What are libraries all about? The answer will make you think


Green screens, gadgets, take-home wifi hotspots, seeds, help with your iPad, and DVDs. Did you know that you can find them all, and more, at Huntsville Public Library? And with the maker movement continuing to gain speed, soon there will even be maker kits for kids to take home.

A visit to the library during Ontario Public Library Week (October 16-22, 2017) – or any other time, really – will get you thinking and maybe asking some questions, too.

I think people assume that the library is mostly just books. It’s not and we invite people to stop in and learn about what we actually do.
Deb Duce, Huntsville Public Library’s CEO and Chief Librarian

“Books are still big, but so are our computer stations. Our Tech Help Desk is one of the most popular services – people can get help from our eLibrarian with their devices.”

The role of libraries has been shifting in recent years, becoming community hubs, lenders of much more than just books, and sources of reliable information in a world – particularly online – full of misinformation.

“What you see online isn’t necessarily correct,” says Duce. “We’ve trained our staff so that they can determine if the source is accurate and reputable when they are helping people.”

For those who need to access the Internet for research, to download forms and complete applications, for homework, or just for fun, the library’s bank of computers is free for use. Those with a slow Internet connection at home can check out a wifi hotspot to boost their online surfing speed.

The library offers a wide variety of programs for everyone from young children to adults, both in the library and in the community, too. The Whimsical Cookbook Club at Whimsical Bakery, for example, filled up the first morning that registration opened. Other programs have proven equally popular.

A new one-day event this fall – the How To in 10 Festival – will allow people to share or learn a skill in less than 10 minutes. “People can sign up to share what they do – maybe how to knit, how to create a form, how to braid your hair, or how to tie a tie,” says Duce. And then on Saturday, October 21 at The Annex, people can pop in and learn those skills in less than 10 minutes.

Back this year during Ontario Public Library Week is the Youth Tech Extravaganza. On Tuesday, October 17 from 6-8 p.m. there will be green screens, devices and gadgets for kids of all ages and parents to explore, and the Hoyas Robotics team will be there with their robot.

Other events and initiatives you’ll find at the library during Ontario Public Library Week include storytime with Mayor Scott Aitchison on Thursday, October 19, the Scruffy Card Contest (the holder of the scruffiest library card wins a prize!), and Food for Fines which credits overdue library accounts one dollar for each non-perishable food item brought in for The Table Food Bank.

So what are you waiting for? Head to the library – online or in person – and get thinking!

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