Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Break-in at the Library

It is with much sadness and regret that today I must report on the mis-deeds of person or persons unknown. Sometime during the night of Friday, November 19 or early morning Saturday, November 20, the library was broken into. A quantity of cash was stolen, including the donation box that sat on the circulation desk and the door from the main library to the staff room was damaged when the thief(s) chiseled out the lock.

It is believed that the perp(s) unlocked a side window sometime while the library was opened and entered through it. The goal was money, but the library’s blue ray player was also found missing. Oddly, though, the blue ray player was later discovered sitting on top of the magazine shelf next to the emergency exit that the thief(s) left through. I guess climbing back out the window was too much work!

The break in was discovered by a library employee, who had come in to do some printing before the library opened. Upon finding the staff room door splintered and the lock gone, the employee called the Chief Librarian, who, after telling the employee not to touch anything, rushed to the scene of the crime.

The RCMP were notified and responded to the report shortly before noon on Saturday. The investigating constable photographed the scene and took several items to finger print in hopes of catching the culprit(s). Ident declined to come to the library, stating that if they were to find any prints it would be on the items taken into evidence. The discovery of the blue ray player was duly reported to the police as well. It sits, still, on the shelf, waiting to become evidence in the crime some five hours after the call was made to the RCMP.

The extent of the outfall from this burglary is yet to be determined. Staff members are left feeling violated and suspicious. There is a pall over the library that hasn’t been there before. Programs have had to be cancelled. The NID Matinee cannot go on without the blue ray player and telling the kids who look forward to the free movie and popcorn is going to be hard for the staff. The Canfor Room cannot be rented out to groups until the staff room can be secured again.

This hurtful betrayal of trust will, I’m sure, have long-term effects. It is unlikely that the criminal(s) will ever be caught, much less made to make restitution for the loss and the damage that was caused.

What makes someone do such a thing? A library is supposed to be a safe place. The staff work hard to make patrons feel welcome and to provide a warm and inviting atmosphere for any and all who walk through the door. To be repaid in such a manner is heartbreaking.

But there is still so much to be thankful for and appreciated and the staff have not lost sight of the good things their jobs entail. The smile on children’s faces when they find the perfect book to read or DVD to watch. The kindness and gratitude of the patrons. The joy of expressing themselves creatively through programs and displays. The satisfaction of helping people find great books or sound information. Library work is fun, challenging and interesting. There is always something new to learn and exciting to share.

In spite of this unpleasant incident, HPL is forging ahead with great programs and services for everyone. It remains a Community Place!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Let's Keep 'em Hopping

Wow! I can’t believe that it’s been three whole months since I’ve posted anything. Sheesh! But in my own defense, it has been a busy three months! My staff, board and patrons have been kept hopping and I have to say that I kind of like all the hopping!

Just this past Monday and Tuesday, I listened in while our Chief Librarian, Toni McKilligan participated in a virtual workshop on Social Media. The exciting possibilities discussed in the workshop inspired me to take some time this chilly Thursday evening and revive my blogging skills. While Toni jotted down sources and resources for expanding our Social Media presence, I decided to set up a new Facebook account for HPL. It was high time, I thought, to give HPL its own FB page and now Toni is charged with the task of training the staff to use it to promote me! She’s probably thinking that she doesn’t need anything else on her plate at the moment, but she’s a trooper; I’m sure she’ll figure it out. (You can check out the new FB page here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/edit/?id=176164105732299&sk=basic#!/pages/Houston-BC/Houston-Public-Library/176164105732299)

The staff are all busy these days. Adele is currently enjoying the creative side of librarianship. She’s making 3D snowflakes to hang from my drop ceiling. They will add a festive touch to the up-coming holiday season that is coming at us faster than Alexander McCall Smith can pump out books! (How many has he published this year?) And she’s keeping up with all the other stuff Assistant Librarians do, too.

Mrs. Erna is busy with Mother Goose, Toddler Time and Story Time. These programs are already in their sixth week and Mrs. Erna is already thinking about the wind-up party that will happen at Story Time on December 17th. She’s also keeping up with the many, many ILL requests that my patrons and other libraries make every day.
If there was a Master Shelver designation, it would belong to my favourite Page, Sara. This girl keeps my collection in perfect order so staff and patrons can easily find what they are looking for. She’s one of the most efficient Pages ever! And she’s pretty handy at covering the circ desk, ILL desk and any other desk when the need arises.

And Toni is busy planning ahead. She’s started working on the January Calendar of Events, getting it ready for distribution in mid-December. I don’t know how she keeps it all straight! Besides the finances and books and programs and scheduling and statistics and reports and e-mails and computer problems and meetings and … the list goes on! ... she somehow manages to lend me a hand (or two) now and then to write this blog.

I must say that I’ve been enjoying all this busyness and bustle. And I’m determined to do my part and keep those in Bloggerland up to date with what’s happening at HPL. My goal is a weekly post. (We’ll see how that goes!)

Anyway, if you have some time and would like to stop by for a visit, I’d be happy to open my doors to you and will welcome the company! There are some great new books on the shelves; some great old ones, too! (And together let's keep Toni, Adele, Erna and Sara hopping.)