Saturday, July 30, 2016

427. Petawawa Public Library, Petawawa, Ontario

Well, it was tricky getting through the construction to the Arnprior library, but construction in Petawawa had it beat. It really wasn't too bad, if I'd only known a trick or two. After directions from a mom headed for the playground with little kids and some help from staff at the town office, it was easy. And in the process of locating the library, I got to see the "shortest downhill" in the world, with perhaps the finest view of any ski slope.

As in many towns, the library shares a building with the community center, and in this case the partnership leads to a special lending opportunity. Read on to see what that is.

One of the first things I noticed was a display related to a program new to me. In the USA, I frequently see a "1000 Books Before Kindergarten" program, encouraging parents to read to their children early and often. In Canada, what I see is "50 Books to Share Before Kindergarten." [I've seen this in other Canadian libraries, but this is the first place I've mentioned it, I think.] The program involves a wide range of 50 specific books for all kindergartners to be familiar with before starting school. They are shelved together; only three may be checked out at one time. I can see advantages to each program, and I even think that both could be used.

I didn't get any pictures in the children's area for the best of reasons: it was loaded with kids, mostly very young and on the move, which makes it hard to take a picture "without people." All of the types of books one expects to find are here, in English and French. There is a "floor couch" with a wooden frame. I don't know what else to call it. I've seen a seating piece like this one other place, but it is so popular, I can never get a picture!

A program room is to the side, behind an area that appears to be a combination office and ... perhaps a work area for preparing displays and story times? It has a nice big upholstered chair with a hassock. The children's area also includes 2 computers (speak to a librarian before using them) and backpacks loaded with books on a theme. Playaway Launch Pads are available to borrow; it wasn't clear to me, but I'll guess that they are for library use only.

Because of the activity in the children's area, let's look at what is on offer for adults, starting with this attractive corner. With the windows, fireplace, and furnishings, this is one of the most inviting seating areas I've seen. There is a community jigsaw puzzle underway on the table by the far window. Petawawa is a major military center in Canada, and the fireplace is "Dedicated to Our Peacekeepers, Lasting Canadian Imprints Around the World." It was donated by the Trans Canada Pipeline.

This method of honoring donors is attractive and flexible. There is a similar "bookshelf" on another wall of this area, to accommodate even more donors. Donor names are on the book spines. There is also a large, handsome "jade necklace" of stained glass "beads" hanging in a window. I thought I had a picture, but apparently not. The largest circle at the bottom explains that this honors long-term volunteers. Three of the "beads" have inscribed names, and there are plenty more for other volunteers.

Teens have an area with windows, four chairs that I call "IKEA chairs," and a couple of computers. I enjoyed seeing this sign on the teen fiction shelves: "It's OK. You have our permission, even if you are by no stretch of the imagination a teen. We read them and we encourage you to do the same." I enjoy many (not all) young adult novels, and this sign made me chuckle.

Now, about that "special lending situation" I mentioned. I saw snowshoes for borrowing in Grand Isle, Vermont, the day before, but still I was surprised to see bike helmets in a rack here. I was even more surprised when I read the sign on the rack and discovered that one can borrow a bicycle to go with the helmet! You need a library card or picture ID if you are a visitor, The bikes are in a corridor of the community center part of the building. This is truly a first for me in four years of library visits!

Finally, on my way out through the shared lobby, I bought a bright red Petawawa T-shirt, and I'm wearing it today on my way home to Minnesota. Thanks for a great visit to a fine library.


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