Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In praise of smaller branches + teen zone ideas....

I try to visit as many of our libraries as I can. I think my count to date is 21 out of 33 (never been on either of the bookmobiles, either, alas). My current obsessions are Elmvale Acres and Emerald Plaza, which, for some reason (two words, first word starts with E?) keep getting mixed up in my head. Both are what we call "Community 2" branches, so mid-size (like Rideau), but they both have quite high circ of children's materials.

Today, I had some errands in the Elmvale area, so I stopped by Elmvale Acres branch. Here's the exterior:

EA is all on one level. I love, love, love branches like Rideau where you can see all the action from the Info Desk. I really miss that here at SL - there's a wall between me and circ. I can hear them, but I can't see them. Grr. Anyway, I also like the paint colours (very reminiscent of Cliffcrest Branch of TPL, both in paint colour choices and in geographical location - both are in strip malls). The librarian at Elmvale, Courtney, has been doing an amazing job recently amping up the programming at the branch for all ages: from Babytime, to job finding workshops, to high school groups. We had a stimulating discussion, and I was thrilled I serendipitously caught her on a morning she was working so I could get a personal tour. She's hard at work on her teen zone, which we are at SL also, so it was good to compare notes. We also are on the same page in terms of how we think about OPL's three urban, "Community 2" branches (Elmvale, Rideau, and Rosemount), and we shared some thoughts about outreach strategies, underserved populations, and stuff.

All this made me think, perhaps I should share with you my ideas for the teen zone at SL. First of all, here's how it looks now, which is in and of itself an improvement on a few months ago. We removed one bay of shelves (via a giant backshifting project) and the paperback spinners (as my faithful readers know, I was quite pleased to see the end of those vile things).

We have our Wii console (man, that's a whole other post...) but haven't purchased the games yet. Our launch should be in Sept, so I'm anxious to get this place tricked out before that. Time and $ are of the essence!

Have you ever noticed that our carpet is HIDEOUS? Also, it's very hard to match anything with it, probably because it's so loud already. It amazes me that a grey carpet can still be so loud. My cell phone photo also doesn't capture the truly nasty pink flecks in the pattern - think "newborn baby pig" colour. Yes, I'm really selling you on it, aren't I? Anyway, I looked high and low for something that wouldn't compete too much with it, and ended up liking my colleague, Shannon's, suggestion best:

(It's from EQ3)

Re. chairs, I'm thinking Ikea, so this weekend is roadtrip time to the local store to check out the pickings. I've got my eye on this one:


I love Ikea (shamelessly. I know it's cheap, but they have quirky stuff, lovely unbeatable wooden toys, and delicious chocolate galettes. Not to mention meatballs.)

Anyway, those are just ideas for now until we figure out what our budget is. I also need some magazine shelving - can you see our current pathetic (and somewhat dangerous) metal shelving stand? At the end of the bay of stacks? It wrecks all the magazines as you try desperately to shove them into the little grooves. Gah.

So I'm off to work on that, and some back-to-school planning for class visits. Gotta work out my strategy this year. I'm thinking, skip the snail-mail letters and move to e-mails and phone calls? Plus I have to prep my speech tomorrow to shiny new library technicians about readers' advisory, and start reading for the class I am going to be teaching at Algonquin. Eeeek.

Currently reading: Bog child, by Siobhan Dowd. Just finished How I became a famous novelist, which was wonderful, in a cynical kind of way.


  1. Come to the Bookmobile it's lots of fun, plus if you come to HQ - you can cross Greenboro off your list too!

  2. I really DO have to get to the Bookmobile! I have been to Greenboro (oddly, one of the first branches I visited, even though it's quite far from home!) Thanks Anna!