While October is Canadian Library Month in the country, the third week of October is celebrated as Ontario Public Library Week. During that week each year, we organize activities to meet and greet our patrons and encourage non-patrons to explore all the benefits that being an active member of a library can enjoy. Whether you’re building your business, connecting to new friends in a book club or writer’s group, introducing your children to reading, or just grabbing the latest mystery; the doors of the library can open a whole new world. This year has, of course, been more than a little different and the re-opening to regular activities may seem a bit slow, but we have been busy behind the scenes re-thinking the ways that we can offer services that are safe for both patrons and staff.
We are currently moving into phase six and will be offering some selected services within each branch and adding evening hours on Mondays and Tuesdays till 6:30, so patrons who are busy during the day can visit us at a more convenient time. We also offer several online services that are always available and will continue to explore new ways to bring library services to the public. We provide online materials for all ages, from e-books and e-audiobooks using cloudLibrary, downloading the most recent issue of your favourite magazine from RBDigital, or learning to tune up the engine in your snowblower before the flurries arrive from the Small Engine Repair Reference Centre database.
Putting families first has always been a priority at TBPL and whether you have children in the classroom or are homeschooling, we are there to provide resources to help smooth the path to learning. A great beginning is Tumblebooks, which is an excellent online source for teaching reading and vocabulary but also contains helpful materials for improving numeracy and provides other language learning in an easy and fun format. Almost everyone has taken a child or even been a child in one of our preschool programs and the need to educate while entertaining has not gone away, so the library has taken its traditional programming such as Tales for Two’s online, as well as adding a Sunday Storytime, to help wind down the weekend. During the past few months, staff have created online versions of your favourite puppets shows and have scoured the internet to draw together online content from libraries and educators to help children of all ages while they’re learning. To access just check out the Online Stuff or Online Activities tabs at www.tbpl.ca. If you are having trouble looking for books about a subject, working around a theme, or just looking for great reads, the library can prepare book bundles to order. Just go to www.tbpl.ca/readers and make your request. We also do them for teens and adults.
Information for older children to access age appropriate research materials can be found at Kids Infobits and the Encyclopedia Britannica. We also possess a range of databases such as Literature Resource Centre that provide supplemental materials for high school and post secondary students, and just might help prevent the classic Sunday night panic before an essay is due.
We have not forgotten teens in our online programming, who are invited to join us on Discord for a safe place to hang out and talk to other teens, in programs ranging from “Take a Breath (& Colour)” to “Get Woke, Stay Woke”. Our Youth Advisory Council is meeting online and even qualifies for volunteer hours.
As the weather turns colder and we start spending more time indoors again, now is a great time to re-discover the library for all it has to offer. If you don’t have a card or you card has expired, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will contact to get you started; or if this has whet your interest on all the things the library offers, check us out online or follow us @tbaypl on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
Lori Kauzlarick- www.tbpl.ca. If you have a comment about today’s column, we would love to hear from you.