The Ashcroft Library is not able to host its annual “Merry and Bright” room this year, but branch head Deanna Porter and her staff have made sure that the Christmas spirit is alive and well, and visible to anyone walking or driving past the building on Brink Street.
The branch is also holding a scavenger hunt, which can be done from outside the library. A list in the side window on 2nd Street shows items that are hidden throughout the display, and they can be spotted from inside a vehicle, although people can get out to take a closer look.
“People can drive by, or get out and take a look,” says Porter. “You don’t have to come into the library, and can do it in your own time. The form is in the window; just find all the items and email us a list of what you can find.”
The scavenger hunt runs from now through Dec. 31 at 1 p.m., and all entries (limit of one per family) will be entered in a draw to win a $20 Tim Hortons gift card. Porter adds that you don’t even have to take part in the hunt to enter; simply email email@example.com and “like” the display.
This would have been the fourth year for the branch’s Merry and Bright event, which sees the meeting room at the back of the building turned into a Winter Wonderland that people can drop by, look through, and use as an enchanting backdrop for Christmas pictures. Knowing that such a display wasn’t possible this year, Porter says they were determined to do something special.
“We just used what we had here and went with the flow. Staff brought in lights and things to help with the display. We just wanted to do something for the community, given what’s going on.”
In addition to the windows at the side of the building, the windows on either side of the main door on Brink Street have been decked out for the holidays. There are lights and trees, and people can see some of the Christmas books and DVDs that the library has available to be checked out.
While the displays can be viewed at any time, Porter says that the lights are only turned on when the branch is open. “One person said it looked like a display in a department store window.” There are also cheerful decorations inside the branch for patrons to enjoy, including a Christmas tree bedecked with face masks and hand sanitizer.
Staff at the branch are looking forward to seeing the results of a survey asking what library users want to see when the Thompson-Nicola Regional Library begins renovations of the building’s interior, planned for 2021. Although the building’s exterior has been altered and renovated since it was built in 1975, the interior has remained largely unchanged over the last 45 years.
“Staff had a chance to have input about what we thought it might look like,” says Porter. “We’re excited to see what the feedback is.”
Since reopening in late summer after a lengthy closure due to COVID-19, Porter says that traffic through the library has been more or less normal. She adds that the branch is still offering the Library Takeout program, which has proven very popular with patrons, who can order books and other items online, via email, or on the phone.
“There’s been a good response to it, and we have a few people who are regulars. You order things and book an appointment, and we watch out for you and bring the order to you. Those who use the service are really appreciative.”
The library is open regular hours for most of December, although patrons are reminded that all branches close 15 minutes earlier than their scheduled closing times in order to facilitate cleaning.
For opening hours and contact information for all TNRL branches, or to find out what’s new at the library, go to www.tnrl.ca.