Thursday, May 10, 2012

New Post! P.O.W - Right in the kisser!

Finally, a NEW post! It's been far too long.
As you may or may not know, I am doing my final practicum for school in Regina at the Central Public Library. I have been exposed to a whole new world! Things are very different than in Saskatoon, but it's always fun to see how other libraries operate. It's especially interesting because as a part of SILS we are all technically on the same system, but not always on the same page. ;) -Ha! that was a pretty good on!

Today Amy, Kelly, Robin and I had the opportunity to visit the newest branch: Prince of Whales. POW is part of a shared community facility - much like Rusty Macdonald, Cliff Wright and Carlyle King at home - so there's even more there to draw members of the community into the library.
POW seems a bit like a guinea pig, or a lab rat if you will. They are trying a number of new things at this branch including a Media Bank(pictured below) which dispenses DVD's and CD's for patrons to borrow. It's as simple as scanning your library card barcode and browsing the titles that are listed by genre, then the machine pops them out for you.

I love the idea of this... truly I do. However - yes, I said however - there are some definite drawbacks. For example, you can only return the items to THIS machine. They go back in the slot, and you have to scan your card first. You cannot return them inside or to any other branch, which could prove irksome to people. Also, it doesn't tell you how to log out. So if you weren't paying attention, you could end up staying logged in and some one could come a long and withdraw items on your card, possibly incurring fines that you don't want to pay - oh my! Also, the staff said that there have been some issues with the machine technology-wise, and sometimes the machine itself has been physically damaged by the public. I do really want this idea to work though! As soon as all the kinks get worked out, I will start to campaign to get some in Saskatoon!

POW is a truly attractive branch though, very aesthetically(ooh big word) pleasing. Basically, I think it's pretty! :) The colours are mainly green, brown and a soft blue, which makes for a very calming and tranquil environment. (Great for reading of course) The large windows let in tons of natural light, which is also really awesome. If it's possible, I kind of felt like I was outside in a meadow while I was inside. Blows your mind, doesn't it?
Much of the shelving is floating so they can be moved around to rearrange the collection or to make room for an event.

 Let's talk BISAC! BISAC is an acronym for Book Industry Standards and Communications, and the concept is to organize a library's collection similar to that of a book store. I have mixed feelings about BISAC. This morning I was working in Tech Services, actually assigning BISAC subject headings to different material. The problem with it is that it's very difficult to choose which heading the book should go under, and how is the patron going to know where to find it. What may make sense to me, may not make sense to someone else. Take a book about kids and their behaviour. It could go under the Parenting heading, or it could go under Relationships - Family OR it could even go under psychology. It was a tough little game I played with myself trying do make the best decision.

On the other hand, BISAC is a great way for patrons to browse the items. Much like the book store, the shelves are labelled with the topics they contain and you can peruse as you like. Many of the books are faced out so you can choose based on the cover, rather than staring at the spine. In a smaller library like this I think it works. You have less staff that can muck things up for you - they know where to find things on the shelves, because they put them there. The collection isn't too big, so the chances of losing a book aren't that great. I'm not sure if this would work in a branch as large as Central or Frances Morrison back home. I DO think it would work in many of the small town branch libraries though.

 As usual, I checked out my favourite section of the library - the fantasy section! I have to say, I was a little disappointed. But for different reasons than you would think: RPL labels their books differently than SPL does. RPL has Fiction, Mysteries, Science Fiction, Westerns, and Romance. SPL has the same but also has Fantasy and Horror sections. So I was sad to see that all the Fantasy books that I would usually enjoy placed in what I would call the incorrect section. But this is a decision not made by the POW branch, so I can't be mad at them for that! :) 

 Lastly, POW boasts 2 self check-out stations for patrons. (Pictured below is Kelly using the self check-out, it's so easy to use!) I really wish that we would get some of these at more branches around the province. The concept is great, although I can see how some patrons might find them scary. Also, it's just like when you have self check-out in grocery stores - some people just prefer to have the human interaction.

Our visit the POW was great - the staff was super friendly. (thanks so much for having us!) If you get a chance to visit Regina, please go down and check out the POW branch!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Carlyle King of the Underworld!

So I finally made it to the Carlyle King (CK) branch in Confed. It's located at 3130 Laurier Drive in the Cosmo Civic Centre. SO useful to have a library in a multipurpose building, and that's definitely a draw for people. However, to get to the CK library, you have to go down, down, down a ramp until you think you are going underground. It's a little scary and I definitely would not want to attempt to go there at night. :)
When you walk in, the circ desk is immediately to your left. Straight in front of you is the music and DVD's, then to the right is a fairly substantial Young Adult Section. Beyond the YA is the Non-Fiction. Behind the music is the paperback Science Fiction and Fantasy (seen above) and at the very back is the hard cover Fiction. The far back left corner houses the Children's section. Not the largest branch either, but it serves its purpose. The SciFi/Fantasy section was quite sizeable, which always makes me happy. *squee!* But things are not as clearly labelled as they could be, so finding your way around the library can be difficult.
CK boasts an extensive multi-lingual collection including Chinese, Vietnamese, Polish, Spanish, Russian, Ukranian and Urdu. They also have family story time, Toddler time, a summer reading program and offer computer programs for adults.
CK Branch was an interesting place to visit!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Turn around, Bright eyes

So I had the song "Total Eclipse of the Heart" in my head the entire time I was at the Alice Turner(AT) branch. Pretty sure the only reason was because of the name "Turner," so that's why my post is titled as such.
AT is located at 110 Nelson Road, right near the Forestry farm and a very large church that is still under construction. Fortunately today, there were no troubles finding the door to get into the building, so immediately this trip was a success... hooray!
When you enter the building, there is a fairly substantial lobby that has nice comfy leather chairs that you can sit and relax in, or there's WiFi access so you can use your laptop sitting there as well. Further along into the actual "library" you notice that it's still under a bit of construction, so there's not as much seating or tables as there could be. To the left are some library catalog computers and the circulation desk. To the right is the children's section, pictured below:
As you can see there are a few activity tables and extras for kids to play with. The book collection for children is quite large, and there's quite a bit of room between all the book shelves. Of course after children's you get into the juvenile and YA sections (including Manga and graphic novels of course) As you continue, there is the paperback fiction section:
The hardcover fiction and non-fiction are beyond that as well. There's still not a whole lot of area for work space or reading, but as I said, it is still under construction, so hopefully we can have more areas like that in the future.
AT offers story times for various ages, computer classes and book clubs for adults. Right now their programming and resources are a bit limited due to construction, but will have even more to offer once that is all finished.
My favourite part about this branch is how open and light it is in the building. As you can see by the photo, there are a lot of windows, which give the branch a nice feel. My second favourite part was the Science Fiction and Fantasy section.... yay! I was quite happy with the selection in the branch, and very excited to pick up 3 books. (Can't go into a library without getting books, of course!)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cliff Wright... More like Cliff Wrong Door

Today was quite the adventure down to the Cliff Wright(CW) branch library. CW is located on McKercher Drive in the Lakewood Civic centre. Again I admire the multiple facilities in one building for convenience. However, CW did pose on little problem - I couldn't figure out how to get IN!!!! I know, it sounds so silly but I tried 3 different doors before I actually got the right one. Very confusing, especially for people who have never been there before. The door is actually around the corner in the picture and down a long alley way. There should be signs posted! Ha ha... Anyway
So when you finally find your way inside the door, the circulation desk is to your right. To your left is a small reading area, some work tables and the entire non fiction collection. I found everything was labelled according to the number, not subject, so for a person who doesn't know where to look, it can be confusing. Past the circulation desk, straight ahead is a fairly large children/juvenile section. In the middle of the branch is a small bank of computers, the DVD's and music, and further beyond that is the YA and adult fiction sections.
Of course I had to make a lengthy stop in the Science Fiction/Fantasy section... I was pleasantly surprised and the size of the section. Again there were a few books that looked quite new, and they even had a book from the series I am currently reading! (Can't leave without checking something out!)
I had intentions of staying and doing some homework today but I didn't for 2 reasons: 1)all the work tables were full, so there was no where for me to sit and 2) I was so mad about not being able to find my way in that I said forget it!
I can't promise I'll go to this branch again, but if I do, at least I'll be able to find the door no problem!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Mayfair Lady....

Well today I ventured to the Mayfair branch library. Talk about a tiny library! I can't believe how itsy bitsy this place was!
When I first walked in, to my right was about 3 computers and then the circulation desk. To the left was a small reading area - about 3 chairs and 4, count 'em 4 shelves of library fiction books... Yikes! And don't even get me started on the lack of Fanasy/Science Fiction section! :) At the very back is the non-fiction, and there is a children's section including a reading toom.
Even though the size of the branch is small, as well as the selection, it's still functional. Obviously when you can request any book you want in the whole province, just having someplace closer to your home to pick it up is convenient.
I really wish I had more to say about the Mayfair branch, but when it's so small, there's not a whole lot to say. Can't get lost in there, that's for sure! :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Got Wood? J.S. Wood that is!

Like the pun in the title today? Me too! I was overcome by genius on that one... ha ha! Today I ventured over to the South East side of the city for a visit to the J.S. Wood (JSW) branch.
JSW is located on the corner of Landsdowne Ave and Taylor Street. It's conveniently located across from a Fire Hall so they'll be okay, just in case!
So when you walk in the doors (wheel chair accessible of course!) you immediately see the circ desk - how easy is that?! To the right is a wonderfully sunny reading room - TONS of windows, great for reading! :) To the left is the Children's section, a very large section - it probably takes up about 1/3 of the entire library! It's got really cool green fabric hanging from the ceiling that looks like trees inside. There's also lots of toys and activities for the children to enjoy while you peruse the stacks. Beyond the children's section is the Adult/Young Adult/Juvenile Fiction. The way they've got it set up, they do kind of run into each other. HOWEVER... Everything is wonderfully and clearly labelled so you know where you are and what you are looking at. I like that especially in the non-fiction section, it will have the Dewey number, as well as a label that says what's in that section! Yay for organization!
Past that is a small bank of computers, the cd's/dvd section and the paperback fiction section. And yet again, at the very back of the library is the non-fiction. Very nicely labelled of course! JSW also has lots of programs for all ages as well. One that piqued my interest was the Sleepy Time stories for Toddlers every Tuesday night.
I have to say that this branch has been my favourite so far. Although it's not very spacious, the collection is incredible. My very favourite part at this branch was the paperback Science Fiction/Fantasy section... it was SO big! (TWSS!) Not only was it a pretty large collection, most of the books were brand new and never been cracked... So of course I had to check out a couple to take home and be the first person to read them!
If you ever get a chance, check out JSW on the south east side!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Today I visited the Rusty MacDonald (RM) branch in Lawson Heights. It is located at 225 Primrose Drive, right across from the Lawson Heights mall - how convenient!
I have been to this branch once before, so I was a little familiar with it. I think one of the neatest things about this branch is that its in the Lawson Civic Centre! Which means there's a swimming pool and a gym all in the same location. So when you're done taking your kids to swim lessons, or you don't want to watch them, you can hang out in the library reading until its done!
When you first walk in the doors there is the entire children's section to the right. It's a pretty decent sized collection and there's even a play kitchen area, puzzles, games and other activities. To the right is the circulation desk. Further in there is the DVD section, the paperback fiction and books on CD/tape. Keep going and there is a small bank of computers, beyond that the hardcover fiction and at the very back of the library is the non-fiction section. I like this branch because you can see where everything is. It's a straight shot - no confusing corners - and the signage is quite clear.
RM has a lot to offer its community as well. Along with having auditorium and board room rentals it has a beginner computer classes for adults , and several different story times. It does boast a "Young Adult Lounge" which was underwhelming at best, but I admire the fact that they recognized the need for youth to have a little privacy.
One thing I did not like about the branch was the lack of Sci-Fi and Fantasy selection. Although we have the "One province, one system" thing going on and I can request a book from anywhere, if I ever happen to drop in to get a book, it's likely I won't find much there.
And that's Rusty MacDonald!
Oh, and on a side note.... I picked up the 17th installment of the Anita Blake series today. It came all the way from Air Ronge up north and the spine as never even been cracked! I'm super excited for it's inaugural reading this weekend! :)