COLUMN: Always smile at a crocodile

From our library columnist Anne DeGrace . . .

Writers and readers are the ultimate in symbiosis. Like the crocodile and the plover, the relationship is mutually beneficial: the plover dines on rotting bits of what-have-you from between the croc’s teeth, and the crocodile gets a good cleaning. When it comes to symbiotic mutualism, readers and writers alike can be grateful we’re not talking creative dental hygiene. And everyone knows that poems, plots, and postulations are all better shared.

The Nelson Library regularly puts readers and writers together. Over the years, visiting writers have included Angie Abdou, Miranda Hill, Grant Lawrence, and Padma Viswanathan; the list of celebrated locals is long, among themJenny Craig, Ernest Hekkanen, Rosa Jordan and Tom Wayman. We’ve had kid-lit authors Nikki Tate and CyndiSand-Eveland, and teen-lit authors Moira Young and Vicki Grant live and in-person to entertain and inspire.

We want to nurture readers, and we do.

We do our best to keep our print collection relevant, vibrant, and timely, making sure you have the best newfiction, the latest how-to, the deepest analyses of world events, and the very best books on the animal kingdom.You can download eBooks and e-Audiobooks to your favourite device or request books from other libraries, thebetter to satisfy your literary hunger.

Programs such as our hugely popular Summer Reading Club, as well as programming for kids, tweens and teens all year long, nurture love of books and reading at all stages of our developing reading appetites.

Initiatives such as our Read Around the World challenge for adults this summer asks you to step out of your box by reading books that stretch your reading norm. Categories such as “a book set on a boat” could see you surrounded by fictional crocodiles (the safest kind), while a “travelogue or travel memoir” could offer the real deal of crocodile-reader interaction written by a fearless traveler or a fearless plover with a good literary agent.

Which brings us back around to the other half of this lovely symbiosis the writer part.

Author readings share our busy calendar with informational talks and other community events. Having a venue to read is important for writers, just as hearing visiting and local authors is important for readers looking for new inspiration, and for writers learning the craft. In this small way we can help to develop the books we’ll love as readers.

At times we’ve been fortunate enough to have writers share their secrets. Eileen Holland taught young writers toput their imaginations on the page in a lively workshop series. Local poet Rayya Liebich taught poetry to teens this past spring, and Vancouver poet Kerry Gilbert will offer a similar workshop next April during National PoetryMonth. A couple of years ago “The Company of Writers: A Workshop about Writing Groups” connected writers, the better to yes develop those books we want to read.

Earlier this month the library partnered with the Elephant Mountain Literary Festival and their writer-in-residence program. Ten writers submitted their work for critique with award-winning novelist, children’s author, and screenwriter Caroline Adderson.

The Library’s Quiet Rooms provided the venue for one-on-one consultations, and Adderson offered a free talk called “Tips for Writers: An Introduction to the Craft.” Close to 100 people packed the library for that event,pushing our limits while a whole lot of writers expanded theirs.

For an institution looking to encourage reading, it was a fine partnership indeed.

Sometimes writing is a whole lot like stepping into the open jaws of a crocodile. If a writer lives to tell the tale well, then it’s tales we get!

Flocks of booklovers are grateful, and the happy symbiosis continues.

Anne DeGrace is the Adult Services Coordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week. For more information go to www.nelsonlibrary.ca.

 

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