By Anne DeGrace
If you suffer from insomnia, an annual report can be just the thing to summon those fence-jumping sheep. When it comes to the Nelson Public Library’s annual report to the community, however, there’s nothing soporific or sheep-like about it. That’s because we’re not followers; we’re leaders.
The report is fresh off the photocopier, engagingly designed, and spritely in content. Be still, your beating heart! I’m going to unpack it for you, now.
The library has three key strategic priorities, beginning with Community Needs. This year we furthered that goal in two ways: through our ever-expanding Library of Things, which includes radon detectors, pedometers, kill-a-watt devices, exploration backpacks and, now, ukuleles (10 of them, in fashionable colours!) We also added an online training service — Gale Courses — offering free, instructor-led learning in technology, writing, management, languages, and dozens more. This is definitely one to check out.
In addressing our priority Spaces to Connect, we changed the layout of the main floor for better light and ease of movement; we added more public computers (and they are always in use!), and we created more comfortable seating spaces and more work areas.
Our efforts to meet our goal of Sustainability is perhaps less obvious than a pink ukulele. These include advocacy for public libraries, building strong intergovernmental relationships, and finding innovative partnerships and funding opportunities, as well as our program-targeted grant applications, working with partners to help us deliver great services and programs.
The report offers 2018 highlights of our key departments. Here’s what we said:
We held 26 programs for adults, including author readings, informational evenings, technology workshops, and book discussions with our partners, Amnesty international and the Kootenay Co-op. We broke down barriers with our Human Library, offering folks access to life-changing conversations with people in our community.
Thanks to a partnership with Columbia Basin Trust and Telus, we launched a Teen Tech workshop series on photo editing, DJing, HTML and more. We found great ways to bring people together through a mother-daughter book club, Granny Goose at Lakeview Village, and our New to Nelson potluck. The library is all about connection.
The Summer Reading Club for kids isn’t new — it just gets better every year. Attendance at the programs totaled more than 750. And twice as many students participated in the Reading Link Challenge, a quiz-type competition for Grade 4 and 5 students, as the previous year — nearly 100!
We supported digital literacy in our community, helping members get online, use social media, and download eBooks and eAudiobooks, and we offered one-on-one sessions to help with all kinds of technology questions with the help of staff and community volunteers. It is not always easy to keep up with the demand, but we do our best to be responsive to community needs as technology evolves.
So what about the numbers? Here are just a few to keep your sheep at bay.
Our 11,332 members, as well as visitors, made 146,500 library visits last year. There were 205,760 items borrowed and 24,486 eBook and eAudiobook downloads. Our public computer logins totaled 22,402; online training sessions and database access totaled nearly 35,000. And our 250 programs for folks aged 0 to 99 attracted 6,752 participants.
There’s no moss on the Friends of the Library either: our volunteer fundraising group clearly never slept, raising $18,856 through book sales, grants, and donations.
If sleep is elusive, our annual report — available online or in hard copy at the library — won’t be your ticket to la-la-land. But we might have a book or two that can help you out. At press time, there were no plans to begin lending woolly ungulates.
Anne DeGrace is the adult services co-ordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week.