By Heather Killen
Book lovers in Bear River had a chance to check out the library’s new test site at the Oakdene Centre last week.
The Annapolis Valley Regional Library has introduced a pilot project to test three satellite library locations in Springfield, Bear River, and Summerville. These sites are open for four hours every three weeks, replacing the bookmobile stops to those communities.
Wendy Kearnes, outreach services manager, says this pilot project is being introduced on a trial basis to service the communities not being served by a library branch, or visited by the bookmobile. Like the bookmobile service, people can order books in advance and then pick up and return materials when the site is open.
The satellite library site also provides a computer CAP Site with high speed internet, as well as regular library programing. Kearnes said that while people miss seeing the bookmobile, this new outreach service is open longer and is scheduled to be more accessible for those working during the day.
“One of the things people have said is that they would like our hours to be more convenient,” she said. “We have fewer materials onsite for browsing, but the majority of people borrow from our online catalogue which is extensive.”
Kearnes said the bookmobile is now operating one day per week, only servicing remote communities such as Scots Bay. The vehicle is due for replacement, but the $300,000 sticker price is not in the library’s budget.
The regional library budget has been frozen for the past few years and current funding levels don’t allow for a new bookmobile. Kearnes added that over the last year the vehicle has already cost the library about $20,000 in repairs.
Its furnace and generator both needed replacement and now the vehicle is due to be inspected. She added that another big repair is likely to end the service entirely. While some people are disappointed to lose the bookmobile, so far this pilot project is being well received.
“Many of the patrons have been coming to the bookmobile for years, it’s been part of the routine,” she said. “We all miss the bus but -- not having the bus -- this is the next best thing, now we want suggestions on how we can tweak this service to make it better for users.”
Depends on Interest
Kearnes added she doesn’t know how long the pilot project will last, but it’s likely to depend on how much interest the community shows for this type of service. The library is interested in hearing suggestions for programs and services that people want to access.
Staff is available to offer the same kind of assistance that is provided in the regular branches.
“We can give computer tutorials, show how to download books for e-readers, and how to get pictures from digital cameras, or find recipes online,” she said. “The selection of books we have here is only a small part of what we can offer.”
People can search the library's online catalogue at www.valleylibrary.ca and find more than 200,000 items. Materials can be ordered online, or by calling the toll free number 1-866-922-0229 ext 234.
The Bear River Satellite Library Site is open at the Oakdene Centre from 3 until 7 p.m. every third week, with the next visit to take place December 4.
The Springfield Satellite Library Site is open at the Baptist Church from 3 until 7 p.m. every third week, with the next visit to take place December 10.