@ Your Library: Books, eggs and the Globe

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I hesitate to say the word “desperate”; however, I am only going to hesitate for a second before I start off by saying Gleaners is desperate for volunteers right now. If you can think of three very good reasons why you can’t lend a hand, especially if you have purchased clothes, wine glasses or anything at all from their store, then this message is not for you. Everyone else, call Gleaners at 250-428-4166 and let them know you can help out.

I happened to answer the library phone last Friday and on the other end was a patron asking if we had a book and if she could reserve it if we did. Not an unusual request, but most patrons use the Internet for this service or do it in person. It turns out she was at the airport in Calgary, waiting for a flight and apparently had no computer with her. She had begun a book, The Help by Kathyrn Stockett, while she was in Calgary but had to leave the book behind. There were no copies at the airport bookstore and she had to finish it. Great book, by the way. Most of us at the library have read or listened to it.

Yesterday I opened my email to find a letter from a name and business I did not know; however, in the subject line was the name of a patron I do know. The email had an attachment and the message included the patron’s phone so I could verify the email as genuine and not coming from that hotbed of scams, Nigeria. I called and the patron has no computer and had told her daughter to send an important document that needed signing to the library via my email and we would print it and she could pick it up. I suggested to the patron that we scan the signed document and e-mail it back to the agency.

Just now, one of our patrons brought in three dozen eggs from their small farm. She drops in weekly, I buy them from her, and volunteers, staff and patrons can get them from me — and yes, at the same cost, if you were thinking this is a money making venture for me or the library. Having said that, it might be an idea…

How could Rob Ford, councillor for the city of Toronto — you know who I am talking about, the mayor’s brother and supposedly the smart one of the two — even consider closing libraries? I am not sure how he could say in a heartbeat when he has not got one; several members of the family seemed to miss out on hearts, and minds, for that matter. He has no idea, no idea at all, what a library can do, who it serves and most of all, what role it plays in the dynamic of a community, any kind of a community.

This might be something else to add to library services above and beyond best sellers: I have, through a comedy of errors, secured delivery of the Saturday Globe and Mail to the library. Apparently, I clicked the wrong box when ordering the Saturday-only subscription online and it was only when I hadn’t received any kind of receipt did I find a charge by the Globe for $1,300 on the library credit card. I felt quite faint when I saw that. Several phone calls have been made; they told me I had clicked the box for a full 52-week mail subscription to the paper. I, of course, pleaded caffeine overdose rather than admit anything (and still think they lied to me) and begged for only the Saturday subscription and to be credited for the difference. That money could purchase a lot of books. The papers have begun to arrive, so those who used to pick up the paper downtown can drop in here, take it out to the garden along with coffee and a snack from Kingfisher, Black Bear or any of the other local coffee locations in Creston.

I have not checked the credit card yet — I might save that for Monday and not ruin my weekend if I need to make another call.

Ann Day is the chief librarian at the Creston and District Public Library.

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