Monday, 27 April 2015

What's new at AVRL

On Monday, December 8, 2014, I was appointed Interim CEO at AVRL.  The AVRL Board wanted to take some time before it advertised for a permanent CEO.  I am pleased to report that on April 17, 2015 the permanent CEO’s position was advertised widely.  Check out the job posting on the AVRL website under Employment.

The CEO is the person in the organization who recommends and facilitates new services and new directions.  In addition, the CEO is responsible for seeing that effective library service is provided throughout the region by managing the  library’s staff and financial resources.  It is a challenging position.

Fortunately, the CEO is assisted in this task by competent and dedicated staff at Headquarters and in our eleven branches.  In my short time here I have been very impressed with AVRL staff and their ability to deliver exceptional services under sometimes very difficult circumstances.  This winter proved to be a very taxing one for all of us.  We have noticed an increase in Interlibrary Loans and the placement of holds for our own library materials.  We are guessing this is a result of many people finding it hard to get into their local branch and instead finding good reading listed in our online catalogue.

Hantsport Library under construction
 2015 is a year of substantial change for the AVRL.  Soon there will be a new permanent CEO and the Headquarters staff will be preparing for a new location by March 2017.  Also, Kentville, Annapolis Royal, and Hantsport are either in the midst of moving or planning for new facilities in the coming months. 

Change brings its stresses but also brings opportunities for positive change and new ways of delivering services.  It will be the new CEO’s responsibility to encourage development and ensure that services to our communities are disrupted as little as possible.  If you have been thinking of a service you would like AVRL to offer be sure to let the new CEO know what you need.  Just go to the AVRL website and hit Ask Us and the Contact Us Form.

My time as Interim CEO is limited but my interest in and support of the AVRL will be on-going. I may even send in a suggestion to the new CEO myself!  In the meantime, I will keep reading. At the moment I am searching my favourite little website to make sure I have read all of Georgette Heyer’s books.  If I find a title that AVRL doesn’t own I am sure they will be able to find a copy for me.  I love libraries!

--Lorraine McQueen, Interim CEO

Monday, 20 April 2015

National Canadian Film Day

This year, the Annapolis Valley Regional Library is participating in National Canadian Film Day on April 29th.   What is that, you say? Well, the organizers at REEL CANADA say this:

“April 29 is National Canadian FilmDay, a day to throw off the shackles of fear and insecurity, stand together with Canadians from coast to coast and pat ourselves on the back for something other than various ice-related sports and sports-related doughnut shops. (Not that we don’t love ice-related sports and doughnuts). It’s a light-hearted intervention for our national consciousness, a wake-up call to anyone who has not yet been exposed to the great cinematic stories we tell one another in this cold, vast country.  It’s a way to get over ourselves and have some FUN!”

Thanks to REEL Canada, our library has public performance rights to show these three Canadian films on April 29th.  Plan to join us at one of the following locations.

Rosa M. Harvey Middleton & Area Library – screening Dr. Cabbie at 6:30 pm

Windsor Regional Library – screening The Grand Seduction at 6:00 pm

Wolfville Memorial Library – screening The Disappeared  at 7:00 pm

Check at your local branch library or in the online catalogue for great Canadian film titles you can watch at home.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Used books, new money

A few times a year we hold used Book Sales. We get many donations from our patrons, and some of those books we actually add to the system; but many of them we already own enough copies of, and so we sell them at our Book Sales. Our donation policy can be found here, in case you would like to donate some of your books. We have to be slightly picky when it comes to donations, because if we can’t use or sell them,  we have to pay to recycle or cart them off to the garbage.  And when books are mouldy or dirty, they can actually infect other books, so they really do belong in the dumpster when they are in that condition. We also sell some of our discarded books: those that we no longer need in our collection. When the 15 copies of the latest best-seller are no longer hot, we often put those in our Book Sale. 
How do we deal with all these books? We have a great volunteer, Gerry MacDonald, who comes in weekly to sort, price, and work with the books. Gerry helps out at the sales, too. We couldn’t do it without him! 

Our Book Sales have amazing low prices. We want you to have these books. We know that having books in your home can be one of the indicators of how well children will do in school. Our children’s book prices range from .25 cents to $1. That makes it easy to bring home a stack of books for the kids to paw through. Our adult books are reasonably priced as well. Paperbacks are .25 cents each, and hard-cover books are between $1-$2. Trade paperbacks (those nice, big ones) are $2 each. We often have sets of books that we sell for $5. For those of you who ALWAYS need a book on hand, this is the place. 

We have lots of fiction, but we also have non-fiction. Cookbooks and gardening books always sell out quickly, and our Canadiana section is very popular. For the second year in a row, we are offering a Friday evening “early bird” Advance Sale. Pay $2 at the door, and get in early – get your hands on the choice books! The Advance Sale is Friday, April 17, from 6-8 PM. And don’t worry if you can’t make it Friday night—we have loads of books and we might even put more out for Saturday morning.  From 9 AM  to 12 noon there will be plenty to choose from, and you don’t have to pay to get in.

Our Book Sales generate income for the region, and we hold our Spring Book Sale to help fund our annual Summer Reading Club for kids & teens. We also have an annual sale during Ciderfest, and several other smaller sales  throughout the year. Many of our branches also hold small book sales, so keep an eye out.  See you at 26 Bay Road this weekend !

Monday, 6 April 2015

They are like Magnets

Bright, shiny covers. Tall ones sitting beside short ones. Stout beside skinny.  Spines with a variety of fonts and colours and textures that beg you to touch and feel.  With outside edges that are soft, clinging together, that untouched feeling of pages as yet unturned and unappreciated.   

I work at a library and I’m talking about a shelf of new books. Not exciting for everyone out there, of course, but for those who appreciate the written word (probably you), they are like magnets.  From where I sit at my desk, I have the unique privilege of watching and listening to co-workers as they ready those books for their journey to the first library patron. As the books are outfitted with covers and labels, they are held, fondled, browsed, commented on, shared, notes taken.  

Our workspace is an open concept, so I can hear the Acquisitions Department first since they are the ones to unpack the new arrivals. While the shipments are weekly occurrences and some arrive without fanfare, there are often unique and special books that appeal, for whatever reason, to one or more individuals on staff. Just like our patrons, we are gardeners, travelers, cooks, parents, grandparents, lovers of best-sellers. Who could possibly remain unmoved by the hype and arrival of each new Harry Potter title?  And we all know when someone cracks open books like The Very Quiet Cricket ( Spoiler Alert: silent until the day he meets a very quiet girl cricket).

As the books move along their way through the hands of other staff, the reactions are generally the same, yet specifically different . This is not always a selfish act, as family members and friends are kept in mind as the books are considered.  It’s fun to watch as someone discovers a gem that seems perfectly matched to a co-worker’s tastes, and, like a parent on Christmas morning, presents it to him/her with anticipation of validating their find.   

 As the processing continues, the books sit briefly on the ‘new book shelves’, then the ‘new book cart’, being seen by different people in other work areas.   (I enjoy this privilege, and am amused, as I watch staff attempt to pass by, but are unable to resist the urge to look and browse.)  Eventually we feel the satisfaction of a book being placed in a box on its way to the borrower fortunate enough to be first in the waiting list.

But my thoughts don’t stop here.  What will its first loan be like, I wonder?   Will it go to a hammock on a summer’s day?  A rug by a warm fire?  Will it be shared with a cup of tea, or a forbidden cigarette, or both? Will it rest on a night table, in a knapsack, or with a dust bunny? Perhaps it will travel on a joyful family vacation, or to a hospital room filled with pain and sadness. Might it be read in secret, or shared with a best friend?  Will it help, heal, comfort, soothe?  Will it bring goose bumps and make hairs stand on end?  Will it emote happiness, guilt, hope, elation?  Will its contents be disappointing, or life-altering?     

 Whatever the experience, may we all appreciate the wonder of books, both new and old.

Wendy Trimper, Head of Branch Services