North Delta’s George Mackie Library. (Grace Kennedy photo)

COLUMN: Behind the scenes at North Delta’s George Mackie Library

Librarian Marisa Tutt gives patrons a peek behind the curtain

October is Canadian Library Month. It’s our time to shine, to raise awareness for the valuable role libraries play in our communities.

At Fraser Valley Regional Library (FVRL), we’re celebrating with a library-themed contest. Customers can enter to win a set of three books plus FVRL swag. FVRL is also launching a new video this month featuring a behind-the-scenes look into everything that goes on to get books, movies, ukuleles and more to you.

In the spirit of this video, I thought I’d share a bit of the behind-the-scenes at the George Mackie Library, a few “did you knows?” to paint a picture of the important work happening not only here in North Delta, but in public libraries across Canada.

Mornings begin about an hour before opening. Staff get the service desk ready for the day ahead, pack and unpack hundreds of books, DVDs, and other items being sent to and from locations both near (Ladner) and far (Boston Bar). We process newspapers, photocopy crosswords, turn on computers, empty book bins, and prepare for whatever the day brings.

We usually start weekdays with a children’s literacy program: Parent and Child Mother Goose, Storytime or Babytime. Afternoons bring a variety of activities ranging from traditional (and non-traditional) book clubs to social activities like Knit ‘N’ Stitch (drop-in knitting club) and Lego Club. Evenings vary from Teen Pizza and Games nights to Poetry Night in Punjabi. Throughout the year we invite special guests and community partners to present on important topics as well. Library programs are free, for all ages, and ever changing.

At times we are bustling with staff and customers — a lively space of children’s chatter, students studying and visitors of all ages coming and going. Gone are the days of “hushing,” as libraries now play a role in the social fabric of our communities, a place that invites conversation and discussion. Sometimes, though, we do channel days gone by – a space of quiet and solitary reading. We are a place to read, learn and play.

There are times when we are overwhelmed by boxes and boxes of material, overflowing with returns and items we’ve brought in for you from other locations — a reminder that, yes, people do still read and no, e-books have not taken over. We see not only books now but telescopes, ukuleles and robotic balls through our checkouts. On Fridays, we see a steady string of visitors picking up movies. And on Monday, a rush of returns.

Our jobs are first and foremost customer service, defined by the people we meet: victims of a local fire seeking community resources, new immigrants scanning and preparing documents for applications and jobs, parents seeking support resources, grandparents with their grandchildren hunting for picture books, and youth in alternative school programs working hard to overcome life’s adversities. We are a diverse staff from many different educational and life backgrounds. And we’re here to help.

We end our days by replenishing and resetting for the next day. Staff are always learning something new — new technologies, new procedures, new services. Public libraries are not static or stuffy; we’re vibrant and fast-paced. If you haven’t been to a public library in a while, you’ll be pleasantly surprised what we have to offer.

The greatest compliment you can give us this month? Stop by and get a library card. You’ll be glad you did.

Marisa Tutt is a librarian based at the George Mackie Library in North Delta.



editor@northdeltareporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Former students’ mural showcasing Delta elementary school’s new logo on hold, for now

Ashriya and Karam Purewal painted the spirit logo last spring; formal logo mural delayed due to COVID

Delta Foundation grants Big Sisters over $5,000 for academic mentoring program

Funding made available through the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund

Surrey man found guilty in West Kelowna killing of common-law spouse

Tejwant Danjou was convicted of second-degree murder in the July 2018 death of Rama Gauravarapu in West Kelowna

Surrey monitoring traffic as vehicles again clog city streets

Compared with city’s 2019 weekly average, deepest volume reduction was in late March with up to 46 per cent less vehicles

New collective debuts with Crescent Beach show

Nela Hallwas and Lyn Verra-Lay team for ‘Flow’

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Conservation seizes fawn illegally kept captive in Vancouver Island home

A Comox Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

35,000 doses of fentanyl part of huge Maple Ridge bust

Largest seizure in RCMP detachment’s history included submachine gun, body armour

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Most Read