How I spent my summer holidays, Library-style

The sky’s so blue it could make you cry; the temperature is in the triple digits; months of rain have left foliage lush.

The sky’s so blue it could make you cry; the temperature is in the triple digits; months of rain have left foliage lush. The water is still glacial, but who cares? Summer has come at last to the Kootenays.

Usually when the weather gets nice, the library gets quiet. Traditionally, this is when your intrepid librarians “catch up” (a ubiquitous phrase around here any time of the year). Not so this year: the library is crazy busy. We can only hope to stay afloat until after the Shambalese come through.

Last week I heard a rumble coming from the bright, airy corner of the library that is the teen section, usually a quiet space. Clearly, the good ideas of teen services coordinator Joanne Harris and her team of teen advisors are working: the section was full of teens (who knew?) reading, playing card games, and hanging out in the cool red leather armchairs with their legs dangling over the arms (because what teen sits in a chair properly?).

Later, I cruised the space to pick up loose books and discovered a fort made out of books from the first three shelves of the fiction section. A for creativity, F for make-your-librarian-happy. But it’s great that teens feel the section is enough theirs that they can move right in, as it were.

The Summer Reading Program, two weeks into its season, is humming with activity. Summer students Ann and Karalea are bright sparks under the guidance of children’s services coordinator and old hand Nancy (you’re-only-as-old-as-you-feel) Radonich. There are three programs: for three to five-year-olds, six to eight-year-olds, and nine to 11-year-olds, as well as French Thursdays — storytime en français.

Which is a good segue into our expanding French collections for kids, teens, and adults thanks to a matching grant from the Francophone Affairs Program of the Province of BC.

Amid challenges about the relevance of print collections, our circulation stats for books are higher than ever, and our online survey told us that you think developing and expanding our print collection is of high importance. And so we are. Check out the New Books section, conveniently placed at the far end of the library under Tim Kendrick’s gorgeous photographs.

Personally, I find books of the print variety especially relevant as we head into beach season, where a library book beats an iPad any day of the week for its ability to be read easily in bright sunlight and, if accidentally dropped off a shady rock at Taghum beach, will net a replacement cost quite a bit less than Apple would charge. Of course, we loan Kobo e-Readers and offer a swack of great downloadable books on our website, from print to audio — so you can listen to your reading while snoozing in the shade.

Summer classics and contemporary novels available any which way run from Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver to How I Spent my Summer Holidays by W.O. Mitchell. If you do take a book to the beach, please keep it away from water, ketchup, sunscreen, and sand. Sand in book covers makes us crazy, and reminds us of where you are, and we aren’t.

We remain a computer culture, and an email-checking compass destination for travelers of all stripes, from RVing Albertans to twenty-somethings with sunburned thumbs. And yes, the week before and after Shambhala — Salmo’s famous rave — is always busy, something the event’s coordinators recognized last year with a very nice donation.

Those of us working in the library would probably rather be outside if you asked us (and if we answered honestly) but your sunny smiles make it all worthwhile, whatever the weather.


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