13 Aug 08, 8am. Libraries for Children and Young Adults Section off-site programme.
This is a long post. Plenty of pictures.
This morning, we visited the Bibliothèque de Charlesbourg (pronounced "char-le-boo").
We were ushered into a very cosy auditorium.
I love how they constructed this balcony to accommodate wheelchairs and maybe baby prams. So thoughtful!
The library was started in October 1981, then relocated to its new premises in October 1983. It's said to have one of the best Young Adults service and programmes.
They serve 74,000 residents. Renovated two years ago (enlarged the library space by three times, at a cost of €6.3 million Euros -- wow, did I hear that right?)
I canbelieve it cost that much.
It's an impressive building.
Our guide explained how the building is designed to be eco-friendly (something about the roof but I didn't catch the details).
The interior was designed for efficient traffic flow. The designers aimed to make it easy to find things and for the place to feel like a second home.
[I found this to be true. It's huge and looks complex but somehow moving from section to section was straight forward and along structured path ways. The 6.3m Euros was well-spent].
I believe this is the self-checkout machine. It was the only one I saw in the library. The library isn't into self-help services it seems.
The OPAC stations are clustered together. Very simple yet elegant designs. Their CPU unit is exposed. I guess it eliminates the heat issue but wonder if any users have itchy-fingers and switch the machines on/ off.
The holder for the paper (for users to copy the Call Number) is bolted down. Nice.
Here's something new to me: Library items with the "$" symbol on the cover means users have to pay a fee per item to borrow. This is the Bestsellers and popular items section. The fee is around $3 Canadian.
They have adopted to use fees to regulate demand. I wondered how they dealt with complaints by those who say they cannot pay.
There's WIFI access in the library (not sure if it's free or fee).
Here's the study area.
Table-top has concealed power and LAN points.
Their Children's Section is enclosed in glass (stops the noise).
From the outside, the desk of the Children's Librarian is visible.
Here's the inside of the section.
A shelf of toys!
There's a presentation room for kids. I think the sign says "No Admittance over 6".
When I stepped in, the space looked impressive. It wasn't apparent there was this space from the outside.
At the corner there's a audio/ headset.
There's an area where the kids can watch stuff from a TV (videos or TV programmes I think). Parents can sit on the couch overlooking the kids.
Behind the wall (where the TV is installed) is a nappy changing fold-up board and a microwave oven for heating up milk! Wow.
Straight ahead is the Periodicals section.
There are a few steps up. The designers provided a lift (no space to build a ramp, I think).
There's a consistent clean, cool feel to the whole place. It's modern and cozy.
The cool thing is that right across the other side, you can see the office. I wonder if that's the library director at her desk?!
Walking out, you see a TV lounge area. Nice.
What's cool is that you can look across to the library office!
The Multimedia section is in the basement (kind of like a hangout for teens and young adults as well).
The AV materials are free to watch in the library (deposit required to use the player). Payment of S1.50 to borrow (I think it's a cheaper rate in consideration for teens).
They have punk and heavy metal music in their collections! Wonder if they carry Joe Satriani (man, if they put a drum/ guitar/ bass kit in the basement...)
This is a place I'd definitely want to hang out.
At the ground floor, the library is connected to an exhibition space.
Services and programmes they provide:
- Reading day in a public space
- Reading day in schools
- Introduction to reading and writing
- Public library week
- Read & Get Reading (seniors reading to kids - www.lireetfairelire.qc.ca)
- They have a mascot in their storytelling for kids. Average 34 kids per session. It's so popular they require reservations.
- Storytimes in pajamas
- Arts and science workshops
- Summer reading month (last week of June to end Aug. There are prizes when kids complete 5, 10, or 15 books)
- Film screenings (to give more reasons for users to visit. The screenings are held at regular times so that there is a routine).
- They introduced a character Chien De Lisard, aimed at young adults ages 13 to 21 (see www.bibliothequesdequebec.qc.ca/chien). At the site, teens can post on what they read (the presenter mentioned they wanted an "edgy and mildy subservive atmosphere" for the site)
- For the 8 to 12 year-olds, they have a literary society rather than reading club format. Each activity is independent of the other and has themes.
- Four times a year, daycare centres receive 65 books for children and daycare workers. Part of encouraging daycare centres to recognise importance of reading to young children.
- They organise teacher meetings; send information packs to schools
- A "School bag package" for teachers to hold classroom activities in the library
Very, very nice. I'm impressed.
The physical space is well thought-out. It's a huge space yet it's not overbearing. There are clear spaces for Children, Teens and Adults (though I feel the teens section ought to have it's own enclosed area like the Children's section, and with a different feel).
Their services seems quite comprehensive and proactive.
From this visit, what's interesting to me are the consistent trends of:
- Libraries moving towards an inter-generation theme
- Children's services remains at the forefront of the public library services
- Services to Youths is also deemed important. And most libraries in any country face the same challenges in trying to get teens to read
[I realised I've done a better job reporting what this library has done -- in terms of services to Children and Teens -- than what I've blogged about for Singapore's public libraries. Maybe I should invite a Canadian librarian over to give an objective assessment!
Anyway, if you're a Singaporean reading this, we may not have six million Euros to spend per library but otherwise what we have is pretty consistent :)]
Next: Part 12