Meet the Page family: Stanley and Victoria Page, their teenaged daughter Hendryx, their 10-year-old son Douglas, and the youngest, a four-year-old girl named Willow.
The mom, Victoria, has just started up a small business. She took advantage of the library’s online Gale courses to build the skills she would need in order to launch last year: Accounting Fundamentals, an Introduction to Microsoft Excel, and one on Project Management. Although she has an office at home, Victoria finds that she gets more work done at the library. There are fewer distractions, the Wi-Fi is lightning fast, and she can print easily. Sometimes she uses the quiet rooms for the occasional Skype call.
Her husband, Stanley, is a stay-at-home dad. He’s been working to figure out ways to get Willow to fall asleep at night. These days, what seems to work is playing her an audio book that he downloads onto his phone. Once a month, after Mom relieves him of his parenting duties, he goes to the library to take part in the Kootenay Co-op book club. He’s thinking of starting his own book club, actually, and just found out that the library lends out book club sets.
Hendryx is 14 years old. She volunteers with the Reading Buddies program, helping younger kids with their literacy skills. She’s also the most tech savvy member of her family, and has come to every one of the teen tech workshops. Her favourite was the one on web development. She often drops by the library after school, and is teaching herself to code on the computers in the teen section. She started with Scratch and has moved on to Python.
Douglas and his Grade 4 class is participating in the Reading Link Challenge. They’re reading books in teams, and competing in a trivia competition against other classes in the district. Last summer, he participated in the Summer Reading Club, logging the pages he read, and also coming to the drop-in programs at the library. He comes by the library after school on Tuesdays to read graphic novels. In the fall, he borrowed a Nature Exploration backpack once, and loved it. He’s waiting for the spring to get it again, and this time, Willow wants to get one too.
When Willow was a baby, her mom used to bring her to the Baby Goose drop-ins on Tuesday mornings. Now, her dad brings her to the library on Thursday mornings for Family Storytime. She loves the books, the scarves, and the parachute – but most of all, she loves singing with all the other kids, and playing her egg shaker. Once a week, her dad brings her to the Lego Club; lately she’s been building some pretty amazing spaceships, if she can say so herself.
And then there’s grandpa. His name is Vernon, and this year he moved to Lake View Village. He always gets lots of books when the library does their monthly outreach visit. His eyesight is going, and Hendryx is teaching him to download audiobooks so he can listen instead of having to read. This week he got to listen to the latest John Grisham while he helped out in the garden. He was happy as could be.
And that’s the story of the Page family – probably the biggest library users in the region. There are thousands of people who come to the library every week, and each of them has their own story, their own lives, their own ways that they enjoy the library. What’s yours?
Avi Silberstein is the children’s services librarian at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week.