Posted by: libraryexplorer | February 21, 2013

Pixton – Make Your Own Comic

It was super quick and fun to make my very own comic strip. There are more difficult settings you can follow to make it more personalized. Here’s what I created in about 5 minutes. Click to view my new comic strip.


Posted by: libraryexplorer | December 8, 2012

CLASC’s CLA Book of the Year

MLIS students in Vancouver have created a series of book trailers for the past decade of winners of the CLA Children’s Book of the Year.

Watch the first one here. 

Posted by: libraryexplorer | November 24, 2012

Whither the Weather?

A few children’s librarians and I met to discuss a theme for March Break 2013. We talked about highlighting Classic children’s stories, and then we talked about using weather as a theme. At one point I had a eureka moment and said we can use the weather theme to highlight classic stories.

For example, weather affects the plot in The Wizard of Oz and The Swiss Family Robinson. In the former, Dorothy and Toto are blown in a tornado to Oz. The latter one depicts the life of a family shipwrecked on a tropical island. It got me thinking about other classic children’s novels and picture books with weather-related plots.

1. The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
2. The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
3. Mary Poppins by Pamela L. Travers
4. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Picture books:
1. The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
2. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Posted by: libraryexplorer | November 14, 2012

Win a KOBO!!

What did you read today?

The National Reading Campaign is running a contest from now until December 31st. Tweet what you’re reading and you may win a Kobo e-reader with books already preloaded on it.

Find details at the NRC website.

Posted by: libraryexplorer | October 12, 2012

Book Blog Giveaways

I’ve just discovered the world of book blog giveaways!

Mostly YA Book Obsessed is the first book blog I found. The button to it is to the right. Click on it and a new window will open.

Posted by: libraryexplorer | June 22, 2011

Advocating For Your Library

One way to advocate for your library is to tell people what happens, to tell decision makers how effectively you serve, enlighten, and assist patrons.

Talking one-on-one is often effective, but as Wendy Newman (long time advocate of Libraries and professor of the iSchool at U of Toronto) says, you need to prepare an “elevator speech”. Decision makers and other people who are interested have limited time to listen to an elaborate, rambling description of your library. Newman has several elevator speeches that she practised in front of a mirror so that she can give a quick speech that will appeal to the priorities of the person she speaks to.

Another effective way to promote your library, to spread the word about its role in your community is to use media. The London Public Library (disclaimer: I’m currently am an employee of LPL) presented a video to London City Council yesterday at 4pm EST. At the same time they posted the video link to their website and spread the word through Twitter. I love this video!

Posted by: libraryexplorer | January 21, 2011

Library 2.0

So far I have only written on my visits to physical libraries. The digital world of Internet library “spacesBlue speech bubble with the words "WEB 2.0" in white.” has grown exponentially over the past decade.

So, what have I explored about Library 2.0 spaces? Well, its how libraries use Web 2.0 technologies. I am only recently acquainted with Web 2.0, so I’ll give a brief description from chapter 1 of Meredith Farkas’  book Social Software and Libraries:

1. It allows people to communicate, collaborate, and build community online.
2. It can be syndicated, shared, reused, or remixed, or it facilitates syndication.
3. It lets people learn easily from and capitalize on the behavior or knowledge of others. (1)

Basically, if you’ve used Facebook, you’ve joined Web 2.0. Other Web 2.0 products include Twitter, blogs, RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds like Google Reader, wikis. There’s more that I don’t know about yet. You can create content and read information easily. Think about comment sections on Amazon or any news website. That is Web 2.0 because anyone may add content (an opinion or a fact) to the news article or book review.

How does a library incorporate Web 2.0 in a meaningful, beneficial and genuine way? One easy answer is: however it wants to.  In reality, a library must do some market research to understand how their target audience (potential or current library users) uses Web 2.0 in order to serve their information needs. With so much information available, internet users are increasingly overwhelmed by the amount of content online. Libraries have always provided organized access to information, and this mandate carries forward to its digital space.

Let’s not forget a second – and no less important – mandate of public libraries: to be a gathering space, a community hub, a place where all citizens can enter and be served. Many public libraries promote their mission to be a community space, a hub, a “go to” place for its users. So many of today’s users seek their information and community connection needs online. Web 2.0 products encourage collaboration, connections, and so it is natural for libraries to create digital spaces.

My subsequent posts will explore Library 2.0 spaces. I’m excited to find out how public libraries digitally serve their patrons!

Posted by: libraryexplorer | December 6, 2010

Springfield Library (of Elgin County Public Library)

Springfield, Ontario is a tiny village in southwestern Ontario. It only took me about 45 minutes to drive out there to visit their new library building.

The branch, which opened July 2nd, 2010, looks fresh, new and has great natural light. The windows are high up the wall, allowing shelves to reach up 5 feet.

Three cushions sit on a corner bench. Full bookshelves are placed on either side of the bench.

The teen corner in Springfield Library.

My favourite aspect of the library is the teen corner. It’s small, but has fun furniture. The question the branch supervisor ask me was, what do we put in the drawers? You  can see there are drawers built into the bench. Right now they are empty. What would you put in them? Something that teenagers would be interested in, but something that will last longer than one day. Any ideas?

Another aspect of the Springfield library was the fact that there was no signage hanging from the ceiling. It was subtle, but once the branch supervisor pointed it out, I realized that I liked the airiness of the empty space.

There was signage on the shelves, at adult eye level and child eye level. Several bookshelves were set out specifically for displaying books, DVDs, and CDs. Springfield (as well as Aylmer and several other Elgin County public libraries) also provide backpacks with 10 picture books in them. They are a great way for parents to check out several books when they don’t have time to browse the shelves.

Posted by: libraryexplorer | November 30, 2010

Grand Rapids Public Library

I recently visited my sister in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She accompanied me to the downtown branch of the Grand Rapids Public Library. It is an old building that has been renovated and added on to in recent years. The front entrance is a gorgeous stone facade. Steps lead right up to the door, but fortunately there is a ramp that comes from the right side for accessibility.

The steps leading up to the front door are impressive.

Welcome to Grand Rapids Public Library

The exterior is impressive, and the interior is gorgeous. Meijer’s, a chain of stores, donated a good amount to ensure the inside walls are covered with marble. Tile mosaics cover the floor of the entire front lobby, which contains the circulation desk.

The long, winding staircase up to the second floor has plaques hanging on the walls to thank all the partners and sponsors of the renovation.

One room on the second floor looks like the Parliamentary library in Ottawa. There are high ceilings and large windows, and large reading tables with desk lamps for better light.

Further past the reading room was a cafe called Dewey’s Retreats. A cute name for a library coffee and sandwich shop.

Once we walked through the cafe we saw the five storey addition. Where the old library joins the new addition is a large airy, open space that has balconies all around. The storeys do not line up, but are easily accessible by stair or elevator. This is where we encountered the best library Christmas decoration I’ve ever seen!

A christmas tree made out of books stacked up six feet high. CDs hang off the "tree" like ornaments.

Christmas at the Grand Rapids Public Library!

A book tree! What an inspired idea!

The children’s section was enormous. It had plenty of large windows and a program room at the far end. There is only one way to enter the children’s section – by going past the children’s circulation desk – so library staff can keep an eye on strangers, unsafe behaviours, and unsupervised children.

Due to safety reasons I chose not to take pictures while looking at the children’s section. I did not want parents to think I was taking photos of their child(ren).

Speaking of children’s services. On the side lawn of the GRPL we saw a great piece of public art. I don’t know the title of the art, but it shows an old-fashioned story time. My story sessions don’t involve a large rocking chair; I prefer to sit closer to the floor.


A collection of five statues made out of junk metal. It shows a librarian reading a book to four children. One child is holding a ball.

Stories from a Librarian



This is a lovely picture of a librarian sharing her love for reading with four children and a dog.

Just as a side note. My blog states the I’m exploring libraries across Canada. Michigan is outside my domain, but it was worth branching out.

Posted by: libraryexplorer | November 8, 2010

Red Deer Public Library



A statue of statue of Francis Wright Galbraith reading the Advocate.

Francis Wright Galbraith at the Red Deer Public Library.


This statue sits just outside the entrance to Red Deer Public Library. It’s a statue of Francis Wright Galbraith reading the Advocate.  Galbraith was the first publisher of the Advocate, and an early Red Deer Mayor.  The statue is © 1996 by sculptor Danek Mozdzenski.

I made my brother and sister-in-law visit the Red Deer Public Library with me last December on our road trip from Calgary to Edmonton. I was impressed with RDPL’s art lending program. They hung works of art by local artists over all the bookshelves, and allowed patrons to borrow a picture for up to three months. The program’s mission was to promote visual literacy among the residents of Red Deer.

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