Students get ready for Battle of the Books competition

March 24, 2017

Students from the community have been gearing up and studying hard for the Oakville Public Library’s (OPL) upcoming Battle of the Books competition. The exciting program runs from April 3-6 and sees approximately 500 people, including 400 students from various schools around Oakville.

The junior group (ages seven to nine years) kicks off the tournament on April 3, and the seniors (ages 10 to 12) begin on April 5. Each group includes 20 teams made up of 10 students and one coach. This year, 22 schools in Oakville have signed up for the competition.

In the round-robin based program, teams are asked a series of questions about specific books from a list given to them in February. Students are encouraged to read and thoroughly study the plots, characters, and themes of the books to prepare for the competition.

“Battle of the Books is an event hosted by OPL that promotes literacy skills, love of reading, teamwork and community,” says Justine Gerroir, Acting Manager, Programs and Outreach. “I remember having so much fun when I participated in the battles as a kid.”

Over the course of two days, teams face-off in back-to-back battles to secure a spot in the top two and win the tournament. Winners receive medals, a trophy for their school, as well as move on to a regional competition between other winners from Burlington, Milton, and Halton Hills.

Each day concludes with a special presentation given by an author of one of the books studied. This year the OPL welcomes Mahtab Narsimhan (April 3), Rona Arato (April 4), Joel Sutherland (April 5), and Richard Scrimger (April 6).

“The tournament gains more and more interest every year, and registration fills up in as little as one week,” says Gayle Casey, Branch Supervisor – Children’s. “We have so many people signing up that we’ve had to create a waitlist in case anyone cancels.”

Battle of the Books is one of OPL’s most successful school-aged programs that has seen over 10,000 students over the past 30 years. The well-sought program teaches teamwork, encourages good sportsmanship, promotes literacy, and boosts self-confidence among children.

This program is generously funded by the Friends of the Oakville Public library, a group of volunteers who believe in the importance of library resources and programs.

Registration has closed for this year’s Battle, but we encourage any interested parents, teachers, or students to connect with their schools to set-up a team for 2018’s battle.

For more information on Battle of the Books, please visit


Exciting new technology at Oakville Public Library

March 10, 2017

Over the past few months, Oakville Public Library (OPL) has taken great steps in implementing modern technology into the library system. With the introduction of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, Smart Gates, and Check-out Kiosks, the library is well on its way to enhancing the overall customer experience with the efficiency of its services.

In September 2015, OPL began working on a project to enable RFID technology on its existing collection of 1.3 million items. The project, which took 16 months to complete, involved placing RFID tags on each item and programming each tag into the tracking system.

This past January, the library installed 22 RFID-reading Smart Gates across all six branches. These Smart Gates work together with the RFID tags to help keep track of all items from the library’s collection.

The Smart Gates provide the library with additional information, as well. Not only do these gates ensure items have been correctly checked-out and secure the library’s inventory, they also count traffic. This counting feature allows the library better understanding the flow of traffic coming through its doors and plan accordingly.

The most recent addition to the library is the Check-out Kiosk. These beautifully designed kiosks allow our customers to conveniently check-out all of their items with ease. New kiosk features such as the ability to view account details, place holds, and renew items will become available later in 2017.

Working together with the RFID tags, these kiosks are able to scan and track multiple items simultaneously, resulting in a much faster check-out process.

The library will also be installing automatic sorters and check in stations in the near future. Connected to each branch’s drop box, these check in stations and sorters scan and track all returned materials and organize each item into circulation bins.

This new technology allows library staff to focus more on our customers by being readily available to assist with various inquiries. With additional face-to-face interaction, staff will be able to learn more about the needs of our community, which, in turn, assists in the development and creation of new library initiatives.

Oakville Public Library is committed to providing our customers with exceptional service, and will continue to grow and adapt to our community’s ever-changing needs.

For more information on our new technology and future branch enhancements, please visit

Friends of the Library Pop-Up Book Sale

February 24, 2017

The Friends of the Oakville Public Library (FOL) are excited to be holding their first-ever Pop-Up Book Sale from March 4 to March 5. The sale will take place in the auditorium of the Oakville Public Library’s Central Branch, and will offer a wide selection of books and DVDs for all age groups and interests.

This Pop-Up Book Sale is a great opportunity for book enthusiasts to stock up on items for their personal collections. All items on sale are either new or gently used, are in great condition, and are no more than $2 each. Customers also have the option to purchase a bag full of books for only $10.

The Pop-Up Book Sale is a new initiative of the FOL, piggybacking off their annual spring and fall book sales. Over $500,000 was raised from past sales and has been used to support various library services, including events like Battle of the Books and Write2Xpress.

The FOL have held over 20 Book Sales to date, and have seen hundreds of thousands of items sold to community members.

The FOL 2017 Book Sale will run from May 3 to May 7, with the following 2017 Fall Book Sale running from November 8-12. The first day of each sale is a special ‘Friends Only’ night for individuals who are registered FOL Members.

Community members have the opportunity to become a FOL Member by signing up at the library and paying the annual fee of $10. Becoming an FOL Member allows you to gain early and exclusive access to the annual spring and fall book sales, and supports both the Oakville Public Library and your community.

Individuals who are unable to attend any FOL sale have the option of purchasing items from the ‘Friendly Finds’ bookshelves located at all branches.

The Friends of the Oakville Public Library are excited to pilot this new initiative with the community, and hope to plan additional pop-up sales throughout the year.

Spring months call for programming to inspire writers and readers alike

February 10, 2017

Oakville Public Library has great adult programming scheduled throughout the spring months, including two can’t-miss talks from notable authors in March alone.

On March 8, the library will welcome journalist and author Ann Walmsley to the Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre to speak about her first book, The Prison Book Club, and describe her personal experiences with writing the publication.

The Prison Book Club tells the story of Walmsley’s time while participating in monthly book clubs at two male prisons over the span of eighteen months. The telltale book was longlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize, the 2016 BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, and named as a best book of 2015 by the National Post.

The library will also see authors Roberta Rich, Emily Schultz, and Eva Stachniak on March 23 at An Evening of Historical Fiction where they will discuss their most recent novels.

Rich’s A Trial in Venice concludes the dramatic bestselling trilogy following protagonist Hannah Levi’s journey during the 16th century.

Men Walking on Water – Schultz’s latest novel – is a compelling story about rum-running in the 1920’s.

Finally, Stachniak’s The Chosen Maiden tells the story of dancer and choreographer Bronia Nijinska, sister of Vaslav Nijinsky.

After presenting their works, the authors will offer book signings for audience members.

Attending either talk will offer inspiration and insight for interested writers and book enthusiasts, while additional upcoming programs will provide motivation for pursuing hobbies in reading and writing.

The How to Write a Novel and How to Make Yourself Write programs present a great opportunity for aspiring writers who want to begin their writing careers. Led by industry professionals, these two programs will guide customers through the writing process, teach various writing styles, as well as encourage participants to get creative with their ideas and set goals.

The library also offers a free online book club – Oakville Reads – where customers who love to read are able to discuss their thoughts and insights with others. Oakville Reads is an ongoing open program, and interested customers are welcome to join at any time.

The Oakville Public Library offers a variety of programming throughout the year and continues to provide various workshops and classes catered to inspire both readers and writers.

For a full list of programming, please visit or pick up a copy of our Program Guide from your local branch.

Oakville Public Library gears up for 2017 with new technology programming

January 27, 2017

In the coming weeks, the Oakville Public Library will open registration for TechTalk – a new series of valuable technology programs that library cardholders can take advantage of. With planned workshops and information sessions scheduled throughout the year, the Oakville community will have the opportunity to brush up on computer skills, create 3D prints, and learn about new trends in technology.

The TechTalk Series will feature lectures and workshops with topics on website design, smart home devices and wearable technology, as well as tutorials for Microsoft Office and – one of the library’s newest additions – The TechTalk sessions are open to all levels of expertise, and are either free of charge or have a minimal admission fee.

For customers who are interested in one-on-one coaching, the library will continue its Book a Tech Coach and Digital Discovery with the Teen Tech Team programs. Aimed specifically at beginners, these programs will help you get started with your computer or tablet, learn how to download eBooks, and grasp the basics of social media.

Teens and children can also explore cutting-edge technology with workshops on 3D printing and design, coding with Ozobots and Lego Robotics, and film-making and animation for beginners.

Registration for registered programs will open February 11, 2017.

For more information on upcoming programming, visit or come into your nearest Oakville Public Library branch to pick up our new guide.

Exciting Renovations for Iroquois Ridge

January 13, 2017

One of Oakville Public Library’s busiest branches is getting a facelift over the winter/spring months. Iroquois Ridge is OPL’s second busiest branch, hosting roughly 200,000 visitors and circulating almost 400,000 items annually. The renovations are being performed by STF Construction and will see the library temporarily close for five months starting on January 23rd, with a depot location in the Iroquois Ridge Community Center opening on February 1st. The Depot will offer a holds pick-up service, a small collection of popular materials to borrow, a return bin and a family story time program twice weekly.

The need for the renovation stems primarily from the changing use and role of the library within the community. Iroquois Ridge Branch is a hub of activity in the area and the renovations will add new community oriented and technology-centric spaces.

With a thriving community surrounding it, the library faces increasing demand for its programming space as well as access to technology and collections. To better meet these needs, the renovated branch will offer two programming spaces, along with expanded group collaboration and quiet individual study spaces.

Technology will play a significant role in the new space with the inclusion of a Creation Zone. The Creation Zone will serve as a gathering point where individuals and groups of all ages can connect to work on meaningful projects, using both new technologies and traditional tools, assisted by helpful mentors (OPL staff and community volunteers).

The Creation Zone will offer digital media technologies that will enhance the Library’s current 3D printing offerings as well as a focus on digital creation and design. With the introduction of laptop bars, there will also be increased capacity for computer and internet access throughout the facility.

The library will also sport a new stunning look, with new flooring, furniture, seating and millwork installed throughout to create a flexible and true community space.

If you would like more information on the new Creation Zone, please visit: For information on funding and naming opportunities, please contact Virginia Kuypers at



Strengthening literary skills and community outreach through Clearview Kids N’ Me.

At the Oakville Public Library (OPL), we are committed to establishing connections and enhancing literacy skills within the community.

We understand the importance of building a foundation of literacy, and we encourage early learning for the essential development of our children and youth. In support of the growing needs of our neighbourhoods, we offer specialized programming for all levels of learning and areas of focus.

In 2011, the OPL introduced the Clearview Kids N’ Me program to provide our high-need communities with access to additional learning and resources. This multifaceted program allows pre-school children to develop and expand their literacy and social skills through various activities, creative play, and storytelling, as well as educates parents and caregivers on childhood development, parenting techniques, and how to live a healthy lifestyle.

In 2016 alone, over 1,300 individuals attended a Clearview Kids N’ Me session, which well-exceeded our expectancy for the program. After receiving a magnitude of positive feedback from parents and caregivers, we are delighted to know that we have been able to provide a tangible resource for our community members.

“My children and I love this program. It is the only daytime program in our area that we can attend regularly. Since attending, my children have become more outgoing and enjoy playing with other kids.”

The success of the Clearview Kids N’ Me program is largely a result of the support from a few amazing OPL partners, such as the Oakville YMCA, the Halton Region Health Department, OPL staff, and student volunteers from Sheridan College.

Last year the program also received a generous donation from our friends at the Oakville Community Foundation. The Oakville Community Foundation encourages and supports organizations in Oakville to reinvest in our community through the funding of special projects and initiatives. With their support, we were able to enhance the Clearview Kids N’ Me program and offer assistance to more deserving families.

We would like to thank our supporters and our community for their ongoing interest and encouragement. We hope to continue this wonderful project for the years to come!


Iroquois Ridge Branch to undergo renovations, introduce Creation Zone

On September 8, 2016, the Oakville Public Library Board approved a plan to renovate the Iroquois Ridge Branch and construct a Creation Zone within its walls. To accommodate the renovations, the branch will be closed from late January – June 2017.

Creation Zones, Makerspaces, Idea Labs and other community-building hub models are becoming increasingly common throughout North America, especially in public libraries. They serve as access points to new technologies and provide unifying, inspiring spaces where creativity and knowledge can be shared. Most importantly, they support the development of 21st century literacy skills and a culture of engaged, lifelong learning.

As technology increasingly becomes an integral part of day-to-day life, library branches will continue to evolve as community hubs. In light of these changes, Tara Wong, Director, Collections & Technologies, advises that “highly valued, traditional services like book-borrowing will remain a mainstay.” Though Iroquois Ridge Branch’s collection will be downsized somewhat, books will be reallocated throughout the system and available for pickup at the branch.

For the duration of the closure (late Jan – June 2017), Iroquois Ridge Branch will be closed to the public. Cardholders will still be able to pick up holds, return items and borrow popular materials from the Book Depot which will operate out of the branch program room. Family Storytimes will still be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays within the Iroquois Ridge Community Centre, and White Oaks Branch will host additional programming until renovations are complete.

Once complete, Iroquois Ridge’s Creation Zone will provide residents with exciting opportunities and more space to connect, share ideas, create and innovate. The reconfigured branch will feature an enlarged quiet study room, upgraded public access computers and new work and meeting spaces. A variety of cutting-edge technologies will also be available for public use, including state of the art programming & design software (for 3D designers, web/game developers) and photography & videography tools (e.g: digital camcorders, green screen, editing software, microphones).

A hands-on children’s learning station will also be offered within the Creation Zone, with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math. Both self-moderated learning and library-facilitated programs will be offered. “The space is going to be incredibly versatile,” says Wong. “Residents will not only be able to stop in and read, but pursue their curiosity, creativity and desire to learn even more,” she adds.

Further details and updates on the Iroquois Ridge Branch renovations and Creation Zone project will be posted on as they become available. To stay up-to-date with library programs and services, you can follow OPL on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.