COLUMN: Channel your inner squirrel at the library

Anne DeGrace explains how the library is getting you ready for the winter

Libraries and squirrels have some things in common, Anne DeGrace writes.

By Anne DeGrace

While our tree rodents of the squirrelly variety are not the cat-sized behemoths I grew up with in Ontario, there is, undeniably, a lot of gathering going on around here once the calendar turns to October. Likewise, your library.

Once, libraries were mainly places where books were stored. Like squirrels, librarians of yesteryear stockpiled books against those 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 by collecting sustenance of all kinds, beginning with this year’s crop of Nelson’s Chocofellar bars sporting literary-titles-with-a-twist: Lullabies for Little Hazelnuts (thank you, Heather O’Neill); In the Skin of a Raisin and The Love of a Good Almond (in appreciation of Michael Ondaatje and Alice Munro, respectively) and, because Terry Fallis will be with us in January to help us celebrate 100 years of your library in Nelson, The Best Laid Pecans. You can never have too much chocolate; support your library by buying lots.

Here are some more examples of October Library Love:

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. The Friends of the Library Fall Fiction Book Sale runs Friday, Oct. 25 and Saturday, Oct. 26 in the library’s lower level. You know you need to store up a winter’s worth of reading, don’t you? Wanted for the sale are recent fiction books in excellent shape, deliverable to the library until Oct. 18. Here’s your chance to stockpile like a good sciuromorph should.

There is so much more in store: the Code Mobile drops in on Saturday, Oct. 5 with animation and web design workshops for kids and teens, all free and drop-in; see our online calendar for times or give us a call.

On Monday, Oct. 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Seniors Home Weatherization Program folks are in the library to let area seniors know about this fabulous program of free advice and upgrade rebates, so you’ll be toasty warm while you read all those books you bought at the Friends Sale.

The Thingery comes to Nelson Oct. 7 to 13, parked outside the legion: find out all the things you can borrow, from tools to sports equipment, at

On Thursday, Oct. 10 at 7 p.m., anyone new to voting in Canada (the young and the recently arrived) can learn all about it in a free drop-in program called Voting 101, with democracy advocate Donna Macdonald.

We have two food-for-your-mind events happening on Oct. 17 at 7 p.m.: Okanagan poet John Lent’s book launch (with special guest Rayya Liebich) upstairs, and the EcoSociety Book Club, discussing Don’t Even Think About it: Why Our Brains are Wired to Ignore Climate Change by George Marshall, downstairs.

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 co-ordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week.

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