The Book Drop – New librarian appreciates warm reception

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Aaron Francis is the new chief librarian at Creston & District Public Library.

Aaron Francis is the new chief librarian at Creston & District Public Library.

It has been a whirlwind first month on the job for me at Creston Public Library, and I could write ten columns about all that I’ve learned and experienced so far. But, first and foremost, I want to express my heartfelt thanks for the warm and wonderful welcome that this community has given my family and me. Being a B.C. boy, I always knew that Creston was surrounded by spectacular natural beauty, but the warmth and generosity of the people here has exceeded my expectations. I am very honoured and excited to serve as your librarian.

In this and up-coming columns, I would like to share with you some of the news and highlights of what’s happening at the library, and to introduce you to a few of the many new arrivals hitting the shelves.

First, though, I would like to talk about library fines. As you are probably aware, the library charges fines for lost and overdue material and, truth be told, we are partly dependent on this revenue to offer the range of materials and programming that we do. Sometime down the road, I’d like to consult with you about whether or not we should move to a fine-free library. In the meantime, let me say this: the purpose of fines is to encourage folks to return their borrowed items on time and in good condition. But what sometimes happens is that the fines become overwhelming to the extent that they inadvertently bar patrons from coming in to the library at all. As your librarian, I find this to be unacceptable.

We want every single person in this community to feel welcome in the library, and to make full use of the resources available here. So if you–or someone you know–are avoiding the library due to unpaid and unpayable fines, please come in and talk to me or one of our friendly staff. We’ll work it out in a way that is fair to you, fair to us, and fair to the community. And I guarantee you won’t go home empty-handed!

Now, on to the news (if you follow our Facebook page, this will be old news). Beginning in October, Creston Public Library began offering a weekly Babytime program for young ones aged 0-18 months and their parents or caregivers. We learn bounces and tickles, lullabies and fingerplays to encourage healthy parent-child interaction and early literacy acquisition. And it is a lot of fun! So bring your son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandchild or childcare group down here every Tuesday at 11:00am.

Every Thursday morning at 10:30, I bring out my guitar and puppets and favourite picture books for Pre-school Storytime (ages 18 months and above, younger siblings welcome). And on Tuesday afternoons, our teen group, YX Press, meets for popcorn, crafts, book discussions and more. This year, they have been provided with a budget to help update our YA collection, and we can always use more youth expertise. If you’re interested in helping out, come down to the library Tuesday after school.

New books! We have new books coming in by the bushel. I can’t list them all here, so you’ll have to visit us to find out what we have. Needless to say, we are ordering just about every new bestseller out there and, with the help of our patrons, discovering some hidden gems as well.

A library’s collection should reflect the community it is in, in all its variety and splendour. I’m new in town, and don’t presume to know you as well as you know yourselves, so please help me out and tell me what you want to see in the library. We reserve a good part of our collections budget specifically for patron requests and if, for whatever reason, we choose not to purchase the item, we can usually get it through interlibrary loan.

Last but not least, October is Canadian Library Month. Happy Library Month!