Rapidly changing libraries try to adjust to a brave new world

TNRD Library System seeks input on how and what to change in area libraries

If you had $100 to spend on items for your local library, what would you purchase?

That was one of the questions posed at the TNRD Library System’s “Check It Out!” interactive event, which started in the region last week. The strategic planning process is designed to get people thinking about what the library system does for them, what they would like it to do, and where public libraries go from here.

Those who dropped by the Ashcroft event were given 10 beads “worth” $10 each, and challenged to spend them as they saw fit across seven categories: print books; magazines and newspapers; electronic books; electronic magazines and newspapers; children/youth books; audiobooks; and other accessible material (such as large print or Braille books).

Participants were asked what “cool things” they would like to see from their local library, and to pick an “alter ego” and write down what library programs and partnerships they think would benefit that person.

There was also an opportunity to take part in an online survey, which is available on the TNRD Library System’s website (www.tnrdlib.ca) until July 30 for anyone who cannot make it to the presentation. The results obtained from the “Check It Out!” events and survey will result in a five-year plan to help set the future direction of the library system.

As the survey notes, these are wild and rapidly changing times for libraries, which are undergoing a radical transformation. With the rise of e-books and the proliferation of smartphones and e-readers, both the delivery of information services and library collections are changing.

The swift rise in popularity of e-readers has resulted in some 12% of books checked out from TNRD libraries being in electronic format; and this does not take into account electronic newspapers and magazines. While this rise has levelled off in recent months, there seems little doubt that libraries face an increasingly electronic future. Many people may not know that the TNRD Library System can teach people how to use their new gadgets, with lessons for iPads, iPods, Windows,  and smartphones available. You can also learn tips for online shopping.

“Check It Out!” continues in the region’s libraries until September, with all sessions on a drop-in basis and being held from 5–7 pm. The dates are as follows: Lytton, July 10; Savona, July 31; Logan Lake, Aug. 5; Cache Creek, Sept. 4; and Clinton, Sept. 9.

The library is a wonderful resource for keeping children interested in reading over the weeks of summer vacation. The TNRD Library System is offering the “Funny Business” summer reading club, in which children are asked to read (or be read to) for 15 minutes a day, then record this in their “Funny Business” booklet (available from the library). When they visit the library they will receive stickers and can enter a draw for weekly prizes (open to children aged 0–12).

For older children there’s the “Teen Summer Challenge”, featuring an array of challenges such as “Create your own Dr. Seuss-inspired poem”, “Write a book review”, “Draw your own depiction of a scene from a book”, and “Write a short story that would fit on the size of a postcard”.

For more information about “Check It Out!”, summer reading programs, and the TNRD Library System, visit your local library or the library system website.

Barbara Roden

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