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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

You never know what you'll discover....

Sometimes a library is more than a place where you pick up a good book or find a new resource. Sometimes it can teach you about life and connect you with people you never thought you’d ever meet.
Such was the case when 7-year-old Emma of Oliver won a book at her local library branch called “My Horse, My Passion” by Kenra Willis. Emma is a horse lover, so wining this title was a perfect fit for her. But Emma and her family discovered the story within those pages had much deeper meaning.
“My Horse, My Passion” was compiled by Kenra’s mother after Kenra died of cancer in 2003. Her mother, Val Willis, found the manuscript among Kenra’s things and discovered it was written when Kenra was only 11 years old. The book features tips about caring for and riding horses along with personal photographs and illustrations done by Kenra. It also highlights the deeply personal story of the bond between Kenra and her horse Ragtime.
Emma, an aspiring equestrian, was moved by the book and wanted to reach out to Kenra’s mother. Though many years and miles separated Kenra and Emma, a library book brought them together through their shared passion for horses. Emma’s mother wrote Val an email about their love of Kenra’s story, with this excerpt:
“It is really such a lovely story that touched our hearts….thank you so much for the book. What a lovely gift you have given. If anything I hope you receive this email and know that you have touched our lives with this book. Much appreciated.”
“My Horse, My Passion” is part of the ORL collection.

Friday, August 12, 2011

It's all about the people...

Our branches always have interesting stories to share about the people who visit the library, and why...

From Enderby:

"A customer who had been out collecting bottles with high school students came into the library and said "I need a quiet place! It's so noisy at the bottle depot where the kids are sorting glass. I just need a place to get away for a few minutes." He sat in our comfy chair with his head back for 10 minutes, and then said he felt much better. Another way to use the library!"

In Peachland:

"One of our customers visited the library every day while studying an online course to be a security guard. Then we were able to proctor the exam in the branch, and now he has a full-time with a security company! Add employment centre to our uses."

In Revelstoke:

"Our oldest customer is 102 years old, and she still comes into the library every week to pick up her taped books (as she is print disabled). She still lives in her own apartment - what an example for us all!"

And in Vernon, where they were able to help honour a former customer:

"One of our informal branch mascots - our three paper mache penguins - was borrowed by a customer to use in a memorial service as the deceased loved penguins. We are a lending library after all!"

Do you have any stories about the special people at the library?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The story of a new book at the ORL

Have you ever wondered how the regional library system operates? Where do all the books and materials come from, how are they shipped between all the branches, and who deals with the hundreds of thousands of materials added to the collection each year?

The ORL Administration Centre on KLO Road in Kelowna acts as the central hub for the library system. This is where the Acquisitions team works to order new items and unpacks them as they arrive. Every item goes through Cataloguing and Processing to be added to the online catalogue, barcoded, stamped and labelled, and perhaps wrapped for protection. The Allocations team then distributes, and redistributes, and continues to redistribute items to the branches as requests are placed. Vans pick up boxes of books, movies and more nine times per week to deliver them to a branch near you.

The Adminstration Centre also has offices for financial accounting, human resources, and computer services, as well as the servers which run the online catalogue and manage Internet at hundreds of staff and public use computers throughout the ORL region. For a peek into these inner workings of the ORL’s hub, check out this Administration Centre virtual tour.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dewey or Don't We?

Any avid library user is familiar with Melvil Dewey’s legacy – the Dewey Decimal Classification system (DDC) he created in 1876. If you’ve searched for non-fiction at the ORL, chances are you have used mini pencils to write down a string of seemingly irrelevant numbers onto a little piece of paper in order to find exactly what you were looking for.
What you may not be aware of is that the system has undergone 23 major revisions over the past century and a half, with the latest version just released this month. The ORL Cataloguing Department will begin using this updated version to catalogue newly received library materials starting in July. Re-coding all affected materials currently on the shelves is not financially feasible, so you will still find the 1987 “A Weaver’s Garden” under 746.1.
In honour of the new DDC, our Technical Services Coordinator has compiled a Q & A about Dewey and the system. Here is all (and maybe more) than you ever wanted to know about the DDC:
What is the Dewey Decimal  Classification system (DDC)?
It is a system for organizing knowledge.  Dewey numbers are expressed in Arabic numerals, and are organized under ten main fields of study (also known as ‘disciplines’).
How is the Dewey Decimal Classification system organized?
There are ten main areas:
000         Computer science, information and general knowledge
100         Philosophy and psychology
200         Religion
300         Social and political sciences, and economics
400         Language and languages
500         Science and mathematics
600         Technology and applied sciences
700         Arts, sports and recreation
800         Literature
900         Geography, history and travel
Why can a topic appear in more than one Dewey area?
The cataloguing of an item depends on which area of knowledge is considered most important.  For example, one book on “clothing” could emphasize clothing customs (391); another book could be about learning to sew clothing at home (646.2), while a third book might focus on fashion design (746.92). Each book is catalogued according to the class of knowledge that best describes the book.
Why do Dewey numbers change?
Dewey numbers change in order to keep pace with advances in knowledge, and to include new fields of study.  Major changes are made every few years when a new edition of the Dewey Decimal System is released.  Smaller changes are integrated into regular updates made to the online version of Dewey.  For example, the new edition of Dewey has new numbers for “smart phones”, “West Nile fever” and “bullying”, all areas of knowledge where new developments have emerged in recent years.
Why can’t the ORL keep using old numbers so we don’t have books on the same topic in two different places on our shelves?
The Dewey Decimal Classification system (DDC) is used in over 138 countries to create cataloguing records for all types of materials in all subject areas.  Our library uses the most up-to-date cataloguing information possible in order to keep our library collection current.  We also add cataloguing records from other sources which also use the latest information.  We do not, unfortunately, have the staff resources to call in older books every time a Dewey number is changed.     If we did this, we would not have enough staff time to catalogue all the new materials that arrive at HQ each day.
·         Hand-held computing devices, cloud computing, and multimedia software
·         Self-help groups, homeless persons, elder abuse, and bullying
·         Qi gong, taekwondo, ringette, and water polo
·         Mathematics, portable buildings, and solar energy in architecture  
·         Developmental psychology, Orthodox churches, Islam
·         Criminal offenses, political ideologies and parties, European Union
·         Education, secret societies, medicine
·         Landscape architecture, graphic arts, and cinematography

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Joys of "Holds"

Thanks to a customer for sending this short story:

It was the Friday morning before the long weekend, and I got an email from the ORL informing me that I had holds to pick up: one feature film, five music CDs, and a novel. My entertainment for the weekend was set, all at one stop and all for free!

Using the holds system is truly one of the joys of the library. I can browse the catalogue looking up titles, authors, and musicians that I like, and with a mouse-click I can request these items be brought to a branch near me. Amazing! Some items don't have waitlists and some require a little (or a lot!) of patience, but eventually they all find their way to me. And when I get that email that my holds are in, it's always like discovering a little treasure.

If I'm going away, or concerned about too many things coming to me at once, I use the "suspend" option. By clicking "Suspend my holds until..." and entering a future date, I hold my place in the queue for that item until I'm ready for it. Brilliant!

Thank you, ORL!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

75 Years of ORL Favourite Books

As part of our 75th anniversary celebrations, we challenged ORL librarians to create a list of favourite books from the past 75 years. Selections didn’t necessarily have to be the bestsellers of the year, or the biggest award-winners (though they may be a combination of these things), and they had to have left an indelible mark on society in the year they were published. These are great books to read, both fiction and non-fiction, with a healthy dose of Canadian content.

All of these recommendations are in the ORL catalogue, and it is interesting to note how many of them have been made into movies…many of which you can borrow from our feature film collection as well! Some are also available through BC Library to Go in eBook or AudioBook format – just check BC Library to Go 

1936 – Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
1937 – The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien
1938 – Rebecca, Daphne Du Maurier
1939 – The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
1940 – The Last Tycoon, F. Scott Fitzgerald
1941 – For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway
1942 – Book of Small, Emily Carr
1943 – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith
1944 – The Razor’s Edge, Somerset Maugham
1945 – Forever Amber, Kathleen Winsor
1946 – All the King’s Men, Robert Penn Warner
1947 – Under the Volcano, Malcolm Lowry
1948 – Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
1949 – Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller
1950 – Kon-Tiki, Thor Heyerdahl
1951 – Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger
1952 – People of the Deer, Farley Mowat
1953 – Casino Royale, Ian Fleming
1954 – Lord of the Flies, William Golding
1955 – Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
1956 – Peyton Place, Grace Metalious
1957 – Justine, Lawrence Durrell
1958 – Dr. Zhivago, Boris Pasternak
1959 – Watch that Ends the Night, Hugh MacLennan
1960 – Luck of Ginger Coffey, Brian Moore
1961 – Catch-22, Joseph Heller
1962 – The Golden Notebook, Doris May Lessing
1963 – The Collector, John Fowles
1964 – The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, John LeCarre
1965 – The Source, James Michener
1966 – The Fixer, Bernard Malamud
1967 – The Outsiders, S. E. Hinton
1968 – 2001: A Space Odyssey, Arthur C. Clarke
1969 – Portnoy’s Complaint, Philip Roth
1970 – Love Story, Erich Segal
1971 – The Exorcist, William Peter Blatty
1972 – Day of the Jackal, Frederick Forsyth
1973 – Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach
1974 – The Diviners, Margaret Laurence
1975 – Ragtime, E. L. Doctorow
1976 – Lady Oracle, Margaret Atwood
1977 – The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCullough
1978 – The World According to Garp, John Irving
1979 – Sophie’s Choice, William Stryon
1980 – The Bourne Identity, Robert Ludlum
1981 – The Rebel Angels, Robertson Davies
1982 – Monsignor Quixote, Graham Greene
1983 – Shame, Salman Rushdie
1984 – The Talisman, Stephen King and Peter Straub
1985 – Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card
1986 – The Prince of Tides, Pat Conroy
1987 – Beloved, Tony Morrison
1988 – A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking
1989 – The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie
1990 – Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton
1991 – Outlander, Diana Gabaldon
1992 – Every Living Thing, James Herriot
1993 – The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
1994 – Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt
1995 – The Golden Compass, Phillip Pullman
1996 – The Cure for Death by Lightning, Gail Anderson-Dargatz
1997 – Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier
1998 – The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
1999 – Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier
2000 – The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood
2001 – The Life of Pi, Yann Martel
2002 - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Mark Haddon
2003 – The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
2004 – The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
2005  - Saturday, Ian McEwan
2006  - Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
2007 – The Book of Negroes, Lawrence Hill (also published as: Someone Knows my Name)
2008 - Through Black Spruce,  Joseph Boyden
2009 – Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel
2010 – Room: a novel, Emma Donaghue            

This booklist is also available in our branches in a hardcopy format for you to keep and read your way through, as well as a booklist especially designed for young readers with 75 favourite children’s stories. Let us know what you think of the selections or other recommendations you have. Happy reading!

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Writer's Memories of the Library...

Thanks to Okanagan author Daryl Sedore for his guest blog, where he recalls the influence of libraries in his childhood and perhaps his choice of career as a writer.

Daryl has penned several novels, and interestingly has found using the pseudonym "Jonas Saul" has increased the e-sales of his thrillers ten-fold - check out his blog at to find out more. The ORL is working on getting some of his work in our collection.

Libraries have been in my life since I can remember. Sitting in the corner, book in hand, reading The Hardy Boys and losing myself as the characters weaved through their personal journeys. I can still remember the various layouts of the libraries of my youth. I still recall their smell, the feel of the books, the helpful attendants.
Maybe that has more to do with who I became than I previously thought. Perhaps these libraries inspired me. Today, with ten books written and published of my own and three more due out within the next two years, I wonder how much the rows of books moved me on the inside.
I do know one thing: libraries have given me great joy and for what it’s worth, that alone inspired me to join their ranks. To walk the aisles, glance along the spines and dream of what’s behind the covers. I discovered so many new authors, new journeys and new ideals within the confines of not just the hard covers of books, but also within the walls of my favorite library.
To enjoy seventy-five years of lending books, reading and educating their patrons with the power of knowledge is such an honour. The Okanagan Regional Library should stand tall and be proud as they are still an active member of our society, constantly changing and adapting to not just stay relevant but also to stay ahead of the reading experience as this generation advances into a stronger e-book base.
Great people, easy to get to locations and fabulous events keep the Okanagan Regional Library a wonderful place to visit. I implore you to come out and be a part of library history as they celebrate, “75 Years of Stories at the ORL”.
What a place. What a story. What a dream. What magic. What will you find?
Maybe a memory of your own…

Monday, March 28, 2011

Checking out a Legacy

One of my earliest memories is waiting for the bookmobile to roll into town.
I’m not sure how often the library on wheels stopped in Westbank but my mom, my brother and I regularly stood in the Anglican Church parking lot to wait our turn to climb aboard the van and search for something to read.
We didn’t go into Kelowna that often, especially not during the day when dad was at work with the family car, so the bookmobile was an outlet to the outside world.
In 1974, Okanagan Regional Library opened a branch with four walls, a roof and far more books than could ever be stuffed inside a van.
I still remember being handed my very own library card (it was paper in those days) and the number printed on it — 130.
That branch and its subsequent location as the community grew, became a second home for me. I would spend hours discovering what was new on the shelves.
It’s a good thing my house was only a few minutes away because riding a bicycle was challenging with a stack of books taller than my head. During the Summer Reading Club, a competitive streak was revealed and the goal was to leave the other kids in the dust and win a prize.
Eventually, both my mom and I learned how to drive, and that provided access to treasures in the much larger Kelowna branch.
Fresh out of journalism school, I moved to Vernon in April 1990 and after finding a place to rent in the BX and setting up a bank account, the next stop likely was the library.
One of my greatest joys as a father is when my daughters ask me to take them to the library. It brings back all of the good feelings I had as a kid, and it’s a common bond that we share. My youngest and I spent night after night with Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH while it’s not uncommon, even now, for my oldest and I to giggle over the antics of Asterix the Gaul.
But not all of the magic is found between two covers.
Many summers for my girls were filled with activities at the library. Bead jewelry proved challenging for tiny fingers, but librarian Monica encouraged them to try. There were drawings and stories, and who can forget the puppet shows put on by librarian Judy.
My interest in libraries evolved into an obsession when I learned about Carol Williams touring all of ORL’s 29 branches as board chairperson. It was such an intriguing idea that I decided to hit the road.
Over the years, family get-aways have been shaped around my quest. A romantic weekend had my wife and I in the Oliver branch, while a spring break excursion with the kids found us in Oliver and Kaleden, where the big hit was the librarian’s dog. Camping in the Shuswap was interrupted by book hunts in Sorrento and Scotch Creek, and coming back the long way through Sicamous.
One day, my oldest and I didn’t have anything pressing to do, so we hopped in the truck and headed out to Cherryville. A week off found me in Falkland and Silver Creek.
Of the 29, there are only four left — Golden, Keremeos, Hedley and Princeton. They are at the far-flung reaches of the ORL territory but I am already looking at ways to get there.
They may not have considered their actions  significant, but ORL’s founders in 1936 were true visionaries.
The Depression had made dollars tight and even the largest Okanagan cities were small and rural, but these politicians understood the desire of residents to embrace words and ideas. It’s a legacy that has inspired countless generations and for that, we should be eternally grateful.

Sincere thanks to Richard Rolke, a senior reporter with the Morning Star newspaper in Vernon, for this guest blog post. It was originally published in the Vernon Morning Star on March 23, 2011.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It's a cake walk!

For the first time in its 75-year history, all 29 branches of the ORL were open at the same time to host Open House celebrations honouring this important anniversary. Branches had historical displays, special guests, readings by authors, children's storytimes, commemorative booklists, and many other activities for the public to enjoy.

But by far the most popular item at branches were the cakes! Eager children sat patiently through dignitary's speeches waiting for the big cake-cutting at many locations, set to demolish the hard work of bakeries throughout the ORL region. Some bakeries had high-tech capabilities to put a screening of the 75th anniversary logo on the frosting, while others used traditional icing tubes to design a greeting. Here is a sweet sampling of designs....a cake walk through the ORL region!

Traditional roses in Peachland.

A lovely caption in Oliver.

"Happy Birthday Orl" in Kelowna.

Creative mistake-corrections with sprinkles in Westbank!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Why the tape books are important in my life..."

Many people enjoy reading. So what happens when a person who loves reading loses their sight? The ORL administers a special program lending audio materials to eligible visually impaired and homebound customers. Each registered user gets a weekly one-on-one consultation with a reference assistant to help them choose materials of interest, and taped books are mailed postage-free to wherever the customer lives in the ORL region.

Here is a heart-warming letter from one taped book customer championing this service:

Why the tape books are important in my life:

I was a librarian, an English high school teacher and read constantly before becoming seriously severely visually impaired. I can now see only to get around, am over 90 years old and not able to get about very well. There is very little to do to keep me occupied.

The talking tapes are an integral part of my life. The service is essential to me. The assistance I get from the reference assistant Suzanne Mitchell at the library ensures that I can obtain the best of the literature which is compatible to my taste in good reading. She also lightens up my week with her common sense and friendliness.

I read and use these tapes every day, all day long. If I was unable to access these services my life would be an unendurable endless nothing.

- Henry Hildebrand (written for Henry by his wife)

To learn more about this program, visit your local branch and ask for a Taped Book program form.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Year in Numbers

When most people think of libraries, they naturally think of books and words. But the ORL’s recently released 2010 Executive Summary contains some pretty significant numbers - staggering numbers when you think about it.
For example, there were 444,400 reference questions answered in 2010. That’s more than 1,200 a day, or 42 per branch per day! Given that few of our branches are open 7 days a week, you can see how busy an ORL staff member’s day can be answering questions – everything from what book to recommend to “what’s a reliable Internet source for travel information?” to “What year was Hedley established?”. Our reference librarians love to be challenged!
Computer terminals at our 29 branches were used a total of 157,490 times for an average of 27 minutes each time. That equals 2,953 days or over 8 years worth of constant computer use spread throughout the 114 terminals in our system!
Other astonishing figures during the 2010 year:
-          The ORL circulated a total of 3,354,326 items
-          ORL customers placed a total of 828,967 holds on items
-          89,125 people attended ORL programs
-          123,014 new volumes were added to the catalogue
-          The ORL website had 1.36 million hits
These figures are all increases over 2009 numbers. So when we hear the question “does anyone use the library anymore?”, you can understand why we smile. The proof is in the numbers.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Are books becoming extinct?

With the ever-increasing hype about eBooks and the digitization of information, this is a question being asked at the library quite frequently these days.
First, a bit of historical perspective: what we currently know today as a book (pages of paper bound at one side with a cover) was first created in the first century AD as a replacement for parchment scrolls. Books became the most common way to record and transfer information around the globe about 500 years ago .
So after centuries of use, are they now going the way of the dinosaur? It’s hard to argue that the rise of eBooks has been only 32 months, eBooks went from being introduced on to leap-frogging over the total sales of physical books at the Internet-based mega-retailer. The New York Times now includes eBook bestsellers lists in addition to its long-standing categories for fiction, non-fiction, hardcover and trade paperbacks. This said, it puts things into perspective when you realize eBooks only account for 10% of all publishing activity.
Some people tend to be either very pro-physical book/anti-technology, or vice versa. The ironic thing is that they often use the same arguments to espouse the benefits of their chosen reading platform. “A real book is easy to carry and light”, some claim (unless they’re reading War and Peace, or the Outlander series by Diane Galbaldon). As eReaders get smaller and lighter, the tech-savvy are making the same claim and adding that their gadgets can hold up to 100 Tolstoy-esque novels. “And they’re better for the environment than all that pulp and paper”, say the eReader group. Yet publishing companies are more often using recycled materials and less toxic inks in their printing processes, while the cumulative effects of e-waste are not fully known.
These arguments really are moot though, because the essence of the matter is that books – in whatever format – are conveyors of stories, and stories will never become extinct. Storytelling is one of the traits that defines humanity, and stories have been around since people were sitting around fires in caves and recording their imaginings on stone walls.
However, amid the blaze of this debate about the future of books are two often-overlooked issues that do warrant attention. The first is about how information is SHARED. Real books can easily be lent and borrowed. This is the whole premise behind libraries - they are not warehouses for reams of paper, but an efficient way for populations to share resources amongst each other. One book can be read by thousands of eyes until it is literally falling apart. This is not the case with eBooks. Publishers have control over the digital rights management (or DSM) of their materials and one purchase of an eBook equals one license – one download to one individual’s device. You can’t send it to a friend’s computer when you’re done reading it. This business model is great for company profits, but difficult for libraries.
The second issue is how information is SAVED. There is a reason ancient philosophers, historians and theologians recorded their information on parchment and paper: it lasts. Save fire and water damage, ink on paper can be legible a thousand years after it was written. We don’t know about electronic data. Will we still have means to retrieve it years from now? Could someone edit it, or just wipe it out completely, with the push of a button?
Bottom line: stories will be with us forever in various formats - whether you read it on paper or a screen, or listen to it from your iPod, or feel it through Braille. But the ways in which information is shared and saved, and who has control over this in our digital world, is worthy of debate.

Monday, February 21, 2011

How little, and how much, has changed!

In preparing for the ORL's 75th celebrations, library staff from around the region have been sharing photos, news clippings and memorabilia from yesteryear. These unearthered treasures are fascinating, and in cases, just as pertinent now as they were before. This is a Letter to the Editor of the Summerland Review newspaper printed on Thursday, September 5, 1946, reprinted verbatim minus the signature:

Editor, The Review:

I think that some of our new residents may not know of the value of the public library here. With longer evenings approaching, they could have such pleasure if, on their Saturday shopping tour, they called in at the Union library on the high school grounds and took home an armful of books for their familys enjoyment through the week-end.

The children's books are especially delightful and there are many that could not be afforded by the average family. All that has to be done is to ask the librarian to make out a card for each member.

In addition to books right now in our branch, we have the right to request the use of any book in the whole Union library which covers many towns in the Okanagan, and in this way we gain access to more than twenty thousand books. As well as novels and books of adventure, there is a travel and biography section; also books on handicrafts and drawing, etc, on gardening and the drama.

So, Summerlanders, do use and enjoy your public library this winter. It is one of our community's best assets.

All still very true - except now the ORL has 750,000 books, movies, magazines and more!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How our Friends keep us Green (and in the green!)

“...get by with a little help from our Friends”
While the ORL has almost 1,300 “friends” on Facebook, did you know we also have volunteer Friends of the Library? Friends of the Library, or FoL for short, are community-based groups of people who love their library and support it by being ambassadors and raising funds for programming and equipment needs at their branches.
The ORL has 15 FoL groups associated with the following branches: Armstrong, Enderby, Kelowna (which supports the downtown Kelowna, Mission and Rutland branches), Keremeos, Lumby, Naramata, Okanagan Falls, Oliver, Osoyoos, Peachland, Salmon Arm, Summerland, South Shuswap, Vernon, and Westbank. These groups have collectively raised thousands of dollars which go back into the system for wonderful additions that the ORL cannot fund through operations – everything from wall murals in the children’s areas to special microfilm reader/printers used for research to bringing in public speakers – and much more.
So what does this have to do with “green”? The primary way FoL’s raise funds is through book sales. Each year, the ORL withdraws thousands of resources from the collection (126,727 books, CDs, DVDs, etc in 2010 to be exact!). You can liken it to Blockbusters...when a new release comes out, they have to stock many copies, but as the movie’s popularity wanes, they can sell off the extras and only maintain enough for current demand. This way our collection is always fresh and up-to-date while keeping the right “oldies but goodies”.
These withdrawn resources go to FoL groups to sell at great discounts to the public. Then, a person can buy a book for a quarter or a dollar, read it, and donate it back to the FoL group (if it’s still in good condition) and it can be recycled again. Think of the many times each resource can be used vs each individual buying their own copies! This system saves each person huge dollars, saves the planet vast amounts of paper, and contributes back to the library.
So, our ORL Friends keep the library and our communities green (environmentally), while helping the ORL and saving everyone a lot of green (money). If you love your library and want to contribute, joining or starting a FoL is a fabulous volunteer opportunity. For more information on ORL Friends groups or about donating resources, visit .
A shout-out to the Westbank Friends of the Library who are celebrating their 10th anniversary as a group tonight!!! Thanks to you and all the amazing Friends who make such a difference at the ORL!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Career at the ORL...

The ORL is blessed with an amazing team of staff, many of whom have been with the organization for decades. Here, a veteran community librarian - Carol Stratton from Falkland - shares her reflections on over 28 years with the ORL...

My career with the ORL began in May 1982 as an on-call staff member at the Falkland Branch, and I later joined the Vernon Branch part-time in Children’s Services and Circulation. Thanks to an accommodating schedule I was able to work at both locations until 1987 when I became a full-time staff member in Children’s Services in Vernon. At that time the branch was sharing space with the Vernon Museum in, shall we say, cramped quarters.

We all survived the physical move into the new Vernon Branch in June 1989, where it is currently located. A few years later came automation – switching from a card-based system for cataloguing and tracking the ORL’s collection to a computer-based system. What a learning curve!

I have many great memories of reading stories to children and doing puppet shows with Maureen, Jan, and Tom, and promoting Summer Reading Clubs every year. It was fun to wear special book-based character costumes for special events at the library and in school, such as Penelope Puffin, Wormsworth, Peter Rabbit and Little Bear - lovely to wear when the weather was cool but dreadfully hot in the summer!

In 1997, I moved on into full-time reference work at the Information Desk and enjoyed serving the public immensely. I never heard a stupid question, as I believe that if you need to know something it is your right to have the answer in a professional and timely manner.

Having driven back and forth to Vernon from my home in Falkland for more than 18 years, I was ready for a change when the Falkland Community Librarian position was posted in late 2001.  So, the recycled Community Librarian returned to part-time work in February 2002 back in Falkland where it all began!

My retirement this past October has begun a new chapter in my life - 
one that no longer involves the day-to-day with the ORL although I still go to library often. How could I live without books?

Thank you, Carol - you've been a great asset to the ORL these many years and all the best for a happy, fulfilling retirement.

Monday, February 7, 2011

What will the ORL look like in 2086?

In March 1936, the Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia signed a proclamation that created what was then known as the “Okanagan Union Library District”. 75 years later the ORL is celebrating its continued service to communities in the BC Southern Interior.
However, this doesn't mean we can rest on our laurels. As an institution, libraries are continually evolving to remain relevant to the public, especially in the past few decades with the explosion of technology and the Internet and the ORL is no exception. From adding a feature films collection to introducing wireless Internet access at all 29 branches, the ORL wants to ensure it is meeting the information and entertainment needs in its communities. And with that in mind, the ORL did a research survey last fall as a first step in its strategic planning process.
Some of the results are eye-opening. 74% of households in the ORL region reported they use the public library, with 45% of them reporting they have more than one cardholder in their home. More than a third of respondents visit their local branch at least once a week. Of those who don't use the library, 78% of them said it "just never occurs to them" to do so!
When it comes to technology, the ORL is a lifeline to the worldwide web for many people. A vast majority can access the Internet at home or work, but 19% of users rely on their local branch to use the Internet. Almost half of all respondents say they use digital media, such as downloadable music and eBooks, however, they also reported they still prefer traditional forms of media - the physical book, the physical CD, the actual paper magazine. And when someone is looking for information or an answer to a question, the Internet is cited as the first place people look. But the library is a solid #2, before even asking another person. 
Given this information, it seems patterns of library use are evolving from traditional physical resources to digital online resources, but both are important to users.  Is the library a physical place you visit to get materials and enjoy the space, or is the library an online tool to find your digital resources? Or is it both? As we celebrate our history at ORL, we are also keenly looking towards the future and what our system will look like over the next 75 years.