COLUMN: Befriending your inner coziness

All the reasons why you should befriend the library. Some of them might surprise you, says columnist Anne DeGrace.

Friends of the Nelson Library chair Catherine Brocchagen

I can’t hear the words “curl up with a good book” without feeling all warm and fuzzy. At the library we believe book-curling-coziness should be a universal and inalienable human right. And so we try to encourage it in myriad ways.

We lend books, audiobooks, DVDs, CDs, and downloadable books to anyone with a library card, and we make the library a welcoming place to read for travellers and other non-card-holders. There is no shortage of ways to curl up with a library book, physically or virtually.

We give away books through free book bins at shelters, soup kitchens, and food banks. When we discard books from our collection, we put them in our lobby for you to take home and curl up with. Or (this being summer) to stretch out in the shade with, or to take to the beach. (We’re not so happy when library books come back full of beach sand, so by all means, take these!)

A note: please don’t put the books you wish to give away into our lobby “free bin.” If they’re in good shape, please donate them when we’re open; If they’re not, please find another home for them.

We don’t encourage curling up with a Friend of the Library unless you are a relative or an extremely close buddy, but we do feel warm and fuzzy about our Friends. That’s because the Friends sell the better books that are donated to us (but don’t go in the collection) at annual book sales, at the silent auction across from the circulation desk, and at the perpetual book sale shelf — and with the funds raised do wonderful warm and fuzzy things for the library.

The perpetual book sale (not to be confused with the free bin in the lobby — we count on you to honour the honour system!) is by our stairwell. The sale from these books raises approximately $130 per month — that’s more than $1,500 over a whole year. The Giant Fall Booksale (just down the street at the Old Church Hall on October 23 and 24) raises about $2,000, and the spring Kids’ Booksale raises around $800. That’s all from sales of books donated by you (feeling warmer and fuzzier all the time, here).

Currently, the Friends are using some of the funds they’ve raised to create a cozy reading nook for kids and their adults to curl up on. Designed and built by Doug Scott (whose talents have created many a wonderful Capitol Theatre set, among other things) this beautiful wooden bench will snuggle up against the back wall by the Friends’ Den (where the books you donate are stored). Huge thanks to Deborah of the Nelson Stitch Lab, who has agreed to work with some library-loving kids to create book-themed cushions for the new bench.

As a backdrop to all that coziness, artist Nichola Lytle, who designed our beautiful mural in the children’s section and covering the electrical box outside, is custom designing a mural variation for the space.

New Friends of the Library are always welcome. Catherine Brocchagen is stepping down as chair after 4½ years to have time to pursue further studies in library and informationtechnology, and I think I echo the sentiments of all when I say she is the epitome of warm and fuzzy community service. Thank you, Catherine!

The library is more than books, of course. It’s a place to connect — with ideas, and with each other. Summertime at the library is all about connecting kids through the Summer Reading Club, and older kids through the teen version. When it’s warm outside we turn up the cool programming. And there is always a place to curl up with a good book.

Anne DeGrace is the adult services coordinator at the Nelson Public Library.

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