SEGUIN TWP. – There’s a lot more than just books at the Foley library.
Robert Bockstael, left, the branch librarian at the Foley Branch of the Seguin Public Libraries and Arvind Singh, CEO and chief librarian, are working to make the library even better at serving patron needs.
Roland Cillers/Beacon Star
Part of the Seguin Public Libraries, which also includes libraries in Christie, Humphrey and Rosseau, the small community library has kicked off several ambitious plans to better serve the community. Located in the Foley Activity Centre, administrators see the building as a place that can fill a wide range of community needs.
Arvind Singh, CEO and chief librarian of Seguin Public Libraries, said the Foley location is evolving with the times.
“Libraries are changing in many ways. The traditional role of a library is a quiet place where you go in and the librarians are going ‘Shh!’ all the time. Now it’s becoming much more of a common shared space for the community where everyone can come in. They can feel welcome to use the space in different ways,” Singh said.
For example, patrons are invited to take advantage of the high speed internet connection available at the library or to use it’s significant genealogy resources to research a family history. Through the changes, the library hasn’t disregarded its more traditional role either, it has an sizable collection of books.
The collection is even more impressive when one considers the interconnectedness of the Seguin Public Libraries. If a patron is looking for a particular book that happens to be in a different branch, the librarian will bring it to you. The system works the other way as well.
“If someone gets a book at Humphrey library, but they’re in this area so they should be able to drop off the book here without any problem. Sometimes, that wasn’t always consistent. We want to make sure people know they have access to all libraries with their membership,” Singh said.
The Foley library also provides its members with a range of services people might not expect a library to have. A tackle share program is available for people with appropriate licenses, and a new program has made pedometers available to those looking for some technological assistance with their fitness goals.
Unfortunately, the Foley library has also been dealing with some significant challenges lately. In the recent past, the building was the site of two break and enters.
“We did a thorough review of health and safety. To me, it became an opportunity to look at all the libraries, not just Foley, even though the incidents were here, and to look at health and safety at all our libraries in terms of what we need to do,” said Singh.
In response, security has been beefed up at the building, and new policies have been established for everything from workplace harassment to working alone.
Robert Bockstael, the branch librarian at Foley, said the new policies are now fresh in the staff’s minds, and that they represent a very positive step.
Other positive steps include a massive upcoming increase in the libraries’ DVD collection. A pair of donors have come forward and provided roughly $5,000 worth of films on DVD.
Bockstael said it’s always nice to see people stop by the library who are visiting it for the first time.
“There’s an awful lot of people who come in with this wonderful attitude of having not been in a library since maybe they were young, and you can always tell those people when they walk in the front door,” said Bockstael. “They stop and look around and they’ve got this little smile on their face like, ‘I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be in a library.’”
To Bockstael, the Foley library fills the same roll that libraries around the world have been performing for hundreds of years.
“It’s a place of life-long learning,” said Bockstael. “It’s a place of quiet where you can focus your energy. There’s available resources here that may not be available in your living room at the same time there are some comfortable places to sit like their are in your living room.
“We’ve got some nice chairs and whatnot. It’s warm. There are friendly people. There’s always someone here to talk with, and also we have high speed internet.”
For more information, stop by the Foley Library located at 76 Rankin Lake Road in Seguin. The library is currently open 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.