north island book tour and community meetings: what i'm up to at the library

Inside the Port Hardy Library
September and October have been a whirlwind for me at the library. 

In September, we hosted a locally famous author. Yvonne Maximchuk lives on a remote island in the Broughton Archipelago, and writes about the people who live in these tiny coastal communities. She has friends all over the North Island, and there's a lot of local interest in her work. 

I needed a special event for Port Hardy (my largest branch) in September, and at the same time was planning Customer Appreciation Days at two smaller branches -- and the whole thing just came together. 

I ended up organizing a five-community book tour. In two of those stops, Maximchuk was the featured guest at a big party. For the kids, there was face-paining, balloon animals, music, and games. For the adults, there was food from local bakers, and many prize draws -- an autographed copy of the book, original art by local artists, gift cards for local businesses.

Our smallest branches rarely host special programs like this -- and of course there was no in-person programming for a long time, because of covid -- so both the staff and the communities were thrilled. The author also had a wonderful experience, and she was a joy to work with. Attendance at the parties exceeded all our expectations.

Here's a story about one event from a local newspaper.

In October, I'm facilitating public meetings in each of the five communities my branches serve. 

Our library system is currently creating a new strategic plan for the next five years. Part of that process is gathering ideas and priorities from the community. In addition to the in-person community meetings, there are interviews, surveys, online meetings, and focus groups. 

So far we've hosted two meetings, with three more planned. We had special training in the facilitation process, and it's an interesting challenge. We're there to capture what is said, but not to discuss or debate -- or even agree or disagree. We also have to adhere to a fairly strict format and timeline. One staff member is working with me for all five meetings. We're enjoying the process, and we'll be glad when it's over.

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