from this?  That we should be the best we can be in providing quality library service to our communities.

Let's all "play like girls".

Monday, 17 February 2014

The Library as Tardis

Here is an interesting article that a friend of mine forwarded to me.  The Library as a Tardis.  It makes perfect sense.  Another take on the 'Libraries aren't just Buildings Anyway' concept.

Libraries are the ultimate TARDIS - There is much talk about what to call "new" libraries, as we try to convey the fact that libraries are so much more than just books to borrow - they provide computer access for so many people with no other means of getting online, many offer a free wifi connection 24/7, we provide downloaded FREE audiobooks and e-Books and even videos, we help build literacy skills -- print and digital literacy in folks of all ages, we are community meeting spaces, offer kids programming for babies to teens, we offer book discussions and lectures for adults, more and more libraries are embracing the maker movement, turning the tide from being just consumers into creators -- whether it is learning to program an arduino microcontroller or a robot to more traditional arts and crafts. In Vermont we offer patrons free access to "Universal Classes", online continuing education classes on almost any topic imaginable!

No matter the size of the library, once inside you have access to a world of information, with a librarian ready to help guide you through Time and Relative Dimension in Space!

The Doctor knows about the power of libraries: "You want weapons? We're in a library! Books! The best weapons in the world! This room's the greatest arsenal we could have -- arm yourselves!" (Doctor Who, "Tooth and Claw")

From A.Word.A. Day

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Little free libraries inspire neighbours to share love of reading

These book boxes, popping up on lawns across the city, encourage people to borrow freely and donate their own favourites.
Andreas Duess set up a little free library outside his Parkdale home last winter. “It just seemed to be a really cool way to do something with books and wait for the world to react,” he says.
Andreas Duess set up a little free library outside his Parkdale home last winter. “It just seemed to be a really cool way to do something with books and wait for the world to react,” he says.
At Andreas Duess’s Parkdale home, a tiny birdhouse structure on the front lawn attracts attention.
Instead of birdseed, this house is full of books. Duess operates a little free library, a project that began in Wisconsin in 2009 and has taken off in Toronto, across Canada and the globe.
There are no late fees at these libraries, no librarians warning book lovers to shush and no plastic cards to grant you admission. Open 24-7, these tiny libraries invite passersby to take a book or leave one for other neighbours to enjoy.
“It’s a really neat thing to do something that has no strings attached,” says Duess, who set up his library last winter. “It just seemed to be a really cool way to do something with books and wait for the world to react,” he says.
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Neighbours have reacted, using his library daily. Many have intentions of starting their own.
Bill Wrigley created Toronto’s first little free library in 2011. Although there are only five registered in the city, he estimates there are 25 tiny libraries in Toronto and about 40 across the GTA.
“How many there are is very difficult to prove, but it is a success and is growing worldwide,” says Wrigley.
Todd Bol, executive director of the Little Free Library Association, says there are more than 10,000 tiny outlets worldwide, as far away as Ghana. Inquiries from Canada pour in every week.
“When you share a book with a neighbour, you’re sharing a part of yourself.”
With two schools and two child-care education centres nearby, retired early education professor Monique Richard’s home is in a prime location for a little free library. Her collection of children’s books receives about 10 visitors daily.
From her front porch on Swanwick Ave. near Main and Gerrard Sts., she loves to watch the excitement on children’s faces when they stop by her library on their way to school. “Because the books are in a little house, it’s like a magic place,” she says. Richard even has a bench beside her box, inviting book lovers to sit and read.
The tiny libraries have adults under their spell, too. “People love the spontaneity. You don’t know what you’re going to get when you open those doors,” says Antoinette Meinders, who describes her library in the Beach as an expression of the neighbourhood’s history. “It’s like a carefully curated collection that reflects our community’s interests,” she says.
“When you share a book with a neighbour, you’re sharing a part of yourself,” says Bol, who argues the libraries bring out a primal need in people to connect with their community.
In a world that’s increasingly digital, these charming throwbacks promote the sharing of knowledge and entertainment the old-fashioned way, reminding us of a bygone era when bartering was the norm. While users are encouraged to return books or donate their own, Meinders says she simply hopes her library inspires others to pay it forward. “When you see something like this, it sparks altruism,” she says.
Richard adds that the libraries are a great way to make literacy part of our daily routine. “People go for a walk with their dogs and they stop and look at what books I have that day. If they like one, they take it,” she says.
Debbie Visconti, who runs a little free library out of Community Centre 55 on Main St., says the unrestricted nature of these tiny libraries makes them more appealing than large public libraries. “People want to take their time reading books,” she says. Plus, there are no waiting lists.
Duess says his experience has been entirely positive. “When you think about it, what’s the worst that can happen? People steal the books? Well done! That’s what they’re there for,” he laughs.
Toronto’s little free libraries
100 Swanwick Ave.: Monique Richard
97 Main St.: Community Centre 55
304 Lee Ave.: Bill Wrigley
104 Winners Circle: Antoinette Meinders
35 Melbourne Ave.: Andreas Duess

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Superconference 2014 - Nothing Comes Easy

As always, it was great to attend the annual Ontario Public Library Association Superconference in Toronto.  It was nice to see so many colleagues with whom I touch base once a year and find out what they have been up to.

For me, it was the plenary speakers who gave me so much food for thought.

An eye opener was the talk by science fiction writer, Robert J. Sawyer.  I admit that I am not a science fiction reader because it seems to be all technology and war.  However, Mr. Sawyer presented a good overview of the beginnings of the genre.  He then described the value of science fiction as an accepted way to criticize society.  I will read more science fiction now!

Two other plenary speakers reminded us that it is good planning and hard work that continue to be keys to success. 

David Usher, a gifted musician and creativity consultant, described the work involved in composing a chart-topping song.  It is in the hard work that the creativity will shine through. 

Commander Chris Hadfield described how the preparation for an emergency space walk was needed when ammonia leaked from a malfunctioning pump controller which had to be replaced in space.  The key to success is to visualize failure.

So, I have my work cut out for the year, especially the planning and hard work needed to move to the new library in the Town of Lincoln Community Complex.