All Around CPL: National Library Week

Happy National Library Week! We're celebrating all week long from April 23-29, 2023. This year’s theme is “There’s more to the story”. At the library, our goal is to connect the community through programs, services and informational resources. Patrons benefit from those awesome end results, but a lot goes on to get there. We’ve asked some of our 88+ library staff members representing various departments to describe what they do behind the scenes. These are their stories.

Behind the Scenes at CPL's Storytime with Librarian Erin

"How is a storytime made? We plan a half-hour of stories, songs, and fun so the time spent together with your little one is fun and enjoyable. But before that half-hour happens, a librarian has to choose those stories, practice singing those songs, and remember where they put that fuzzy felt kit.

Planning a storytime means hooking up technology including microphones, speakers, and iPads. It might mean practicing holding a puppet, learning to play the ukulele or listening to how words are pronounced. We also review respectful rules and set expectations before the actual storytime takes place. It also means preparing for when a story isn’t very well received, or for what happens if the technology doesn’t work, or how to recover after forgetting the words to a song.

It’s a lot of work to read and carefully choose those books, listen to and select those songs, and research and choose those rhymes. But after the learning, reading, thinking, choosing, planning and dreaming of the perfect storytime comes the fun of putting it together for you. And that is the best part of all."

–  Erin Strand, Youth Librarian, Information Services

How does the Writers' Group, led by Librarian Kristy, come together each month? 

"The Writers’ Group meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at 7:00 PM. I facilitate our meetings in a workshop format, which means the group gives each other feedback on works on in-progress writings. We have group members that submit all types of writing: short stories, novel chapters, nonfiction and poetry. Feedback often includes comments on structure, voice, characterization, plot, pacing, descriptions, setting, language usage and clarity. Everyone finds that they can learn more about writing by giving feedback, as well as by getting feedback.

Our attendees really enjoy being able to share their work with others and be in a community of writers since writing tends to be such a solitary hobby. We have a pretty smart group and my role is to distribute everyone’s submissions a week ahead of the meeting so that the group has enough time to give thoughtful feedback."

– Kristy Cooper, Adult Librarian, Information Services

Partnerships and More: Making ELL Programs Happen with Librarian Alyssa

"The Canton Public Library's English Language Learning programs offer participants an opportunity to learn and practice English, build lasting friendships, learn about other cultures, and bolster their confidence so they can go out into the world (and even accomplish U.S. citizenship). One of our learners recently became a U.S. citizen at 91; they have been with us through the pandemic and learned new technologies (Zoom) in addition to gaining English knowledge.

There are a group of librarians who work on the ELL programs. We send out a weekly email update with reading materials and topics of discussion sent by the volunteer tutors from the Plymouth-Canton Community Literacy Council. In addition, we run an ELL Book Club, work with tutors to help organize their conversation groups, as well as set up Zoom for our online conversations and help with technical issues. I personally provide a 'Millennial' opinion on slang and common American cultural trends when asked."

– Alyssa Yavorenko, Adult Librarian, Information Services

What would we do without computers? IT Department Head Carl explores the importance of technology at CPL. 

"Imagine what a trip to the library would be like if the library had no computers? You walk through the door and the first thing you notice is that the building is too hot or too cold. A computer manages the furnace and air conditioners. We wouldn’t have any computers for you to use. If you bought in your own computer, there still wouldn't be any Wi-Fi without the computer that manages our public wireless network. You could still make copies, if this hypothetical scenario doesn’t consider the embedded systems in our copiers to be computers, but there won’t be any printing without our print management server.

There would still be books on the shelves to browse. The librarians at CPL know the Dewey Decimal system inside and out and could tell you where the book you’re looking for is supposed to be, but without the catalog computer, there’s no way to know whether it’s checked in, checked out, on hold or just plain missing. With no self-checkout stations or staff computers, the items you check out or check in and holds would have to be processed by hand. We have a paper form to write down checkouts, but we need a computer to print it.

And forget about e-media. Technically it’s not on our computers, but with no catalog to check your library card number against, Libby or hoopla wouldn't let you check out anything. All in all, you’d be hard pressed to visit the library without interacting with a computer in some form. The IT Department at CPL makes sure all 165 staff and public workstations, eight self-checkouts, five printers and 59 servers and network devices are online, up to date, and ready to do their thing when you walk in the door."

– Carl Swanberg, Department Head, Information Technology

Receiving Materials from Other Michigan Libraries with Circulation Assistant Amy

"What happens when you order a Michigan eLibrary (MeL) book? The Interloan department at Canton Public Library processes all the books for MeL. When you make a request, a library in the state of Michigan receives it and will pull the item from their shelves and package it for delivery to Canton. The deliveries are handled by RIDES, which is a statewide library courier service. Here at CPL, we get MeL deliveries four days a week: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Our staff will open up the packages that come to us—we often get over 100 packages per delivery. These items will be inspected for damage and, if any is found, we will write it on the label attached to the item. We then check that the item is for our patron and notify them that the item is here to pick up. The patron has 10 days to pick up the material from our hold shelf at the Check Out Desk. We receive over 900 items per month for our patrons. Once the patron is done with the item, they will return it and the Interloan department will package it for delivery back to the lending library."

– Amy Viergutz, Circulation Assistant II, Circulation Services

Social Media, Newsletters and More: Communications Specialist Kaitlyn Explores How CPL Connects with Our Community 

"CPL strives to engage with our patrons, both inside and outside of the library building. One of the ways we seek to connect with our community is through our many forms of communications that you may see while browsing in the library, scrolling on your phone, or perhaps when you open your email inbox. 

I work as the library’s Communications Specialist in our Engagement & Design department. Even though I tend to work behind-the-scenes, my job involves creating content for and engaging with our wonderful patrons. While I’m mostly at my desk, you may see me around taking photos of our awesome programs, displays and other happenings at the library.

I plan, create and schedule content for CPL’s social media, and engage with patrons on these platforms. I also play a role in other communications our patrons may see, including editing the content on our website and emails you may receive from the library, managing the TV screen slides in the building, and even updating the sign outside by the road. I work on all kinds of graphics, too, from posters and signs to brochures and images/photos on our website." 

– Kaitlyn Minshall, Communications Specialist, Engagement & Design

We Want to Connect with You 

The core mission of Canton Public Library revolves around connecting with our community. We provide pathways to relevant informational resources such as current collections in both print and digital formats, free access to computers and Wi-Fi, and present year-round programming that’s designed for all ages and abilities. 

Here are just a few things we do on a daily basis for our community:

  • We’re open, come visit us. Don’t have a library card? Check out the Card & Account page on our website.
  • We provide a safe space for our diverse community. All ages and abilities are welcome. 
  • We plan and present informative and engaging programs. Check out all of our events on our Programs page and stay informed about upcoming programs by signing up for our newsletter.
  • We reach out to our community partners. During regular school sessions, we've partnered with the National Honor Society to provide tutoring to students in grades 3-12. We also work with the Plymouth Canton Community Literacy Program to provide English Language Learner programs at the library.
  • We offer services for patrons with special needs. We loan magnifiers for low vision readers. If you are physically unable to visit the library due to a long-term illness or disability, or are homebound and live in Canton, you can sign up for Books by Mail. It’s a free service with materials delivered right to your door.
  • We provide access to computers with free Wi-Fi. Our Self Service Center is also available for your scanning, copying and faxing needs. In addition, our building has lots of outlets to recharge your device.
  • We have space to meet for work or school. The library has meeting and study rooms.
  • We post openings for job positions and volunteers. Go to our Jobs and Volunteering page to learn about opportunities for volunteers and see current job postings. 
  • We’re always adding digital resources to download onto your device. Your Canton Public Library card gives you access to e-media from our online and streaming partners. We offer digital movies, books, magazines, audiobooks and music. If you’re looking to research, explore our online databases.
  • Our book groups discuss a variety of interesting topics. Our library has several book groups for a variety of reading interests. To find a book group, visit our Programs page. 
  • We have lots of storytimes or other programs for kids. Visit the Programs page for more information.

We love our patrons. We love our community. We love the work we do, not only during National Library Week, but all year round.