Director's Message - June

May 28, 2021 Rachel Dick Hughes

We were excited to hear the new provincial re-opening plan last week. Plans are already underway at the library for in-person program opportunities during the summer and then through the autumn months. Watch for our popular Mother Goose in the Park program in partnership with 5 for Life Early Childhood and Trellis Commons Family Resource Network. Our Summer Reading Coordinators are busy making plans, and we know that following the disrupted school year, their work will be more important than ever.

It has been a hard season, and here at the library we have been encouraging one another to build self-care into our daily routines. Whether we spend time outside, get some exercise, take time away from screens, pause to take deep breaths, or call a good friend, we all need to work hard to stay well, mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. The pandemic certainly has brought the importance of self-care to the fore, and I hope it is a lesson we carry with us as we emerge from this year.

We hope you have found healthy ways to care for yourself, and we look forward to re-connecting with you in person soon! Check out our Self-Care Bingo and join us. And when our doors re-open this month, keep an eye out for our Gratitude Board and add your contribution.

Unsurprisingly, many of us at the library find reading is a great way of taking some time to recharge. Here are some of my recommended recent reads:

  • Juvenile books are the perfect thing to pick up when you want to enjoy a good story that doesn’t demand too much of you. Bernice Buttman, Model Citizen by Niki Lenz features a lovable bully of a protagonist who ends up living with her aunt (who happens to be a nun) and two other nuns, one of whom speaks only in quotes from children’s books. This book was a real delight.
  • Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis tells a fictional story based in a real settlement of runaway and formerly enslaved people in Ontario. The story was moving and well-told, and would be appropriate for ages 10 and up.
  • For adult historical fiction, I enjoyed Our Darkest Night by Jennifer Robson. This novel follows a family in rural Italy through the Second World War. The characters are beautiful, and Robson is an excellent storyteller who does thorough research for her books.
  • The Paris Library by Janet Charles Skeslien features dual timelines. In one, a young woman secures a job at a library in Paris in 1939 and is welcomed into a diverse and well-described community of characters. We encounter our protagonist again in rural Montana in 1983 where she is drawn from her isolation by a lonely teenaged girl next door. This was a quick and engaging read.
  • I have read a lot of fiction based on the residential school system in Canada, but Five Little Indians by Michelle Good may very well be the most devastating. Without dwelling unnecessarily on the horrors her characters experienced at the school, the author’s depiction of the struggle to find life and healing after trauma is unmatched. This book is particularly important in light of the recent discovery at the Kamloops Indian Residential School.
  • Finally, I appreciated the book Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May. This beautifully written book encouraged me to consider the value of slowing down and taking the time to listen to and care for yourself.  Even though we are well past winter, this book was a great reminder as we head into a busier season of life.

We look forward to seeing you and hearing all about the books you are reading and the habits you are developing to stay well. In the meantime take care, and please call us if there is anything we can do for you.

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