Monday, 30 January 2012

Mark Oakley in Wolfville

This year, the Wolfville Library is happy to be one of the libraries our Writer-in-Residence Mark Oakley is most often stationed.  As well as doing workshops in different branches, the Writer-in-Residence program is mostly designed for him to do his work and the rest of us to watch, ask questions, and consult him on works of our own creation.

One doesn’t often get to see the creative process in action.  But this is exactly what happens with Mark Oakley: he comes in, sets up his easel and computer, and starts to make something out of nothing.  First there are just faint boxes on the page, in pencil; then the boxes start to fill in with heads, backgrounds, dialogue bubbles…also sometimes magic and physical humour.  At some point the fine point black felt-tipped marker comes out—but not necessarily in any discernible order, as some of the boxes on his page remain blank at this point and others are at various stages of completion.   Mark goes over the lines, giving the drawing a final flourish, its definitive form.     

It’s amazing to see the buzz of energy that gathers around him as people stop to watch what he is doing or ask him questions.  Mark, ever gregarious, discusses his work or answers people’s questions, whether about his own work or something they have drawn.   People of all ages enjoy checking out his work station and he is more than happy to discuss technique, materials, and inspiration.   - Brogan Anderson

 For more information on our Writer in Residence program, click here.
To find out where Mark will be next, click here.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Family Literacy Day - January 27

Family Literacy Day is a national awareness initiative created by ABC Life Literacy Canada in 1999 and held annually on January 27 to raise awareness of the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family. More than 1.5 million Canadians have already participated in the initiative since its debut. We celebrate Family Literacy in many ways at the library, but this special day (which often turns into a week due to library schedules) gives us a reason to highlight the importance of families reading together. The kids in this little film say it so well:

How about creating your own video about a book for the StoryTubes contest? That's Family Literacy, too! 

We've got some special things planned, including the  Bookmobile Celebration Tour at Windsor Forks School on January 26. The bookmobile will be parked out front from 6 to 7:30 PM , and we'll be offering special storytimes as well as checkout. Come see us!   On Friday, January 27, at 11 AM, the Bridgetown Library is offering a special storytime with guest musician Caleb Miles. Then, head over to the  Berwick Library for  a Family Literacy Day Storytime later that day, from 4:30-5:30 PM.  Come be captivated by stories of adventure and play!  Speaking of play, the Windsor Library is starting a Lego-Rama group on January 27.  For details on these programs and more, click here !

Find more resources from ABC Life Literacy Canada here. Happy Family Literacy Day!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Rover’s Return

Ken & Deirdre, Leanne & Peter, Norris & Rita.  If these names mean anything to you then you are probably a Coronation Street fan.  Touted in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest running television soap opera still in production, this British show has captured the hearts of Canadians.

Whether you have been watching the show for a few months or a few years, come on down to the Kentville Library at 95 Cornwallis Street on Saturday, January 21 from 2:30 – 4:30 for “Rover’s Return”.  The Library is planning a mixer for Corrie fans including trivia, games and prizes.  There will be tea and other traditional English treats. Feel free to dress up as your favourite character!

To get you in full Coronation street mode, why not check out some of our Coronation Street books and DVDs?  Try 50 Years of Coronation Street or Coronation Street: The complete Saga to catch up on the history of the show.  An Audience with Coronation Street DVD is hilarious and entertaining as we see the stars of the show perform songs.  You haven’t really lived until you see Steve and Liz sing a duet of Guns N’ Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine”.  The Coronation Street Treasures book is a personal favourite filled with memorabilia from the show making it seem like a real-life scrapbook.  

People remind me from time to time that it is only a show – that these are not real people.  To that I respond, “Yes they are.  I’ve been there and I’ve met some of them.”  Last year I took a trip to England and went on a tour of Coronation Street.  As you can probably tell, I’m a hardcore fan thirty years and counting.  I have walked the fabled cobbles and visited the set.  I was there when they filmed the scene of Jason’s birthday party in the Rover’s that they aired a few weeks ago.  I got to meet Norris, Julie, Sophie, Sian, and Ken – the man who holds the Guinness Book of World Records for playing the same character in a soap for over 50 years. Here's proof:

Speaking of Ken, a.k.a. Bill Roache, he is coming to Halifax in March as part of a cross country tour.  He’ll be at the Casino on March 23 & 24 and tickets are going fast.   More info on this event is available at Casino Nova Scotia.  Maybe I’ll see you there!

Last but not least, the DownEast Streeters is a Nova Scotia based fan club for Coronation Street.  Aside from “Pingfests”, they usually host an event with one of the stars each year.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Kevin, Ashley, Sunita, Molly, and Chesney at these events.  No word yet on who they are hosting this year but you can join their email list at DownEast Streeters.

--Frances Newman, Regional Librarian

Sunday, 15 January 2012

What is YA? - Audience

I often get asked, “What is YA?”  First off, it stands for “Young Adult”, and YA lit has become quite the trend in publishing.  This feature will regularly explore some of the themes and memes in YA.  Our first exploration here is AUDIENCE.  Who are YA books for? When ordering, I generally think of YA books for grades 6 -12. That can mean both subject and reading level. Sometimes, a YA book could easily be read by a student in grade 4 or 5, but the subject warrants a more mature reader (for example, the last few Harry Potter books).  And sometimes, the subject may be ok for many Grade 5’s, but the book could be very long and/or the writing is geared toward those with a higher reading level.  The reader is the final determinant, though, and for younger readers, their parents may want to help them decide on a book. Your 10 year old may be capable of reading that popular new vampire book, but will they have nightmares because of it?  YA books are the gateway to mature reading, and as such, tend to touch on themes that are best handled by mature children.           

Many adults find themselves drawn to YA books, and I think I know why, being one of those adults! (PS, it is ok if you adults want to read YA books. If you are too embarrassed to admit it, just pretend you are getting them for a teenager.)   A good YA book gets right to it. The story is ready to go from the first chapter, and holds the reader till the end. Sometimes we have to wait several books before we really know what happens, but that is part of the draw. That’s not to say that you won’t find fine characterization and exploration of meaty issues, because in many YA books, that’s exactly what you’ll find; in fact, YA used to be called “Issue books” – remember Are you there God, it’s me, Margaret by Judy Blume?   YA books tend to fit the detail in just where it is needed, and give the reader enough to make them want more, rather than making them wish that the author would just get on with it.  The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking books, and Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver trilogy are good examples – great stories with engaging characters and settings that are easily gobbled up.  Stay tuned for next episode, when we’ll look at the Vampire craze! 

WHAT IS YA? Will be a monthly feature, published on the 15th of each month, written by Angela Reynolds, our Head of Youth Services.  We are giving away YA books to go along with it! Make a comment below about one of the books we talked about, and you’ll be entered into a monthly draw for a YA review copy. Must be able to pick the book up at one of our branch libraries; no books will be shipped or mailed.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Hantsport is Library of the Month

What’s special about the Hantsport Library?  There are 78 public libraries in Nova Scotia but only four are combination school/public libraries.  Is this a good thing or a bad thing? On the plus side it means one facility serves a dual purpose which is important in these times of economic restraint.  Why should taxpayers have to fund a school library and a separate public library?  A library is a library, right?

Except that it’s not.  The school library’s purpose is to serve as a resource centre for their students while the public library’s purpose is to provide information and recreation to the general public.  So for example, the general public cannot use the Hantsport Library during the school day.  This means the Hantsport Library can be open to the public only after 2:30 p.m. on weekdays.  Special permission was granted to enable the library to be open on Saturday mornings when the school is closed, thanks to support from the Town who pay for janitorial service and, if necessary, snow removal on the weekends.

Who runs the Library anyway?  During the school day, the library is run by the School Board, their staff, their rules and policies.  When the library is open to the public, it is administered by the Annapolis Valley Regional Library Board which is a separate entity and is regulated by a different government department.  That is where things get tricky.  In spite of some challenges, the Hantsport Library rolls along serving both students and public.  The Library Board and the School Board share space, and work together as best they can as friendly housemates who understand the need to compromise and set boundaries to make this partnership work.

This month the Hantsport Library is being promoted as “Library of the Month” as part of the Annapolis Valley Regional Library’s campaign to promote its branches.  RBC is sponsoring an Open House on Wednesday, January 18 from 3:00-4:30 featuring music, refreshments, and the Friends of the Hantsport Public Library are offering a book, DVD, and CD swap as well.  Remarks from special guests take place at 3:30.  Lots of other activities are happening at the Hantsport Library including:
·         Cartooning Demo with Mark Oakley
·         Preschool Storytimes
·         Book Club for adults
·         Free Computer Classes

More information about programs and services available at the library can be found  on our website. 

If you haven’t been in the Hantsport Library since you were a kid, do yourself a favour and stop by and check it out.  You might be surprised how much it has changed!

---Frances Newman, Regional Librarian