Read, learn, play at your library

Local librarian learns to make some changes

Tag – you’re it!

I am not talking about the game you played as a kid, though. If you Facebook© you may know about tags, but I think there may be many like me who, until recently, didn’t get tags. There are a lot of things I don’t get, though. One is why it’s July and the mosquitoes are getting the best of summer. Another thing I don’t get, is change. The last is a big topic, but it has hit me recently as our library system has changed its catalogue. The look, the way to use it, the features once you get “inside it”. Those of you who use it to find books, order online will have noticed this, and your reaction was what? Exactly – why change something that worked fine. The ‘why’ can’t matter anymore, time marches on, technology determines the courser of some events, and so, as with any change, it now is, what it is. What we need to do is to see what’s so great about the change. Following is my confession. I made the change. I used the old catalogue for awhile, which you can always do. They call it the classic version. Classic, another word for old. Then, because it is my job, I started to dabble in the new version. The social version. Oh, that was enough to put me off right there. I want to find books, not ‘socialize’. If I want to socialize, I go visit or phone someone. I put all those inner complaints aside and sat down at my computer, brought up the Fraser Valley Regional Library website and made myself use it. I started easy, looked for my favourite authors. That wasn’t too bad, the new version even offered that spelling help like Google© does. This was actually pretty great, because I always spell Kathy Reichs name wrong when I am looking for her books. Next, something I used a lot was the ‘Featured Lists’. These are the things that are new to the library. Now, this list is called ‘New Titles’ found in the EXPLORE section (a tab near the top of the new catalogue web page). If possible, it is even better than before. You can narrow your browsing of new titles within the adult fiction or non-fiction. You can look for just biographies that are new to FVRL or art books or mysteries. How’s that for addressing your book desires? Now, back to my opening line, tags, because that is my new favourite thing on our library website. And the big confession part, this would not be possible without the ‘social’ aspect of the catalogue. Here goes my very basic explanation of tags. Tags are a way of labelling something on a website. In your FVRL catalogue, you can add a tag to a book so that it ends up on a list that is lumps these books together for a specific reason. In libraryland we like exactness, so the whole idea is, for a tag to be useful, to voice that thought in your head, like “What were some of those books I saw in the Agassiz Library on the counter for the Adult Summer Reading Club?” Tax your mind no longer, all you have to do is Tag in the catalogue search instead of Title or Author, type ‘Agassiz Library Adult Summer Reading Club’, and your mental question is answered! You would get a list of books available to members of the public that are doing the adult summer reading club in our area. You could then go to your library and take one or two out. Get it? Anyone can tag books, but you have to be logged into your account, and your library is tagging some great lists. The Adult Summer Reading Club is only one. Ask about other tags we are setting up. Do you have a suggested tag? Tell us, we may be able to work that out too.

So, I sit here before you, a little sheepish at having been so stuck in my old ways, when the new was so great. I now use the new version of our catalogue. 99% of the time. Try it, I urge you, and feel free to ask us for a lesson, so you can maximize its wonderfulness. Join me, we can bust into the 21st century together!

That was lesson time, but never forget that the library is full of all kinds of fun, all year round, but summer we make sure you have stuff to do. The summer reading clubs are in full swing, for kids and adults, but you can still join. Set an example, be a reader, grownups! Get your kids going on it, as it is a fact that reading over summer makes school days easier for your youngsters in September. Plus, you are never board when you are a reader. Or join just because you want to ‘Read for luck’ and hopefully win a prize yourself. Your library is also proud to be a participant in the Storytime in the Park program, which is the most wonderful free family event going in our towns. Every Wednesday you can have a story read to you, take that book home for your family, enjoy a little lunch, see some entertainment and meet other families. It doesn’t get much better. For July it is in Pioneer Park, Agassiz, and in August, it is in Spirit Square in Harrison Hot Springs. What other fun stuff is the library into? Recreation on Tour! All summer at neighbourhood parks, the District of Kent offers outdoor games, crafts and fun and …. your library will be there with a few stories and books for you to take home. Most of all, come visit your library, where the air-conditioning is always on and over 1 million books await you. There is always someone to help you, to say ‘hi’ and exchange what our latest good reads are or talk about home remedies for mosquito repellents.  Enjoy your days and see you in the stacks.