Haliburton County Public Library card holders will soon have access to more than 30,000 documentaries, learning courses, children’s programs, and international films thanks to a $2,200 donation from the Rotary Club of Haliburton.
The request for funding to enable HCPL’s 7,000 members access to Kanopy, an online streaming service was made to the club by HCPL CEO/Chief Librarian Christopher Stephenson in a letter dated Nov. 4. In the letter he wrote our recent shift to offering increased electronic resources means that residents heading into the winter months have access at home to more options for education and entertainment, particularly if they are reluctant to return to public facilities during an ongoing health crisis. The public library is for everyone, and we also aim to provide something which may appeal to everyone.
Stephenson explained to the club that HCPL library members can access e-Books, audiobooks, newspapers, language learning software, as well as Ancestry, the genealogical database which can be used to research family history.
The chief librarian said in his letter to the Rotary Club that every library member would receive approximately seven or eight credits each month to view content that interests them for free.
When asked what inspired him to seek funding for Kanopy Stephenson replied, too often librarians tell their communities that we’re more than just books. We’re always on the lookout for new formats and services, and in fact, it’s become increasingly difficult to source some new content in DVD format, so we were thrilled to find another option made for public libraries. We’ve also had people asking us about this particular platform. At the end of a typical year, when we’ve often used much of our acquisitions budget, I got the idea that perhaps a local organization would be able to step up to help us provide educational and entertainment content to the community. As we head into the darker, colder months, this is an ideal digital resource to offer our residents. It’s like a Christmas gift to everyone who uses the Haliburton County Public Library system.
According to Stephenson, the library card holders will be able to access Kanopy either through a Rotary club link on the library’s website, or by downloading the Kanopy app to their preferred device.
Heather Phillip, president of the Rotary Club of Haliburton said the donation was to enable residents access.
“We wanted to make sure all families had access to a streaming service,” she said.
Phillips added, literacy is an important issue for the Rotary, and finding new ways to encourage patrons to visit the library is a move in that direction. People may get their first library card in order to access the online streaming service, but once introduced to the library, they will discover the reading materials available to them as well as the other resources, which can be accessed through their local branch.
Stephenson said, If it’s been awhile since you’ve had a library card or visited one of our HCPL branches, you can either sign up for a card online at olco.ent.sirsidynix.net/client/en_US/haliburton/or you can stop in to see us in person to become a new member. Anyone living in or on the borders of Haliburton County can get a library card for free – including residents, cottagers, and students. There’s no age limit for using your library, but we do ask that youth under 16 get a parent’s signature. If you come to sign up, please, remember to bring some paperwork with your current address on it, such as a tax bill or a landfill card, for example. Signing up for a library membership is one of the best ways you can support your public library.”
The support from Rotary is greatly appreciated by Stephenson. When asked what the process of approaching Rotary for funding was like, he replied, “What a pleasure! I was asked to be a guest speaker at one of their recent meetings, and of course I always accept any opportunity to do some public library advocacy. As I got to know some of the Rotary Club members after my talk, I was told that if I had suggestions for how they might help Haliburton County Public Library, that I should put a request together and explain how the community could benefit from their support. They’re a very proactive group, and I think they were surprised by the diversity of resources the library strives to offer. And I’m glad that they got excited about the possibility of a streaming service, too.
Stephenson, who stepped into the role of CEO/chief librarian earlier this fall, said he is grateful to be part of a community that supports their library system.
He said, “Very often we get suggestions from patrons for new programs and services, donations, and people also help by sharing our events and news through social media. But I’m also impressed by the media support we receive. When there’s something new and great that the library staff are doing, the local newspapers and the radio really help us tell the community about it.
He hopes that people will use Kanopy, as well as the other digital resources available through the library.
Stephenson said we have Mango, an app that helps you learn new languages, as well as access to Canadian Major Dailies, a way to read newspaper articles online. Through the pandemic when people were spending more time at home, the digital part of many libraries began to expand. I believe that there should be something for everyone at the library, and thanks to this amazing financial support, my staff and I are excited to tell the community about Kanopy!