Monday, 23 March 2015

Purple Day

What do you really know about Epilepsy? Many of us have a picture in our mind of someone having an uncontrollable “fit”.   While seizures are a symptom the type and frequency are varied.  This is a neurological disorder which presents itself in many forms.  It is unfortunate that the mere word Epilepsy still carries such a stigma that it causes many sufferers to hide their condition when just a little education would work wonders in understanding what having Epilepsy really means.

On March 26th, 2015 people around the world will be wearing purple to raise awareness of Epilepsy.  Fund raising events, testimonials, rallys and other events will be held.  It all began with Nova Scotian Cassidy Megan who created the idea of Purple Day in 2008 when she was 8 years old. Motivated by her own struggles with epilepsy her goal was to get people talking about epilepsy in an effort to dispel myths and inform those with seizures that they are not alone.  The Epilepsy Association came on board the next year and now it is world wide.  Check out her Purple Day blog.

Right now there are 300,000 Canadians living with Epilepsy.   Find out the basic facts, for  example it is not a disease and it is not contagious (two very common myths). Check out the informational downloads available through the Epilepsy Canada site.  Familiarize yourself with the simple First Aid rules pictured and don’t forget to wear purple on March 26th !!

Some famous people with Epilepsy:
Actor Danny Glover
Singer-songwriter Neil Young
Adam Horovitz of the music group Beastie Boys
Mike Skinner from band The Streets

--Patricia Milner, Head of Reference Services

Monday, 16 March 2015

Sneak Peek!

We are working on something really fun here at AVRL. They are called "Be Fit" Physical Literacy Kits. We all know how important it is for kids to have access to books and language at an early age, but sometimes we might forget how important it is for kids to be active, even as toddlers or infants.

To make this easier  for families, we've partnered with Sport Nova Scotia and Valley Active Living to create kits that you can take home and play with! Each kit contains fun items such as balls, juggling scarves, activity dice, frisbees, skipping ropes, and more! There's an activity booklet included in each one that guides you in ways to use the items included. We've even included 4 picture books that will get you moving as you read together.

The kits will be ready soon, so keep an eye out! We've already been playing ball in the office, so we know you are going to have fun with these. Our first official launch is in Berwick on Saturday, April 4. We'll have the kits there for you to test out, show you some games to play with them, and we'll also have healthy snacks and door prizes, so come see us then! More launches will be scheduled -- one at our Windsor branch and one in Annapolis County, so everyone has a chance to come play!

Once they are ready, you'll be able to check one out for 3 weeks, and use it at home, for parties, or take it camping. Wouldn't it be fun to have an Active Play birthday party? Preschools and daycares could borrow them for a Fun Day. The possibilities are endless! And there's no charge to borrow one.  We'll have them ready by April 4, so start thinking of how you will use a Be Fit Kit!

Monday, 9 March 2015

March Break preview

March Break is just around the corner. But don’t panic if you haven’t got your week filled—we have some great programs happening right here in the Valley. And guess what? They are FREE! That’s right, your local library has cooked up a great slate of programs for all ages. 

LEGO-loving kids will want to head over to the Bridgetown, Kentville, and Windsor libraries this week. We have lots of our own LEGO,  so stop in and see what you can build with ours.  And in both Berwick and Bridgetown, there are LEGO robotics programs during March Break, and a LEGO stop-motion film program in Berwick.  And if you have tons of LEGO at home, try some of these LEGO challenges on our Pinterest board.   

There are storytimes in Berwick, Bridgetown, Kentville, Port Williams, and Wolfville next week. And if you like art, there’s an Art Lab in Kentville and a program with the Firefly Makery in Bridgetown.  For ages 10-16, there’s  Art attack in Port Williams. They are making monster toys over in Berwick and painting flower pots in Kingston. 

For ages 10+, there are some great programs, including drumming workshops with Kadijah in Berwick, Bridgetown, Hantsport, Lawrencetown, and Wolfville. Sign up because space is limited for these programs. Girls ages 10-15 should check out GirlPower in Berwick and Wolfville. There’s even a Camp Out in Middleton, with lots of food & fun. Bring your sleeping bag! And if you like robotics, stop in our Middleton branch to test drive some new toys we just got. (Maybe you can show us how they work.) And if you have some studying to catch up on, or want to be super-smart when you get back to class, use to help you get back on track. Open every day from 3 pm - midnight, and free with your library card.

In Kentville you can go see Al Bernard or learn to knit. In Berwick you can learn cartooning with Mark Oakley. Stop by Middleton to explore one of our Early Literacy iPads. Attend a Computer Camp in Lawrencetown.  There’s so much to do! Just click on THIS LINK for our March Break programs. You can sign up online or by calling the library.

Adults, don’t fret:  there are even programs for you.  In Annapolis Royal the Speaker Series is back. And in Windsor, meet at the library all week long for Canada Reads. Sign up for a computer tutorial or a workshop. 

And of course we’ve got plenty of books and DVDs to occupy your time. Grab a whole stack of both and keep the “I’m Boreds” at bay. See you at the library!

Monday, 2 March 2015

Daisy Players needed

Hello fellow readers! I know that many a stormy night this winter I have enjoyed curling up with a good library book. This winter of heavy snows and unpredictable weather has lead many of us to enjoy our library books even more than usual. Now just imagine that you have the winter blahs, you love to read  AND you are print disabled. Imagine that you can’t hold a book properly, or you can’t see the print in your favourite book anymore. This winter would be even more tiresome under those circumstances wouldn’t it?

This is what our print disabled patrons face every day. This is why the Annapolis Valley Regional Library has a Special Needs Service to help talking book users to enjoy their favourite books. The problem is, if they have an older cd/mp3 machine that does not play the newer formats and they can’t afford to purchase a new machine, their audiobook options are limited.

There is a wonderful but expensive machine called a daisy player. It plays all the new formats and is very easy to use with large buttons and simple instructions. These are like the Mercedes Benz of audio players. Here's what one type of daisy player looks like.

Most talking book users can’t afford the expense of one of these wonderful machines because they are several hundred dollars. There are some families who may have a player that is no longer being used. We would love it if they could donate this item  to AVRL.

AVRL will give you a tax receipt for up to half of what the player cost you when new. You can rest  assured that you are bringing happiness and enjoyment to many AVRL print disabled users who want to be cozy and enjoy a good book on a stormy day!

Even if you don’t have a player to donate you can pass along this information to someone who does have one. Or, if you would like to make a cash donation towards one of these players, that is also an option.

Thanks very much!

Sherie Keans
Special Needs Clerk
Annapolis Valley Regional Library

Monday, 23 February 2015

New Website For AVRL, new browser for you?

You may be aware that the Annapolis Valley Regional Library launched a newly designed website a couple of months ago.  The change was necessary to better serve patrons who would like to access the site using phones or other mobile devices.  In moving in this direction, we were unable to develop a site that would work on all of the older versions of browsers.  When the site went live, we were all excited to get some real feedback from our users.   Unfortunately we quickly realized that many of our users are still using some of these older browsers.   
Anyone still using Windows XP as an operating system and is also using Internet Explorer will get a page that looks like the picture below when they visit

Not at all like the version we wanted everyone to see, which is like the image above.

The best solution is to upgrade to a more current browser.  XP is officially out of support and is no longer being updated automatically by Microsoft which means Internet Explorer 8 is the last version that will work on XP.  The good news is there are alternatives to Internet Explorer that are faster, less vulnerable and give you the ability to add functionality.  Our favorites are Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

 Google Chrome came out in 2008 and has become the most popular browser worldwide. Chrome is fast, updates automatically and has a store filled with addons that can add functionality like adblocking or a Facebook addon that lets you keep up with friends’ activity even when you aren’t on Facebook.  Chrome is also one of the most secure browsers, blocking known malware and phishing sites automatically. 

 Mozilla Firefox is an open source offshoot of Netscape Navigator and has been one of the most popular browsers for many years. Firefox is quick and has a familiar interface. It was one of the first browsers to embrace addons and has a library of thousands to choose from.

There are countless reasons to upgrade your old browser and start using something new and up-to-date. Trust us when we say that your experience on the Web will be infinitely better if you choose to do this.

Whatever you’re doing on the Web—reading email, shopping, banking, or anything else—a new browser will allow your experience to be safer, faster, and much more beautiful.