Monday, 30 November 2015

On the 12th Days of Cookies my true love gave to me... MORE COOKIES!!

 It’s that time of year once again.  Along with The Grinch, Frosty, and Santa, comes  the always popular 12 Days of Cookies.  Never mind  stringing popcorn or hanging out those festive lights. Help celebrate our award winning cookie extravaganza.

 Our staff and patrons are busy making cookies for the holiday season and for you! We will feature cookies on our blog for 12 days from December 7th to the 22nd  (Monday-Friday). You can see the photos of our cookies, get new recipes, and maybe find a new favourite to add to your baking repertoire.

We invite you to join in-- we'll even award a gift card to one of our lucky patron bakers. We've loved your photos from years past, so we can't wait to see what you create this year. Here’s how you can join the cookie fun!  We've sent extra cookbooks out to all or our branches, so find one at your local library.
The  cookie recipes will be posted here and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram beginning December 7.
Stay tuned each day to see which branch will be sharing their cookies and pop in for a treat.

Let the baking begin! 

Monday, 23 November 2015

Excitement builds for new libraries

Port Williams BRIGHT
While we are waiting to move from Port Williams "lite' to Port Williams "bright", we thought you'd like to get a little sneak peek at what this space will look like. For those of you who know the Port Williams branch, we think you'll be thrilled with the updates! It is going to be fabulous. Just take a look at those colours! And the space is changing so you'll be really happy with how the branch looks once we get back in there. It is taking a bit longer than we expected, but it will be worth the wait.

Meanwhile, there's news for two other branches! In Berwick, there's movement on the new building project. The contractor has been chosen for the new Berwick Library, Town Hall, and AVRL Headquarters. Projected date for this project to be finished is March 2017. There's a newly formed Friends of the Berwick & Area Library, and they are meeting this week on Wednesday, November 25. Community input is needed-- be a volunteer, help fundraise, or help with events. If you'd like to make a contribution to the new library in Berwick, you can do so RIGHT HERE via Canada Helps.
Fresh paint on the shelves in Port Williams

Our other big news comes from Kentville. Last week the Municipality of the County of Kings announced that it will contribute 50% of the costs for the new library in Kentville. The current library location must be vacated as construction of a nearby bridge is to take place in 2016. The partnership between the town of Kentville and the County of Kings will make it possible for the new library in Kentville to be larger and more modern. There are currently two locations that are being considered; we hope to know by the end of December where the new library will live. Because we want to know what the community sees for their new library, we will be holding some public consultations in January. Stay tuned for details! In the meantime, if you'd like to donate to the new Kentville library, you can do so RIGHT HERE by choosing Kentville in the drop-down menu.

Monday, 16 November 2015

ZINIO is here! Digital Magazines Have Arrived

Simply use your library card to create an account that will give you instant access to popular magazine titles.  Check them out and read them instantly on your computer.  On the move?  Download the app so you can read offline on your tablet or phone.   Once your account is created you can access Zinio from anywhere. 

 Look for the checkbox to sign up for an alert to be sent to you when the next issue is available.  No more trying to be first at the library for the newest issue of a magazine.

There is no expiry, you can keep issues as long as you like and there is no limit to how many you can check out at a time.  Plus there is access to a years’ worth of back issues.  Some titles even provide a print option.

Whether you are relaxing at home, waiting in the doctor’s office or on vacation a magazine can always be right there with you.

Click here for a list of titles that your library has subscribed to.  They include Hello! , National Geographic, Family Handyman and the Food Network magazine.   

For more information on how to create an account and use Zinio visit the help page.  

Monday, 9 November 2015

You don’t have to be a kid to colour

Adult colouring. It kind of sounds like an oxymoron, right?  The adult colouring craze has taken off like wildfire. There’s even an adult coloring book publishing trend. With books like “Color your Own van Gogh”, “Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book”, and now even a Dr. Who colouring book, there are grown-up colouring books to appeal to everyone!

Adult colouring is said to relieve stress. It is a way to relax, and to sharpen fine motor skills in older adults. Many adults are gathering regularly to sit, chat, colour, and unwind. Some people like this activity as a way to meet others, and some find it can create a sense of community. One of our staff members says she likes to colour while she’s chatting on the phone. Whatever the reason, colouring is still fun, no matter what your age is.

If you want to try it at home, here are some coloring sheets you can download for free. Currently, at our Berwick, Bridgetown, Hantsport, Kentville, Lawrencetown, and Windsor branches you can find colouring sheets and pencil crayons, just for adults. Windsor even has a Wall of Fame where the left-behind coloured-in sheets go. So, stop in, have a seat, and relax. Just choose a page and start colouring. Everyone is doing it!

Monday, 2 November 2015

Picture Book Month

November is Picture Book Month, an international literacy initiative that celebrates the print picture book during the month of November. On the Picture Book Month website  they state, “In this digital age where people are predicting the coming death of print books, picture books (the print kind) need love. And the world needs picture books. There’s nothing like the physical page turn of a beautifully crafted picture book.”

I can’t agree more. Last year, I served on the Caldecott Committee, which awarded the best picture book published in the United States to The Adventures of Beekle, the Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat.  I spent the year completely immersed in picture books. I read over 500 books—and many of those I read over and over. I looked at the art, how it interpreted the story, how well it was done, how it appealed to a child audience. I spent many hours soaking up the beauty of children’s picture books.  This year I will be watching from the sidelines, making my own predictions and seeing what others think. One great place to visit is the Horn Book blog, Calling Caldecott. Check out their list of books they will be discussing. There are some great choices on that list!

Ask any child—picture books are fun! Even if you are an adult who has no children to share these fantastic works of art with, you can still enjoy picture books. I recommend picture books over on my blog, ValleyStorytime in case you are looking for a few good titles to while away the hours. And if you want to really get immersed in picture books, I have compiled some blogs & sites that celebrate the form on this Pinterest board.

We have a few programs scheduled this month where you can come and look at some of the books that I am loving this year. Picture Book Palooza will be held in Middleton, Annapolis Royal, and Bridgetown. We are also having a contest—take a picture, tag your favourite picture book with #AVRLpicturebook on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, and you’ll be entered to win a bag of picture books! Contest ends November 30.

Tell us your favourite picture book in the comments. Read picture books to kids. Look at the art, share your favourite with others. The picture book is a portable art form that can be shared just about anywhere.  Find some of these wonders in your local library !

--Angela Reynolds, Community Engagement Coordinator

Monday, 26 October 2015

End of Life Discussion

This week we have a guest blogger. Thanks to Phyllis Nixon for writing this, and to Dr. John Ross for  his talk in Bridgetown. 

An interesting presentation of ‘how to talk about death and mortality as a natural function’ took place at the Bridgetown and Area Library on October 18, 2015.  Dr. John Ross, Emergency Medicine Professor at Dalhousie University presided, sharing his views about end-of-life options.  The roomful of inquisitive attendees, asking questions and providing their own outlook, set the tone of the evening’s discussion.

Dr. Ross stated his opinion that death represents the ending of ‘life’s circle’; that death and mortality are natural functions.  He reminded us that hospice and palliative care are available in Nova Scotia to offer dignity and acceptance in death, peace, and easing of pain.  Talking about our death and mortality with our children or friends is good for us and is less injurious than keeping these feelings inside.

Dr. Ross mentioned that ‘Death Cafes’ are becoming more familiar.  These are places where concerned people can meet together and talk about death and dying.  He thinks that these places can be better termed as ‘Sharing Circles’, and they can help us to care for each other and be of assistance to those who need it.

Questions arising from the discussion

DNR – Do Not Resuscitate.  This request should be witnessed by two people.  Make sure you talk to your family or a friend about your death wishes and let these people know where you keep this information as this request is usually carried out in a medical emergency situation.

Power of Attorney.  This document can include a legal acknowledgement of your request to `not resuscitate` and any other end-of life-options agreed upon.

Doctor Assisted Death.  This HIGHLY controversial proposal is expected to become formal legislation in 2016.  A few scenarios were generally discussed, such as:
  • What happens if a doctor refuses a request for assisted death due to religious or ethical objections?
  • What are the requirements for assisted death?
  • Should a person with dementia be eligible to request assisted death?  

As yet, official conditions and restrictions have not yet been laid out and clarified, and the College of Physicians and Surgeons has not put out their attempt at defining or responding to the issues.  

Neuroplasticity.  This term refers to changes in the neural pathway synapses of the brain due to changes in behaviour, the environment, the neural processes of thinking and emotions, as well as changes resulting from body injury.  The concept of neuroplasticity has replaced the formerly held position that the brain is a psychologically static organ, and explores how the brain changes in the course of a lifetime, thereby negating the idea that our brain is static and unchangeable.  Dr. Ross said that the brain continues to grow and our muscle mass maintains itself with exercise, keeping the muscles active as we age, giving us a quality of life for a longer period of time.

Dr. Ross:  `Words of Wisdom`
  • Make sure you discuss your death wishes with your family or friends, and state exactly what you want.  This is very important.
  • Make use of hospice and palliative care in your area.  These offer help to die with dignity, a sense of peace, easing of pain and the acceptance of death as part of the life cycle.
  • Educate yourself and others.  Most people don`t know enough about their own bodies and therefore we should take more responsibility to learn more about our physical self.  Do your own research to increase this knowledge.
  • Get rid of the word elderly`.  Knock off the `ly`at the end of this word and you are left with elder`, a word signifying a collective wisdom which can be shared and engaged by living fully, being productive, and having a sense of purpose.
  • If you were told you had a year left to live, name what you would like to do with that time allotted to you.  Then ask yourself this question: Why not do them now.
  • Recommended reading about the subject of death and dying:  Being Mortal by Atul Gawande.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Epistolary reading

I just finished listening to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows . What a remarkable book to listen to, especially with the full cast of readers portraying the many characters in the story. This book, if you don’t know about it, is told in letters. Set just after World War II in London and the Channel Islands, it gave me a glimpse into post-war England that I had not before experienced in a book – and it also happens to be a book about the power of books.  It made me think about other books written in letters.  I loved those books too!

There’s 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. Also about books, this one is a series of letters between a woman who is looking for out-of-print books, and a London bookseller. It is set between 1949 and 1969, so a bit of that post-war London feel is there. There’s also a great movie version of this book starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins.

Alice Walker’s heartbreaking novel of two sisters is told through letters. If you haven’t read The Color Purple, you are missing out on a literary gem.  This, too was made into a film, starring Whoopie Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey.

Teen love is handled in letters and images in this brilliant book, Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman. In addition to a letter describing why the teen romance ended, Min, the letter-writer, also includes a box of items that symbolize their failed relationship.

For the younger set, you can’t go wrong with Drew Daywalt & Oliver Jeffers’ fun book, The Day the Crayons Quit.  In a series of letters, the crayons explain why they are leaving. They are tired of being typecast, it seems. And just released is the sequel, The Day the Crayons Came Home.

What are your favourite epistolary books?

--Angela J. Reynolds, Community Engagement Coordinator