Libraries’ role in helping to reduce cruelty to animals.

The British Columbia SPCA discusses how public libraries can be used to expose children to feeling empathy for animals which can, in turn, result in reduced incidences of animal abuse and cruelty. The Vancouver Public Library (VPL) has created an excellent list of children’s resources that features works about animals and their care. The BC SPCA has a list of resources that it is happy to share with public libraries. The society asks people to contact their local library with this message:

A sincere thank you for the work you do to promote literacy and child development. I am disturbed in learning about the link between domestic violence and animal abuse (learn more from I believe we can make a difference in people’s attitudes towards each other and animals if we help them develop empathy from a young age. I am writing to ask: will you order the books on this list and promote them in our library? By doing so, I am confident that your actions will help make a difference in an at risk child’s life.

This is such a wonderful initiative, and kudos to VPL. I think this would be a splendid course of action across public libraries in Canada.


Digital skills students need for the future

According to the Pew Report The impact of digital tools on student writing and how writing is taught in schools, teachers believe that judging the quality of information (91%), behaving responsibly online (85%), and understanding privacy issues pertaining to online and digital content (78%), are essential to students’ success later in life. It’s good to see that information literacy skills are ranked so highly by teachers, which is ironic, when you consider how school librarian positions are being eliminated in so many provinces in Canada.

digital skills graph

The Underground Library

Here is a very clever and innovative project to attract readers to the New York public library system:  You can scan the first 10 pages of a book from a subway poster; the idea is to entice sufficient interest in the book to download the full e-book from the library:

The 35 Most Amazing Libraries In The World

Many of these libraries are going on my bucket list; I’ve been fortunate to have visited some of them already, and the remainder are certainly worth a visit.  It’s good to see two Canadian libraries listed.  It’s possible that the new Central Library for the Halifax Public Library will make such a list in future; it’s certainly an impressive architectural design, and I can’t wait to visit it once it’s open:

Social media and libraries

I had a wonderful discussion today with an academic librarian whose primary responsibility is to communicate and promote the library system’s services. My interest is in the use of social media to accomplish this goal. We talked about using social media to help break out library services beyond the confines of time and space (sounding very Star Trek here). What impressed me was my colleague’s enthusiasm for the possibilities in expanding the scope and perception of library services. This was so much more than a simple jumping on board the Library 2.0 bandwagon, but a genuine reflection on how social media can impact these services. I look forward to a continuing dialogue.

Digital readers are changing the traditional library system

Digital readers are changing the traditional library system – The Globe and Mail.

This article discusses the increased popularity of e-book downloads at the Vancouver Public Library.  One of the challenging aspects, I imagine,when it comes to public perception, is why it’s necessary to place a hold on a digital copy of a book, since it does not occupy any physical space.  There has been much press lately about the high cost of e-books to libraries; it’s doubtful that the average library client realizes that in many cases, libraries can allow only one person to borrow an e-book at a time, and the fact that libraries have to keep paying publishers to make these items available, since they don’t permanently own them.  It will be interesting to see the changes in the proportion of library holdings with respect to print versus digital collections over the next 2-3 years.