This post was inspired by Margaret; the inspirational, thoughtful, attentive, creative, passionate (oh, and funny!) children’s librarian at my fantastic branch of the Ottawa Public Library. She put me on her favourites list today so I thought I’d give her something good to read when she checks in.
While I’ll sing the praises our my particular branch and its team all day long, I also know many other people in Ottawa who will do the same about their particular branch. I’m hoping my readers elsewhere in Ontario and Canada will also have the same things to say.
We are lucky, lucky, lucky to live in a society which still values putting public resources toward the greater good. Which supports literacy and the arts. I’m not saying it’s perfect and I’m not saying it couldn’t be better but I’m still saying, we’re better off than most and we should make sure we value it so we don’t lose it.
Here’s what I love about the library (in no particular order):
- Eye candy – new books all the time! Everywhere! Beautifully displayed! Catching my attention and encouraging me to try something new.
- Books on CD – better than TV for kids sick / bored at home. I never feel guilty about plunking them down to listen to hours of literature. I think listening to stories develops their brains in interesting and useful ways. And they save car trips (we still don’t do in-car DVDs – partly on principle and partly due to the very real fear of carsickness).
- DVDs – in case you hadn’t noticed there are no more places to rent DVDs (OK, not strictly true – if you live in downtown Ottawa you can take your pick from about five amazing independent video rental stores – but move just a few kms out of the core and you’re SOL). And Netflix hasn’t really worked for us. But at the library there’s always this cool, eclectic, quirky selection of free (FREE) DVDs. Love it. We see movies we never would otherwise and we’re much less critical because they’re FREE!
- Programming – oh my goodness my kids have been shaped by the library. Every summer there are so many fantastic programs with such worthwhile and interesting topics. And my son’s in a monthly book club (which he loves). I’ve taken free workshops at the library (How to find government information on the Internet – how useful is that?).
- Everything E – there’s so much of it. Audio books and e-books available from whereever whenever. When I unexpectedly have a sick kid home we browse until we find something good for him to listen to. When we were in PEI the other summer, I kept getting new Hardy Boy books for the boys to listen to when they needed downtime away from all the family excitement – from PEI I did this! Also there are so many good functions online. I can browse, find and reserve materials. It’s great!
- Everything I haven’t used yet but is still really cool – this includes museum passes, cross-country ski passes, pedometers, kill-a-watt meters, etc., etc., etc. I’m at the library all the time and I still haven’t had time to use everything they offer.
- Relationships – our librarians care about us (at least we sure believe you do guys!). They know me and my kids. They know my next-door neighbour. They know she’s my next-door neighbour and will tell me things to tell her if I’m in and she’s not. They support our schools. They support us all. They’re fun to talk to. They tell you the latest info on publishers and books and info and fun stuff.
I LOVE THE LIBRARY!
Especially today when it was -28 with the wind chill and the kids were home from school and where else are you going to go?
Thanks for being there!