Since the new Charleswood Library threw open its doors in January, it’s been a whirlwind of activity at the branch.
Inside the spacious building, library staff have been busy delivering a wide range of programs for the whole community. Leading this effort is Charleswood Library Branch Head Librarian, Nadine McCaughan. CNC sat down with Ms. McCaughan to find out more about all this exciting activity at Winnipeg’s newest library.
CNC: What is your role at the new Charleswood Library and what is it like for you to be in that position?
NM: I am the Branch Head Librarian at Charleswood Library. This is a challenging position as I am responsible for managing staff, collections, programming, outreach, and our work area itself. We have a great staff at Charleswood Library and a great community so it makes my job alot easier. People have embraced the changes and are very supportive of our new adult programming and outreach efforts. I love my job.
CNC: Tell me what the opening of the new Charleswood Library was like?
NM: The opening of the new Charleswood Library was a great success. In fact, I even surprised myself with how well things turned out! The teachers and students from Dieppe School have been very supportive. They were a large part of the success. Our book chain from the old library was alot of fun and offered the community the chance to say ‘good-bye’ to the old branch and welcome the new space.
Charleswood Library patrons were happy to attend the event and even a local baker happily provided some delicious treats for the opening. The Charleswood community was very involved. We were also pleased that the Mayor and our local councillor, Marty Morantz, were able to attend.
CNC: What was the response from the public on that opening day and what’s been the response from those who have visited since?
NM: People have been pleasantly surprised at the size of the branch. From the outside you cannot tell that it houses such a large area. They love the natural lighting. They also like the way we now organize our collections. They have also embraced the new technologies, our Self Check-out stations and our Returns Machine. The public are very pleased with the design of the new space. People are often reading the paper in front of the fireplace, which makes me very happy.
CNC: What are some of the things you like best about this new branch?
NM: I love that everything is new, clean and organized! It is such an easy space to work in. The lighting in the branch is superb. The program room and meeting room are such an important addition to a local library. We now have the opportunity to offer more programming opportunities and respond more easily to community needs.
Plus, my office! I love my new office. We didn’t have a programming room and my office was in the staff kitchen in the basement at the old library.
Since we have a programming room we are now able to have a variety of programs including Aaron Burnett who played to 60 plus people on Valentine’s Day.
CNC: What are the some of the biggest challenges you are facing with the opening of this new branch?
NM: We now have twice the amount of people coming into the branch, twice as many check-outs and twice as many returns, with the same number of staff. And we want this to continue!
Plus we’ve been looking forward to having programming space for so long, that we want to host every program that is offered so we have a program almost every day and we are constantly hosting tours.
The new technologies have presented a welcome challenge as well. Staff have been kept very busy demonstrating how to use these technologies – our self-checkout units, a new Returns machine, and questions about our online eBooks, streaming movies from our Hoopla service, homework help databases and other offerings.
CNC: What are some of the special things or highlights that will be happening in the days and months ahead at the Charleswood Library?
NM: There is alot happening! We had a school tour scheduled almost every day for the month of February.
We are also offering tours for different organizations and groups. So, if you want a tour, contact the branch! I will be reaching out to more schools in the coming months.
As well, we will be featuring another Family Story time. Currently we have one on Monday nights at 6:30 pm. We will now also have one on Tuesday afternoons at 2 pm. This is in addition to our Baby Rhyme Times on Thursday and Friday mornings at 10:30 am. Plus, we are also having programs for 6-8 year olds, 9-12 year olds and teens. Our Youth Advisory Council is planning a Mockingjay Mania party Saturday, March 28th from 2-4 pm.
We’ve also started an adult book club, and a National Film Board of Canada film club. We can also now offer computer programs, Law in the Library programs, genealogy programs and Maker programs.
CNC: What is a Maker program?
NM: Maker programs provide opportunities for people of all ages to create, experiment and collaborate in a self-directed, hands-on learning environment. During Spring Break, on March 31st from 2-4 pm, we are offering a Little Bits program for 9-12 year olds. During this program, kids make, create and invent with electronic modules that snap together with magnets. They can build a flashlight using cardboard tubing, a plastic cup and basic electronics.
For adults we are hosting a Paper Circuits program on April 23rd from 6-8pm. Adults learn the basics of electricity and apply it to creating a card that lights up or a paper house or whatever they like. Maker programs are about experimenting.
During Spring Break we are also hosting Reading with Raptors for the whole family on Saturday, April 4th at 2 pm. All library programs are free – registration is required for some programs.
All photos © All rights reserved by Winnipeg Public Library / Reprinted with permission
Check out more photos of the grand opening of Charleswood Library by clicking here