Monday, 8 September 2014

Back to it!

School. Here we go again! Hard to believe that summer holiday has ended and school is already back in session. For some, this is the very first time to go to school. Even heading out to preschool for the first time can be daunting to a young child (and their parents, too!). We've got books that can help with this transition-- it is sometimes comforting to see your situation in a picture book, and learn that it all comes out fine in the end. Click HERE to see the booklist and place holds for those that you'd like to share with your child. And when your child gets home from school, this blog post has some great tips for talking about their day. This Pinterest board from Scholastic has so many good links to explore as you and your child settle back into the school year.

When buying school supplies, don't forget one of the best FREE things you can get for your child-- a library card! Book reports? We've got books, and plenty of them! Is your child just learning to read? We've got Little Reader Bags that you can bring home for extra practise. We also have them in French. Do you have a child who isn't terribly fond of reading? How about trying an audiobook? We have them on CD as well as downloads. Your local library has plenty to support your child's education. If you can't find what you need, just ask us!

For your older child, start the year off right with no homework woes. We offer FREE online tutors from every day from 3 PM- midnight. Can't figure out that math problem? Physics not making sense? Have an essay that needs a bit of sprucing up? The online tutors at can help! You'll need your library card and access to the Internet, and you are on your way to getting that homework done!

All of our branches offer free WiFi and access to computers. We have programs for after school, such as LEGO and crafts. We've got storytimes for your child who is not yet in school (storytime is a great way to get your child ready for school). We offer databases with access to magazine articles, health information, statistics, and author information. We have teen programs, too!

We hope to see you this fall and are happy to help with your schooling needs, as well as providing reading materials just for fun! Come visit your local library. We'll be here.

Monday, 1 September 2014

What do you know about Labour Day?

Most of us only think “long weekend” when we hear the words Labour Day,  but have you ever wondered how it came about?  This holiday that we are all so accustomed to having was the result of many years of struggle. 

In the year 1869 in an age of rapid industrial expansion and growth a small movement began in Hamilton, Ontario.  Referred to as the 9 hour movement ( to protest the 12 hour work day ) it grew in size until in March 1872 the Toronto Typographical Union  went on strike over hours of work.  

Unlike Britain which had abolished laws criminalising union activity, Canada still had these laws on the books and employers pressed police to act, arresting 24 leaders of the Typographical Union.  Sir John A. MacDonald made a swift move to gain public support and only 4 short months later the Trade Union Act was passed.  Although there were still many, many restrictions it paved the way for unions to legally represent the worker.

In December 1872 a parade was staged in support of the Toronto Typographical Union's strike for a 58-hour work-week. The Toronto Trades Assembly (TTA) called its 27 unions to demonstrate in support of the Typographical Union who had been on strike since March 25.  These marches in support of the 9 hour workday gained support and grew in size and popularity every year.  

After attending one of these labour festivals in Toronto, U.S. labour leader Peter J. McGuire went back to New York and established the first U.S. Labor Day on September 5, 1882. In June 1894 Canadian Prime Minister John Thompson made Labour Day an official holiday to be celebrated in September.

Change did not come quickly or easily and many people lost their jobs in the process, but as a result of that small movement 145 years ago the majority of workers today have access to union or to other labour representation for their concerns.  

Ready for some fun? Take the Labour Day quiz

--Patricia Milner, Head of Reference Services

Monday, 25 August 2014

Wrapping up the STREAM

Summer is drawing to a close. Already, I’ve seen a few red leaves on the trees. Here at the library, we’ve had a very busy summer with our STREAM Reading program. This year, 2761 kids and teens participated – that’s up from 2667 last year. And for those who love numbers, just a little aside—in 2009 (only 5 years ago), we had 2252 signed up. That’s a 22% increase! So, yes, if you walked into your local library this summer and found it busy, there’s a reason why. We had over 700 kids and teens participating in our Kentville branch alone! You might have seen little fishes taped to walls, or stones outside in a pathway: these all represented the readers in our libraries. 

We changed our program this summer to incorporate more learning activities, and it has been met with positive feedback from many of you.  We offered programs to play math games, did science experiments, created collages and glitter pictures, made crafts with old t-shirts, danced with our preschoolers, saw some reptiles, watched chemical reactions, raced toothbrush robots, created movies with LEGO, read lots of stories, and listened to great music. Many of our programs this summer were made possible because we received the CFUW Library Award! This award allowed us to offer great programs all over the valley.

Our partners made the Summer STREAM even better. Upper Clements Parks has been a long-time partner for our summer program, offering a FREE Fast Pass for those who complete the program. Many of our families take advantage of this and visit the park each year. This partnership has been invaluable to the program and we are truly thankful to Upper Clements Parks for this great opportunity. Part of our partnership includes Word in the Park, two days near the end of the program when we have activities at the park. This year we had a StoryWalk challenge and gave away free books, and Clifford the big Red Dog came for a visit.  This year we also added two Library Days at the Zoo in partnership with Oaklawn Farm Zoo. Once in July and once in August, everyone 18 and under got in free by showing their library card. We also did activities during the day and took our bookmobile out to the zoo. Thank you, thank you, thank you to our partners! 

Another activity that we loved was Finny the Fish. We asked you to print, color, and photograph our little fish. Finny went all over the world this summer! You can see Finny’s travels here.  As a bonus, everyone that sent a picture was entered to win a One-year Family Pass to Nova Scotia Museums. 

We had lots of fun this summer, and we hope you did too. We’ll do it all again next year, and we look forward to playing and learning with you in Summer 2015. We'd love to hear your thoughts on the program, so tell us in the comments below!

--Angela J. Reynolds, Head of Youth Services

Monday, 18 August 2014

Library Recommended Apps

Are you wondering what kinds of apps would be beneficial to download onto your tablet, with either Android or Apple operating systems?  We have some suggestions for you of FREE apps.  Remember, FREE apps may have some advertising included.  Some of these may already be on your device.  They can all be found either at the Google Play Store or through iTunes.

OverDrive Media Console

Read eBooks or listen to audiobooks from us for up to three weeks, FREE with this app. No late fees, titles will automatically be returned.  Place holds and create a wish list.  We have over 7,500 titles to choose from. To Go To Go™ is the mobile companion for, and the only education app that connects you to an expert tutor for real-time help. Sign up for a free account with your library card.

TuneIn Radio

TuneIn is real radio. Discover, follow and listen to what’s most important to you from the world’s largest collection of sports, news, music and talk stations. TuneIn has over 100,000 real radio stations and more than four million podcasts from all over the world, all for free.  There is a feature that searches for local stations where ever you are.


The app is really easy to use.  It allows you to quickly post pictures and share with others.  It also gives you alerts when there is a message for you.  It does take up a lot of space though, so consider that before loading.


This is your personal magazine.  Catch up on the news, read stories from around the world and browse videos, photos and articles that friends are sharing.  Add blogs and publications like The New York Times, PEOPLE magazine and many more.

Google Docs

Create, edit and collaborate with others on documents from your phone or tablet.  You can open, edit and save Microsoft Word documents.  Never worry about losing your work, everything is automatically saved as you type.

Microsoft Office Mobile 

This is the official Office companion optimized for your mobile device. You can access, view and edit your Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint documents.


If you use this amazing tool of visual bookmarks, you will love the app.  It makes pinning and sharing so much easier.  By creating an account with Pinterest, you will discover ideas for all of your DYI projects and interests.  Find amazing recipes, exercise workouts, knitting patterns, DYI projects of all kinds and much more.  


If you like music, you’ll love this.  You can browse thousands of playlists by activity, genre, decade and mood.  Free, with no listening limits.  Some examples under playlists for activities are Breaking Up, Sitting on the Back Porch, Skateboarding, Pool Party and many more.

Weather Network

Have all of your weather information and forecast details at your fingertips whenever you want it.  There is a setting that automatically detects the forecast for your location wherever in North America you might be.  This app includes weather alert banners that can be clicked on for detailed information.


Quick and easy access to YouTube videos that are personalized “what to watch” recommendations based on your preferences.  Play a never-ending mix of your favourite music videos.


Browse the Internet fast on your phone or tablet with the Google Chrome browser you love on your desktop. Pick up where you left off on your other devices with tab sync, and search by voice.

Charlotte Janes

Head of Systems and Administration

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Straw bale update!

We've been waiting for  some updates from Patricia's Straw Bale Garden experiment (remember this post from April?) Here's what she has to say:

"I have had to improvise a sort of trellis ( I used wild sunflower stalks ) crisscrossing the tops of the bales to hold up branches.  Plants got much bigger than I expected."  Take a look at these tomato plants! You can barely even see the bale.

Monday, 11 August 2014

One Book Nova Scotia

It’s time for the third annual One Book Nova Scotia unity reading event!  This is when adults in Nova Scotia are encouraged to read the same book, kind of like a giant book club.

This year’s book is Roost by Ali Bryan and it is a funny, lighter read than the two previous selections.  Set in Halifax and written by a Nova Scotian, Roost offers a comical and poignant look at single parenting, aging parents, and sibling rivalry.

We’ve listened to participant feedback and this year we are revealing the title a little earlier than usual, so people can read it in the summer or fall, whichever is more convenient for them.   The library has plenty of copies of Roost as well as a Book Club in a Bag kit with eight copies and discussion questions.  

Ali Bryan will be featured on the Main Stage at The Word on the Street Book Festival in Halifax on Sunday, September 21, and then embark on a reading tour with six stops across the province thanks to funding from the Canada Council for the Arts.   

The Valley reading will be on Monday, September 22 at 7:00 p.m. at the NSCC Kingstec Campus Library in Kentville.  Admission is free.   

For more information on One Book Nova Scotia check out  or follow us on Facebook  or Twitter @1BookNS. 

--Frances Newman, CEO