Forest of Reading/Festival of Trees

By: Ashley Prince

Last month I had the awesome opportunity to volunteer at the Festival of Trees event at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. The Festival of Trees is basically the Woodstock of book festivals for children and tweens. This event runs for three days and schools come from all over and celebrate Canadian children`s authors and illustrators.
There were awards ceremonies to celebrate the different categories of children and youth authors as well as entertainment, games, food, and the kids can get a book autographed with their name from their favourite author which is something they can keep with them for the rest of their lives.

Encouraging children to read and enjoy reading is something that is integral to a successful future. This festival lets them meet the person who wrote the characters they can relate to and allows them to have a fun filled day with their classmates.
The entertainment was amazing. Scott Cooper was there and sang songs about each of the novels nominated. He has always written the songs and went around to the elementary schools to sing them but this is the first year that he was actually and entertainer at the festival and he was incredible. They also had a poetry slam and aboriginal dancers with a positive message about the earth.
Volunteering at the festival was one of the best things I’ve ever done professionally. Seeing how excited the kids were to be there and how involved they were with the festivities was a truly humbling experience. Reading truly is alive and well with today’s youth.

Celebrating Family Literacy Day

By A. Kelly
Community Programs Supervisor – Midland Public Library

On Friday January 27, our beautiful building was abuzz with youthful excitement and laughter.

Over 100 people gathered for our Family Literacy Day celebrations, where the library was transformed into the whimsical world of Alice in Wonderland!

An annual Canada-wide initiative, Family Literacy Day raises awareness of the benefits of reading together and enjoying literacy activities as a family.

“Snuggling up with a book, or playing a game with colours or letters does so much more than teach kids to read,” Crystal Budgell, Midland’s Chief Librarian says, “It strengthens our families and encourages lifelong learning – which is essential in today’s landscape. We like to say ‘there’s no app like your lap!’”

As our first year celebrating Family Literacy Day, the event’s success was doubly meaningful. It also marked our first community event of 2017 on our new mission to be Midland’s central learning and leisure hub. The families’ overwhelmingly positive responses on January 27 told us this is a welcome step, and that future celebrations will be greeted with enthusiasm.

So stay tuned Midland, we have so much more in our “hats”!

The Real Midland Public Library

By Ashley Prince
Circulation Clerk

Public libraries have come a long way over the years. It’s not your stereotypical older lady, hair in a tight grey bun, staring over her horned rimmed glasses, telling you to “shhh”. That public library is long gone. Somehow though, when many people think about the library, that’s the first thought that comes to mind. Even I, myself, had these thoughts before I started working in libraries.

Libraries are so much more than just dusty books and cranky old ladies. Libraries are gathering hubs for communities.  More and more libraries are making their spaces more creative and livelier for people of all ages by improving digital literacy, you will see a shift in how libraries are perceived in the future.

There is nothing wrong with signing out a good book to read. I too still prefer sliding my fingers along the pages, and smelling the fresh woody scent of a new book. However, when people say that the children are our future, they are telling the truth. Technology for children seems to be starting younger and younger. Libraries are finding ways to tap into this resource. For example, Midland Public Library has a Facebook page and Twitter feed where they post about library news, upcoming programs, and just topics of general interest. Technology is being used to get the word out about the library and what is offered.

We at Midland Public Library are working to deliver more programming that taps into technology. Recently we did a Minecraft day which is a video game where children, teens, and adults alike mine their own blocks and then build villages and various terrain out of them. You can build your own tools, plant a farm, harvest food, have animals, and there is even a survival mode where you fend for yourself against other players, hunger, and various other types of danger. It is a game where the players are forced to use their minds – learning problem solving skills. This game is so popular and educational that the company has released an education version of it for teachers to use in their classrooms to help with their lesson plans. You will see Minecraft stations at the Midland Public Library in our soon to be opened new Tween space.

Libraries are so much more than books. We continue to grow and change with Midland. We are working to respond better to the needs of our community. We are here to connect you to the world, to help you grow and prosper. We invite you to come by the Midland Public Library and grow with us!