Keep your kids engaged this summer with the TD Summer Reading Club

April 6th, 1990

June 16, 2017

Oakville Public Library (OPL) is getting ready to launch their annual TD Summer Reading Club (TDSRC) this month. TDSRC is a great program that engages and motivates children to read throughout the summer months through goal setting and rewards.

This year’s program, which commences later this month, is themed around Canada’s 150th birthday. Children who sign up for the program can select through a wide variety books to read, including books by Canadian authors – independently or with a parent, guardian, or friend.

The program, which promotes literacy, encourages reading from a young age, and boosts confidence, saw over 3,500 participants last year.

Parents can register their child for the program beginning June 26 and set their reading goals together. Children have the opportunity to set three goals in total – once they have accomplished each goal, they are able to visit any OPL branch to report back and receive their prize.

This year’s prizes include vouchers to Conservation Halton and the YMCA, as well as coupons to McDonalds.

The library has also set-up a number of TDSRC programs through July and August that children and families can enjoy while working toward their goals. Some noteworthy events include our Summer Celebration to commemorate Canada’s birthday, the Great Canadian Magic Show, and our Celebrating Stories program with an appearance by a Canadian author.

There are also numerous drop-in programs to keep children engaged, such as our Summer Storytimes, LEGO™time, and our themed Celebrating Canada drop-ins.

This year’s TD Summer Reading Club has been made possible thanks to our wonderful sponsors: Conservation Halton, YMCA of Oakville, McDonalds, Legoland, the Optimist Club, Centre for Equitable Library Access, the Friends of the Oakville Public Library, and of course, TD Bank.

TDSRC is also largely supported by volunteers who help run the drop-in sessions as well as interact and encourage the children to reach their goals throughout the program.

The library is currently accepting applications for those interested in volunteering. If you or someone you know is in high school and looking to accumulate their volunteer hours for credit or add experience to their resume, this is the perfect opportunity.

We are excited to jumpstart the program again this year, and look forward to seeing more children get excited about literacy and reading.

For more information on the TD Summer Reading Club, volunteering, and more, please visit

Ask the Blue Shirt Experts about new tech at Oakville Public Library’s new interactive digital series

April 7th, 1990

June 2, 2017

Last month, Oakville Public Library (OPL) introduced a new digital program in partnership with Best Buy Burlington. The new drop-in series, Ask the Blue Shirt Expert, invites customers of all ages to get hands-on and explore the latest trends in technology with top-selling items from Best Buy.

Customers have the chance to talk with tech experts from the big-box store, ask questions about technology, get one-on-one interactive tutorials, and test out high-tech gadgets.

OPL launched on May 2 with wearable technology. At the session, the Blue Shirt experts introduced three trending smart watches, including the Martian Smartwatch, the ASUS ZenWatch, and the widely popular Apple Watch.

After the experts demonstrated each watch, customers were able to wear and “test-drive” the devices, allowing them to see how they could use it in their everyday lives.

The series will continue to run on the first Tuesday of each month.

At the June 6 Ask the Blue Shirt Expert session, the experts will present Best Buy’s best-selling drones. At this session, customers will learn all about drone technology and how they are used in various industries.

Upcoming topics for the Ask the Blue Shirt expert program include DSLRs and Go Pros, today’s newest toys, and gaming.

Oakville Public Library is excited to collaborate with Best Buy in educating the community on the uses of new technology, adding to OPL’s already robust digital portfolio.

For more information about OPL’s Ask the Blue Shirt Expert program and other digital resources and tech services available to customers, please visit

Oakville Public Library announces 2016-19 Strategic Plan

April 8th, 1990

May 25, 2017

OAKVILLE, ON – Oakville Public Library (OPL) is pleased to announce the launch of its 2016-19 Strategic Plan.

With a focus on expanding its resources, revitalizing its spaces, and promoting lifelong learning, this new plan outlines the series of goals and objectives that the library will implement over the next two years.

In an effort to enhance its overall customer experience, the library determined its areas of greatest needs and developed overarching goals and objectives to work toward accomplishing.

The plan encompasses initiatives such as creating fully accessible branches with thriving atmospheres, extending the library’s engagement by participating in additional community events, and increasing the library’s fundraising goals.

“Our team worked diligently to address the wants and needs of our community in this plan,” says Councillor Jeff Knoll, Board Chair. “We put a lot of thought and effort into developing our strategic direction, and we are excited to start working toward achieving our organizational goals.”

The planning process took several months to complete and included numerous consultations, interviews, surveys, and discussions with key library stakeholders and community members.

“OPL has come a long way over the past few years, and we have many exciting plans for the future,” says Knoll. “With this new plan in place, we are able to focus on a direction and we are able to envision what our library will look like in 2019.”

The Oakville Public Library 2016-19 Strategic Plan is available to view online at

Specialized programming for Oakville seniors

April 9th, 1990

May 19, 2017

Oakville Public Library (OPL) has planned a series of programs that both inform and engage Oakville seniors.

OPL started their Seniors’ Series program this past April, and continues to run this popular imitative with sessions every Wednesday until June 7. This free, drop-in program offers topics ranging from invasive species and advanced care planning, to learning and meeting Oakville’s Mayor, Rob Burton.

This past week, OPL welcomed the Town of Oakville’s Age-Friendly Committee to present the results of the Town’s latest Age-Friendly Survey. The group discussed the survey’s findings and had an open forum for participants to share their personal thoughts.

The library also collaborated with the Halton Environmental Network, Acclaim Health, and SAVIS for the Seniors’ Series, and will be working with The Tomato Ladies for the upcoming “Eating Healthy on a Budget” session on May 24.

“This series was developed to provide important information on common issues and topics that arise within the senior community,” says Kathleen Staves, who plans and organizes seniors programs. “It also gives them the opportunity to raise their own questions, and have their voices heard.”

After the series wraps up, seniors will still have the opportunity to attend four in-depth programs on managing finances.

The Finance 101 for Seniors program will begin on June 11 and cover the topic of retirement planning. The series continues on June 18 with information about estate planning, and again on July 9 for charitable giving and wealth transfer. The series wraps up with a final presentation on the financial aspects of caregiving, which will be held on July 16.

“We encourage seniors to come out and attend any of these programs,” says Staves. “It’s a great opportunity to learn more about topics that directly relate to them, and allows them to meet and connect with other seniors in our town.”

If you’re interested in attending a Seniors’ Series or Finance 101 for Seniors session, please view our program and events guide for information on dates, times, and how to register. Our guide is available at all OPL branches, and is accessible online at

Oakville Public Library releases 2016 Report to the Community

April 10th, 1990

May 15, 2017

OAKVILLE, ON – Oakville Public Library (OPL) is happy to present its 2016 Report to the Community.

The Report to the Community is an annual document that features the library’s significant achievements, initiatives, and enhancements from the year prior.

Last year, OPL took noteworthy steps toward becoming a more inclusive and modern resource centre, incorporating many additions and improvements to various programs and services.

“We are excited to share this document with our community,” says Lynn Horlor, CEO. “It provides a synopsis and full review of what we, as an organization, accomplished in 2016.”

This year’s report specifically focuses on the library’s value of lifelong learning and features its endeavors from 2016 through the categories of children, teens, adults, and seniors.

The document also includes the library’s financials, pays tribute to OPL supporters – donors, partners, volunteers, and customers – and provides a glimpse into the library’s forthcoming ventures.

“Our library is very fortunate to have so many wonderful supporters,” says Horlor. “It was very important for us to recognize them in this document as well as demonstrate the important role they play in shaping our future.”

The Oakville Public Library Report to the Community is available to the public and is accessible on the library’s website at

Oakville Public Library introduces OPL Seed Library

April 11th, 1990

May 5, 2017

Last week, Oakville Public Library (OPL) launched a new and exciting ‘green’ collection – the OPL Seed Library. Currently housed at the Clearview Branch, the OPL Seed Library offers a wide selection of organic seeds that customers can borrow to plant and grow in their own backyards.

With planting season upon us, those looking to start or enhance their gardens will benefit from the opportunity to borrow from the Seed Library, completely free of charge. Once their plants have matured, borrowers will harvest their plant’s seeds and return them back to the library, allowing more customers to partake in and experience the pleasures of gardening.

The Seed Library carries seeds for a variety of plants, including eggplant, squash, lettuce, tomatoes, and lavender. Through returns and donations, the collection will continue to grow to hold more seeds, including seeds for plants not currently in the collection.

“This new library initiative acts as a community project that promotes healthy and sustainable living, as well as encourages a culture of sharing,” says Lisa Williams, Manager – Collections. “It’s a great way to bring our community closer together.”

The Seed Library was established from a very generous donation made by avid Oakville Public Library supporters, Richard and Barbara Birkett. Mr. Birkett has been a long-time donor, was a former board member, and has volunteered with the library over the past 35 years.

“Throughout the ages, planting a garden has always been one of life’s greatest pleasures,” says Mr. Birkett.  “Growing plants from seeds takes one to a new level of delight.”

Chicago-based company, Ball Seed, also contributed to the OPL Seed Library by graciously donating the first installment of seeds.

Customers are excited about this new collection and have already started to take advantage by borrowing seeds. In less than one week, the library had to restock seeds for lavender, basil, and tomato.

In the near future, the OPL Seed Library will make its way into other library branches. The library’s Woodside Branch will be the next location to receive a collection, which will launch on May 8, 2017.

In an attempt to expand the current selection, the library is also accepting seed donations. Those who are interested in contributing to the Seed Library’s collection can donate open-pollinated and heirloom seeds by dropping them off at the Clearview Branch.

To avoid cross-pollination and the creation of invasive plants, OPL cannot accept hybrid seeds. If you are interested in donating seeds from your own garden but are unsure of their type, we encourage you to visit your local greenhouse or garden store for more information.

The OPL Seed Library is a very exciting initiative that we are proud to share with the Oakville community. We encourage our participants to share the story of their experience with us by sending updates and photos to


A version of this article was originally published in the Oakville Beaver on May 5, 2017.

Friends of the Library Annual Spring Book Sale

April 12th, 1990

April 21, 2017

The Library’s annual Spring Book Sale – hosted by the Friends of the Oakville Public Library (FOL) – will take place at the Oakville Public Library’s (OPL) Central Branch auditorium from May 4 through May 7.

The sale, which was previously scheduled to begin on May 3, has recently changed to open on May 4. The first day of the sale is open to FOL Members only, allowing members to gain early and exclusive access to browse through the large collection of items.

The sale officially opens to public on May 5, continuing through May 7.

Community members have the opportunity to become a FOL Member by signing up at any of our six branches and paying the annual fee of $10.

The Friends of the Oakville Public Library hold two annual sales – one in the spring and one in the fall – allowing members of the Oakville community to purchase books, DVDs, and other gently used items for a minimal fee. Most items at the upcoming sale are selling for just $1.50/pound.

This past March, the Friends of the Library held their first every Pop-Up Sale, garnering approximately $1,800. To date, these book sales have raised over $520,000 which has supported numerous library programs and services such as the annual TD Summer Reading Club.

The next FOL book sale will be held in the fall, from November 8-12, 2017.

Individuals who are unable to attend any FOL sale have the option of purchasing items from the ‘Friendly Finds’ bookshelves located at all branches and at the Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre.

This ongoing initiative has been a highlight for the Library for well-over 10 years, and the Friends of the Oakville Public Library look forward to welcoming the community back again this spring.

For more information on the Friends of the Oakville Public Library, and the sale, please visit


A version of this article was originally published in the Oakville Beaver on April 21, 2017.

The Power of Libraries to Transform a Life

April 13th, 1990

April 7, 2017

Canada lost a prominent Native author and storyteller on March 10, when Richard Wagamese died. Canadian libraries lost a friend and advocate. In the 1970s, Richard was a homeless teenager in St. Catharines. The library there changed his life.

My name is Susan Cameron and I am a librarian at Oakville Public Library. In September 2013, I attended a reading for Richard’s book Ragged Company with my colleague Ruth Borst. His words that night were unforgettable.

Ragged Company tells the story of four homeless people who find a lottery ticket and win $3.5-million. It is a powerful, beautifully written novel that deepens one’s understanding of the homeless.

After Richard’s talk, someone in the audience asked him to speak about his education and the important teachers he had had. He asked how many librarians were in the room. Ruth and I put up our hands along with about 15 other people. He then told us about the St. Catharines librarian who changed his life.

Richard spent every day in the library there, where it was warm and dry, behind a stack of books on his desk. He told us more about the special librarian who answered his questions patiently, recommended books, and quietly brought him food.

One day, Richard asked her about a musician he had been reading about, named Beethoven. He said, “Did you know he was deaf and still composed symphonies, and he could put a hand on the lid of the piano and recognize the notes by their vibration?” The librarian asked Richard if he would like to hear some of Beethoven’s music, and she took him to the listening room.

Shortly after, she took him to see Beethoven’s opera Fidelio, in Toronto. This was followed by outings to see Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, and to art galleries. She opened the world for him. He told us that the librarian taught him to read, see, hear, and feel through everything she introduced to him.

Richard left St. Catharines and turned his life around. He lost touch with the librarian but never forgot her. He became a journalist and, became the first indigenous writer to win the 1991 National Newspaper Award for column writing. Stories about his win appeared in all the newspapers. One day he received a card from the librarian. She told Richard how proud she was of his accomplishments. Richard was touched by those words then, and still so emotional about them that he had to pause, speaking through his tears. He realized the librarian probably did not know what a big part she played in his success.

Two years later, he got a call from one of the librarian’s children. She had died and her family wondered if he would he come to the funeral? He decided to make the trek and flew from Alberta to St. Catharines to pay his respects.

Once he arrived at the church, the librarian’s five adult children surrounded him; they had never met Richard, but they embraced him in a group hug. They told him he was a central figure in their upbringing. Their mother always talked about Richard at home, telling her kids about what he was reading or learning. They said they were never allowed to complain about their own lives or struggles in school, because their mom would say, “Look what Richard is doing and he has so little.” The kids felt they owed much of their own success to Richard’s inspiration.

Ruth and I are fairly certain that Richard ended his talk by encouraging us to treat the homeless with respect, and to help them. We cannot be sure though, as we were so emotional and looking at him through tears. We were both thinking about the homeless customers who spend time in our library, and how we might help them.

We never felt so proud to be librarians as we did that evening or more resolved to treat the homeless with respect and understanding. We will miss Richard’s voice, but his stories remain with us.


A version of this article was originally published in The Globe and Mail on March 29, 2017, and again in the Oakville Beaver on April 7, 2017.