Monday, August 26, 2013

George Mackie Library

Wow so, it turns out doing multiple research projects simultaneously is really time and energy consumptive. That combined with some traveling resulted in my sadly long delay in posting again. But now I have some spare time so ….

The second library I visited on my birthday was actually not a VPL branch. I didn't particularly want to do anything to celebrate my birthday this year but a friend suggested we bus all the way out an hour and a half to Delta just to have donuts at Krispy Kreme. This was such a ridiculous and stupid idea that of course I said yes, on the condition that we visited a local public library. So we snagged a few more friends and trekked out for donuts and a visit to the library.

The George Mackie Library is part of the Fraser Valley Regional Library system which is actually the largest library system in BC with 25 branches (compared to VPL's 22 branches) and nearly 700,000 people in its service area (Vancouver currently has just over 600,000 people). You can tell that the George Mackie Library (8440 112th Street, Delta, BC) has a bit of money behind it cause it was a really nice library. There was a large children area with a huge stuffed moose and some itty bitty cushy chairs that I sat in. A friend snapped a picture of me crunched up into one of these chairs, but you all will not be seeing that picture. Instead, here is a picture of the fireplace and plush chairs in another area.

Everything was clearly laid out and there were lots of signs up, all having the same color scheme and design which made them quite attractive. Several walls had neat topical displays such as “Interesting People” and “Travel the World” all with books well-spaced and faced to clearly display the covers to patrons. The youth books and books-on-cd were intermixed on the shelves, which I really like, especially in smaller collections. They also had a cart by the reference desk that held items recently returned but not yet shelved. What I liked about this was that it wasn’t just a mysterious cart of books left sitting somewhere in the library but instead  was clearly labeled, books were kept neatly on the cart, and patrons could have some fun with seeing what books interested other people and might interest them too. This idea in particular really grabs me for some reason.

The shelves were very neat and had a lot of faced items so they looked appealing and uncluttered (this library was anything but cluttered!). Hilariously, I discovered that behind many of the neatly shelved books were white boxes. I’m not sure if the boxes are used as guides to help place items at the right depth on the shelf or what, but I kept randomly finding them behind sections of books.

Metal shelves attached to the ends of the main stacks held more books with their covers displayed for patrons to select. I asked a librarian whether or not the catalogue would tell a patron if a book they search for was on the shelf in its regular spot or on one of these end displays. She told me the catalogue wouldn't say that, which seems unfortunate. I guess if the patron asked for assistance in locating an item that wasn't where it was supposed to be on the shelf, the librarians would likely know where to look. But still, it would be nice if the catalogue was capable of giving the patron that information.

They had “Grab and Go” bags of books, each labeled with a genre or age group, in several areas around the library. The bags were loosely sealed (“no peeking” say the instructions) and inside was 5-6 books in that genre. Each bag had a slip tucked in it with barcodes so the checkout desk could just snag that list and check all the items out to the patron without revealing the mystery goodies inside. It’s a nice take on the date with a mystery book ideal which blends with a kind of reader’s advisory aspect too.

My very favorite part of all might have been the display in the window that peered back into the library work area. A whole bunch of bookmarks or all kinds were hung off strings by clips with a sign that said “Did you lose your book mark?” Sadly someone was working right behind the display so I didn't disrupt them by taking a picture.


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