"at your library" in the north island eagle: 'tis (almost) the season: your library can help

This holiday season, give a gift that entertains, educates, and informs – all for free. I am happy to announce – back by popular demand – another season of "Give Library". Your favourite library branch has beautifully packaged library cards ready for you to pick up.

Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) cards are good at all 39 branches, from Sooke to Masset, from Tofino to Quadra Island. The card gives you access to millions of books, eBooks, audiobooks, streaming movies, digital music, video games, and magazines and newspapers from around the world. They make great stocking stuffers.

Your library can help you with your holiday preparations in so many ways. Tired of the same old recipes? Wondering how to make Christmas dinner in your Instant Pot? Need a new gluten-free baking challenge? Cookbooks are among the most popular of all library materials.

Looking for craft or design ideas? Your library has the best kept secret of the DIY and crafting world: the Hobbies and Crafts Reference Center. This e-resource is a an incredible collection of ideas and instructions in categories such as Arts & Crafts, Collecting, Home & Garden, Indoor Recreation, Model Building, Needlecrafts & Textiles, Scrapbooking & Paper Crafts, Performing Arts, Science & Technology… and under each of those, there are dozens more categories – far too many to list here!

Each category offers articles, videos, and complete books. Whether you're thinking of a beautiful hand-made gift, easy holiday d├ęcor for your home, or a fun craft to share with co-workers, the Hobbies and Crafts Reference Center has the answers. It's all available to you, at no cost, through your library card.

Could this be your incentive to learn more about your library's e-resources? I can think of many library customers whose eyes will light up when they see what's available. If you're a bit intimidated or unsure of how to use this fun database, we're here to help.

On a more serious note, December is a difficult time for many people, especially in the north where the hours of daylight are so short. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that is triggered by the change of seasons, and it's very common. The holidays can also be a time when we miss people who are gone, or when we feel lonely, surrounded by images of happy families. Media images of a "consumer Christmas" – where we are urged to spend, spend, spend – can leave us feeling inadequate and dissatisfied with our lives.

If you recognize yourself here, I encourage you to explore possible pathways to feel better. Your library is well stocked in books and articles on self-help, spirituality, and physical and mental well-being. If you need help finding information, library staff takes your privacy seriously. You can be assured that anything you share with us will be confidential.

And finally, your library is a place of community and sharing, for the holidays and every day. Come in and enjoy.

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