Monday, 31 August 2015

Tiny libraries sprouting up

There’s a movement afoot that I’ve been quite interested to watch. It started as Little Free Library . The idea? Build a tiny library and put it in your yard, neighborhood, park, etc. Fill it with books, and invite people to take them, add to the library, and enjoy. This movement has really caught on!  You know how sometimes you hear about something, and then suddenly you see it everywhere? That’s what happened to me.  This summer when I was in San Francisco, I saw my first actual Little Free Library – built into an old phone box. Then another, at my friend’s house –her kids love to check it each day to see if books have been taken or added. . And another,  just as I was on a walk. This one had a solar light for evening borrowing. They seemed to pop up all over the place.

When I got back to Nova Scotia, I got an email from Laura Churchill-Duke (of Valley Family Fun fame)  . She wanted to create a Little Library in Kentville and asked if I knew about them and if I had any suggestions. A few weeks later, there’s the Wee Free Library at Miner’s Marsh in Kentville.  Read about why and how she wanted to create the little library in this article fromKings County News.  And she’s working on creating one for Port Williams, so stay tuned! Read more from her blog HERE.

Since then, I’ve heard about others. There’s one in Clarence – I found it at Noah’s Place Farm  
 when out for a drive. A friend had told me that this one existed. I’ve heard there’s one at Ayelsford Lake, but I haven’t seen that one yet.

Have you seen a Little Library in your area? Have you taken a book, or left a book at one? Are you thinking of making one in your community?  Leave us comments and let us know!

--Angela Reynolds, Community Engagement Coordinator

Monday, 24 August 2015

Top Five Tips for People Attending One-on-Ones

  If you've been on the library's website recently or inside one of our library branches, it is likely you've heard of our FREE One-on-One Tech Help program.  This program is aimed at adults who need help with technology (such as laptops and tablets) and would like to learn more; interested clients can make appointments with the library to meet with the branch's CAP (Community Access Program) Youth Intern, who will engage in a one-on-one session to answer any question clients may have.  As with any time one is meeting with a stranger to discuss something one may not be comfortable with, it is not surprising or in any way unreasonable to be concerned about not knowing what to expect.  Will the instructor be easy to talk to? What if I can't understand any of what they're saying? So, to help sooth your fears, here are my top five tips for People Attending One-on-Ones.

1. Have Your Questions Ready Before You Go
Before arriving at your session, make a list of the questions you'd like to ask or subjects you'd like to go over.  This not only insures that you won't forget what you wanted to ask, it also helps the instructor make sure that your time together is used in the most productive and helpful way.  You may want to tell the instructor “I know nothing, just tell me everything” or asking them “what are all the important things I need to know?”.  Although these statements may be how you feel, they do not help an instructor to know where to begin. 

2.  Remember that Instructors Want to Teach as Much as You Want to Learn.
The instructors are there because they want to help, and all instructors had to be vetted through an interview process with library staff.  Remember: not everyone can know everything, so sometimes you will be learning together.  Instructors may not always realize that what seems obvious to them may not be so clear to someone who didn't grew up in such a hyper-technological culture; in most cases, just letting them know that you don't understand will help to provide some direction. 

3. Instructors Can Not Read Your Mind.
If you find that you are struggling with a certain program, or you can't keep up because the instructor is going too fast, you need to let the instructor know.  I fully understand why it often feels easier to just stay quiet and hope everything will just suddenly make sense.  The truth though, is that this method is not productive or helpful, and could end in mutual frustration. Instructors want to aid you in understanding technology but they can't do that unless you are willing to communicate with them.  Just ask them to slow down or go over an explanation again – instructors are there to support you.

4. Instructors Are Not Computer Technicians
Instructors are trained in helping clients with doing many basic computing tasks, such as using the Internet, setting up a tablet, or downloading ebooks and audio books.  They will likely not be able to help you if you bring in your tablet because it is making a funny whirring noise, or your laptop has a virus.  These are beyond the scope of what the one-on-one sessions are designed to achieve.  Before making an appointment, make sure your problem is one that a CAP Youth can help you with.  If you're not sure, it is perfectly okay to call the library and ask. 

And last, but certainly not least...

5. Have Fun!
In this highly technological age, it is very easy to become overwhelmed with all the new gadgets coming out constantly.  But for all that, it's a little scary, it's really pretty amazing too!  Thanks to technology we can now talk face to face with friends and family half way around the world, download hundreds of books and movies onto one easily transportable device, learn about quite literally anything you can think of with the click of a button, and so much more. There are so many incredible things that can be done with technology, and with the skills you'll learn through one-on-ones, you'll take your first step towards them.  Good luck!

- Shania Taylor, CAP Youth Intern Bridgetown/Lawrencetown

Monday, 17 August 2015

Welcome, Ann-Marie

The Board of the Annapolis Valley Regional Library (AVRL) is pleased to announce the appointment of the new Chief Executive Officer, Ann-Marie Mathieu.  Ann-Marie began her new role on Monday, August 10, 2015. 

 “The Board is excited to begin work with such an experienced public library administrator,” says Shirley Pineo, Chair of the AVRL Board of Directors.  “We are confident that Ann-Marie has the qualities necessary to lead the AVRL and provide quality library services to Valley citizens.”

Ann-Marie has considerable experience in all aspects of library administration, gained from her fifteen years as a library director in various library systems. Most recently she has served as the Deputy Library Director of the Saskatoon Public Library. 

“I am absolutely thrilled to be taking on the role of Chief Executive Officer with the Annapolis Valley Regional Library,” says Ann-Marie Mathieu. “I am looking forward to joining a library system with such a strong history of customer service and commitment to excellence.” 

Ann-Marie has a vision for Library service that is founded in the firm belief that the public library is a community development agency, and that the library is an important piece of the puzzle in building strong, vibrant, and healthy communities.  

On Ann-Marie’s first day she was greeted with a bouquet of roses from the staff. There was even a pot-luck lunch so Ann-Marie was introduced to the staff at the AVRL Headquarters in fine style. We are all looking forward to seeing what Ann-Marie has in store for AVRL, and we welcome her wholeheartedly. You will see a new face representing our libraries. Say hello when you see her!

Monday, 10 August 2015

Chocolate Raspberry Cookies

Today, we are recycling a post from our 12 Days of Cookies. These were so good the first time, we thought we'd share them again!

Baked by Charlotte, who works at Headquarters. These yummy treats are from the book,  Taste of Home's Complete Guide to Baking. 

The combination of raspberries and chocolate gives each bite of these cookies an elegant feel.  Serve them for special occasions or “just because". 

1 cup butter, softened                                 

3/4 cup sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
½ cut fresh raspberries, pureed (I used frozen)
3 cups flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup white chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in melted chocolate and raspberries.  Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture.  Stir in white chocolate chips.

Drop by teaspoonfuls 2 in. Apart onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until edges begin to brown.  Remove to wire racks to cool.

My tip: I use a small scoop for most of my cookies, including these.  It is just too easy.  Also parchment paper makes clean up a breeze.  Enjoy.

Charlotte – Head of Systems and Administration

Monday, 3 August 2015

New Library Catalogue

We’ve done it again!  In April of 2014 we were able to bring some added features to our catalogue, this time it is all new. 

This new catalogue provides:
·         A more “Google or Amazon like” searching with more relevant results
·         It is responsive, changing the format of the page according to the device you are using to access it, for example, smart phones and tablets
·         Lists of new titles are easily accessible – these lists change almost daily as new material is added  

·        After you do your search you can narrow it by format, genre, fiction or non-fiction, language, year of publication, time period, place and more
·         See the reviews, summaries and excerpts on books where available
·        Add comments on titles for others to see
·        Create your own lists – your favorites, what you’ve read, what you’d like to read
·       Save your searches for future reference (In your account go to Your Saved Searches to see all of the searches since you logged in for the current session. You may choose any of the searches to save.  These will be there the next time you login.  So, if you are looking for non-fiction books on knitting or fiction sound recordings by a specific author, save your searches and check to see if there is anything new added since you last searched.)
·        Suspend holds so that they won’t arrive at the library while you are on vacation. This feature keeps your spot in the list (you cannot suspend or cancel holds that are already in the library for you to pickup)
·         Put your list of holds in order by title, suspension dates, your positions in the queue
·         Put your loans in order by title, due date and renewals remaining
·            'Cite this' feature for help with bibliographies

We work in a consortium with seven other regional public library systems.  This catalogue is used by all of these libraries, with each having a look unique to that region.  Your comments and feedback to staff or by using our CONTACT US form are very important in future developments of this service.  We hope you enjoy this new catalogue.

Charlotte Janes, Systems and Collection Access Coordinator