The Library – An Invaluable Institution by Library Science student JH

A gush of warmth pools around my face as I walk through the front door. Roaming the vast halls through the dimly light area, I find my way to the back of the room and settle into my usual corner. Amongst the wide variety available, I select my favorite from the shelf: a ruffled, almost antique mystery waiting to be uncovered. Living in a technology-dominated society has helped improve efficiency in many aspects; however, the library – a place filled with endless possibilities and resources – is arguably one of the most valuable institutions available. A library is not only a sanctuary to develop life skills and stimulate creativity, but also a place to find one’s identity.

Auto-correct. A miniscule function that has become a dependent variable for many. In contrast, the library, has helped establish a literate society over the past centuries, in which people do not need to rely on auto-correct to function. The reason being: sturdy reference books and dictionaries are available at hand, forcing the past generations to physically search for the words they need to spell. Some may see this as an inefficient burden, but through years of constant practice the ability to find resources becomes almost innate. In this way, the library acts as an enforcer, influencing people to work for what they need or want, whether that goal is finding a quote out of a reference book, or researching for a science presentation. These skills can be applied to areas outside of the library, such as behaviors in work places and even attitudes in relationships. Libraries establish a basic foundation for users, teaching people, whether young students or working parents, many life skills that are necessary in daily life.

Browsing areas are often kept quiet in libraries in order to provide the best learning environment for concentration. Herein, one is given various outlets to draw inspiration from. Perhaps it will be the two moons – instead of the generic one – on the endpaper of 1Q84 that draws attention, or the multi-coloured splatters on the spine of a novel in the kids section.  These books are substantial resources found in libraries that are much more compelling than a mere scroll across the screen to turn a page. And even in the most silent rooms, an amazingly designed cover of a tangible novel can act as a conversation starter. A stranger’s suggestion may lead to finding one of the best reads. Stories and backgrounds will be shared; thoughts conversed; brilliant minds joined in the quiet, mundane – as many tend to think – library. The library provides more than just hushed study areas and comfy couches; it is a playground – one open to people of  all ages and sizes to begin the construction of their own fantasies.

Lastly, it is through the sanctuary of a library that one may discover his own identity. The multitude of reference books may allow him to cross over a period of time, in which he strolls along the roads of the olden days, reminiscing his heritage. Among books, libraries also contain one of the most invaluable resources: Librarians. These are the knowledgeable people who may help one discover his likes and interests. They provide tangible ideas and advice – sincere thoughts that cannot be attained even through the most developed technology. Perhaps a thorough conservation about how to continue a novel in progress during a writer’s block will help one discover he has a knack for writing. One might walk into a library merely to seek comfort in a book, but walk away with conviction, knowing he is on the right path to finding his success.

Even as technology continues to develop exponentially in the 21st century, the tangible experiences and attributes found at a library cannot easily be undermined. A library is a mentor; a warehouse of the thoughts of brilliant minds; and, unlike a hard drive, one is able to experience the physical and emotional results after slaving away at his typewriter till the wee hours of the morning. And even as one mystery ends, a door to another contains yet another thrilling experience in the quiet refuge of a library.

Welcome Back to School!

Welcome back everyone!  It’s a new year of possibilities for all of us.  Please think of the Library as the place to get the information you need, whatever that might be, to be able to achieve your very best.  We are open  from 8:00am to 4:00pm, Monday to Friday.  Our goal is to serve the students and staff of North Surrey, so come in and ask away.

I came across this great video created by young adult author John Green recently.  It’s always great to begin the year with a little inspiration, and he has a great message here about going to school.  Enjoy!

If you build it they will come…if you ask them what they’d like!

Our library space changed dramatically over the summer, and it occurred to me that I had never really given our staff, as a whole, my version of what the heck happened!  At a recent staff meeting I had an opportunity to present my vision of what the North Surrey Library was becoming. It afforded me a great opportunity to reflect and articulate where I believe the library is heading.

I have been a librarian for a long time, longer that I will admit here. I love libraries. I love everything they stand for, their long and noble history, and their prospects for the future.  Recent profound changes both in information technology and education means that the library is transforming itself, once again, and through the Learning Commons we are poised to continue to serve our students and remain as important players in the information management world.

The library was characterized by a highly managed and organized collection, explicit control of circulation and acquisitions, required specific, and often excluding, behaviors and was a place where knowledge was consumed. In contrast, the learning commons is concerned more with the connections that are made within our space, has less traditional control over the information and the infomation seeker, allows more diverse behaviors and encourages the creation of knowledge.

Importantly, I counseled our staff not to panic, because in my eyes what the learning commons stands for is really no different, or less noble, than the library. Call it what you want, but providing individuals with an opportunity to better themselves, providing groups with opportunities to create better communities, providing free access to information for all users and maintaining our place as a vital part of formal and informal education are lofty goals to which we have long aspired. These have not changed.

So the learning commons is ours to create, and I was keen to learn what our staff would like the space to become. Here are some of the fabulous ideas from the North Surrey staff:
More of a Starbucks atmosphere
A source for technology and support
A venue for team teaching
A location for sharing
A creative environment for exploration and risk taking
A showcase for the display of student work
A place for structured tutoring for students
Human library – “borrow” and expert
A place to link curriculum to real life

I have my work cut out for me, but by working together and constantly and creatively pushing the boundaries of our beautiful space, figuratively and literally, we will create a wonderful Library and Learning Commons for North Surrey Secondary.

What Can I Do With A Degree In…

North Surrey Library Science students have put together this great list from Canadian universities on what you can do with a degree in…

University of Toronto – Careers By Degree

University of the Fraser Valley – Bachelor’s Degree Careers

UBC – What Can I Do With My Major

University of Victoria – What Can You Do With Your Degree

Queen’s University – What To Do With A Degree In…

University of Manitoba – What Can I Do

McGill – What Do You Want To Be