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Wednesday 17 February 2016

Our Libraries

We have a great library system in Prince Edward Island. There are twenty-three busy libraries around the island, each offering a variety of services to clientele, such as craft classes, book clubs, baby story time, to name a few. Libraries offer computer accessibility to the community; audiobooks and dvds are available and e-books can be  downloaded. In Summerside alone, almost 80% of the population holds library cards.

Our community is also fortunate that the Rotary Club sponsors the library and is building a new Community Learning Center which will house a new library as well. The new facility will be more than twice the size of the present library which is housed in the old train station in Summerside. 

Book club kits are provided as a library service across the province. Each kit contains ten copies of a book and a study guide. One person, on behalf of the club, checks out the kit for the group. Each group has six weeks to read the book and meet for discussion. There are numerous book clubs around the island, with youth to seniors participating, some belonging to several clubs. 

I became involved with book club through Seniors College the first month I arrived on Prince Edward Island. Taking courses was a great way to meet people and learn about the island from my classmates, so I joined the book club associated with the college. There is a thirty year age range among the seniors in the book club, bringing a wealth of life experience and knowledge to the group.

Always an avid reader, over the years I had reduced my reading to mystery novels, which suited my busy work life. Book club introduced me to a variety of genres I would not have read otherwise. Discussions were invigorating, each person bringing her own unique perspective to every book. Friendships formed around the pages.

Our group always takes a circuitous route through each book, sharing life experiences. current events and insights. However, we always come to an understanding of the book and help each other with difficult texts. 

One great discovery via book club has been Canadian literature. Not having read much of it before, I've discovered enjoyment in the familiar settings and the Canadian multi-cultural experience, especially the writings of our indigenous people.

In book club this month, we are reading Station Eleven, a dystopian novel by Canadian author, Emily St. John Mandel. This book is not one I would have read before joining the book club. However, I hated for it to end!

Another great service provided by the library is the One Book One Island program. Every year, the organizers bring an author to the island to visit the main libraries in the three counties. We've had a graphic novelist, a short story writer and a mystery novelist, among others. Interacting with the authors is helpful to all readers and one's own writing process.

There are places in the world where libraries are closing due to lack of funding and/or usage. Such is not the case in Prince Edward Island. In fact, our libraries have a firm foothold in the twenty-first century. It will be interesting to see how they evolve in the years to come.


DJan said...

I just went to my library website and put a hold on that book. Unfortunately, I am #4 in line, so other people know about it! Our library is well used and I love being able to order a book and then go pick it up when it's available. :-)

Anvilcloud said...

I suppose that all of the libraries are in one system, which would be one advantage of living in a small province. Our library is in a town and is sort of a part of a rural system, but the connections are vague. So, if I want an ebook, it seems to me that my particular library has to own it. I could join the Ottawa system for $50/year. Anyway, I am mostly still stuck in the mystery genre. Latest are from Alys Clare, who writes 12th century mysteries in the bad King John era.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

When I was young, I was a voracious reader. But once I was in the full-time workforce, my reading habits dropped right off because of lack of time. I still read but it takes me forever to get through a book now. Once I'm retired, I'm sure my reading will go back to the way it used to be and I can finally get caught up on all the good books I intended to read "some day!"

Marie Smith said...

The book is worth the wait. Libraries are such a great service!

Marie Smith said...

I must check out Alys Clare for my summer reading.

I've never had to pay for library use. It would eliminate some people from using the library here. I like the fact that everyone is the same in acquiring books from the library in eastern Canada, no money required.

Marie Smith said...

Retirement is such a pleasant time of life, well except for the health issues. But so enjoyable nonetheless.i wish you lots of years to read at your leisure.

Tomoko said...

You have great libraries. Wonderful to know people in your land love reading.
I am in the Chapter 12 on Anne's world. "A solemn Vow and Promise". I recite a part of the story every our class. Have a good weekend.

Marie Smith said...

Hi Tomoko,

If you ever get the opportunity, see the series Anne of Green Gables. It will bring what you are reading to life. There was a movie this past weekend in Canada on YTV about the first part of the book. It was so well done.


Ginnie Hart said...

You had me at the library inside a former train station! I would LOVE to be part of such a club. OMG. This needs to be happening all over the world. I love it for you, Marie. PEI can be proud of this heritage...which hopefully will never end!

Marie Smith said...

The book kits are a fabulous service, fun, stimulating, and open to every economic group. We are very lucky!

Barbara said...

I worry about the future of libraries. My 16 yo grandson was always an avid reader. He still reads some but but more on-line I think. Sad to see that happen. I still take the grand girls every time they come. I want them to grow up relating to the sight and smell of books, even if they grown up to be Kindle readers.

Marie Smith said...

I love the feel of a book in my hand. I have relegated the e-reader to the travel companion category. Books may be a dying breed I fear as well.