COLUMN: Embrace your inner tree rodent during Library Month

We’re celebrating the Nelson Library in myriad, occasionally nutty ways

By Anne DeGrace

While our tree rodents of the squirrelly variety are not the cat-sized, food-obsessed behemoths I grew up with in Ontario, it is undeniable that there is a whole lot of gathering going on around here once the calendar turns to October.

There was a time, many a season ago, when libraries were places where books were stored. Like squirrels, librarians of yesteryear stockpiled books to ensure there’d be enough to read through the long winter months. Now, libraries are much more than a pile of literary nuts to crack. They are year-round meeting places, computer labs, young-mind-cultivators, research centres, e-book providers, people-connectors, and community cornerstones. Canadian Library Month celebrates all of that.

We’re celebrating at the Nelson Public Library in myriad, occasionally nutty ways, beginning with this year’s crop of Nelson’s Chocofellar bars sporting literary-titles-with-a-twist: Much Ado About Nuttin’ being a prime example. It’s one of four bars in the Shakespeare Collection, the others being Almond’s Well that Ends Well, The Taming of the Raisin, and A Midsummer Night’s Coconut.

Because we’re at the tail (tale?) end of Canada’s 150th birthday year, a CanLit Collection was a must. To that end, we also have The Love of a Good Almond, Lullabies for Little Coconuts, Barometer Raisin, and The Englishman’s Bar, with thanks (and apologies) to CanLit geniuses Alice Munro, Heather O’Neill, Guy Vanderhaeghe, and Hugh MacLennan. In my perfect world I’d read each of these titles with the appropriate bar close at hand. It makes my tail twitch just to think about it.

When the late Stuart McLean was at the Capitol Theatre in Nelson he quoted yours truly on the subject of Nelson’s economy at its most fundamental: “We … sell things to each other.” Never is this more true than with the Friends of the Library Book Sale, and it’s not as nutty as you might think.

There are happy book hoarders amongst us, and the Nelson Friends of the Library supports both purgers and collectors by collecting your nearly-new books and selling you different ones—supporting the Library in the process. This year the Friends of the Library Annual Book Sale runs October 28 and 29 at the Old Church Hall on the corner of Kootenay and Victoria Streets. Wanted for the sale are recent books, audiobooks, CDs and DVDs in new condition, deliverable to the library until October 20.

The Friends have been gathering funds for nearly as long as squirrels have been gathering nuts. They raise money for special projects and library furnishings, squirrelling away in the Friends’ Den on our lower level to sort incoming donations so that they can hold a kid-sized book sale each spring and a mega-sale in the fall.

All for you to gather up, take home, and stockpile like a good sciuromorph should.

Life’s busy enough to make us all a little squirrelly, and yet the library is a refuge in so many ways. Think of a big old oak tree, where every branch offers a safe and leafy respite. From the first baby steps into board books to a safe hang-out space for teenagers, from info-gathering adults to tech-seeking seniors, there’s a harvest to be found in your library.

Fill your cheeks with nuts and your minds with knowledge. Embrace your inner tree rodent. Love your Library, where the turning of every leaf offers a new world to discover.

Anne DeGrace is the Adult Services Coordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week. For more information go to

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