EPL – Not the Library You Remember!

Even if all libraries consisted of were books, I’d be there all the time. That however is not the case with current libraries, especially the Estevan Public Library. I’m almost getting used to the slack-jawed response I get from people when I share about the broad and diverse ways that we use the library. Almost. If you want to elicit the same slack-jawed disbelieving response from me, just tell me that you don’t have a library card. I’ll be dumbfounded.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I think we have one of the best libraries in Saskatchewan with the best staff. I may be a little biased but there is no denying that we have a gem in this city. Let’s start with one of the more shocking activities you can do through the library – snowshoeing! This one makes my “vitamin N” (nature) loving heart glow. It’s such a wonderful resource to offer people and it’s FREE. The EPL has 6 sets of great quality snowshoes and poles that you can sign out for a 3 hour period with your Saskatchewan Library Card.

That last bit is important to note as we have an interlibrary system here in Saskatchewan that allows you to access services and resources in all libraries across the province with one card. If you’re a Saskatchewan visitor to Estevan this means that you can make use of almost everything at the library with your card, including snowshoes.

We had a blast getting outside going for a snowshoe. They have adult and kids adjustable sizes so you can get the whole family out together!

The EPL is open 65 hours a week and is a hub of activities, resources and programs for adults, teens and children. One of my favourite features of our library is the Makerspace. This area is set up with various specialty tools used for making and creating. It’s a valuable resource as many of these machines and tools are quite costly to own yourself and you may not use them enough to make it worth the price. At the library though you can again use them for FREE (there may be a small cost for consumable materials) and get help from the knowledgeable staff on how to use them.

One of our family favourites is the button maker. The tool creates 1.5 inch buttons and you can bring your own printed designs, photos or hand drawn images to create a button. The library also often has various designs pre-printed for patrons or you can also use the colour printer at the library to print your own ($ per copy). We made these fun Estevan buttons and left copies for you to make your own as well!

The Makerspace also includes a 3D printing machine, Cricut (it’s like a printer but it cuts instead so it’s great for cutting vinyl, sign stencils, etc), Ozbots and Spheros. The last two are types of code-able robots and it’s a great coding activity for kids!

In every day life and even more so when I’m traveling and want to reduce how much I pack, I love making use of digital resources so that I can have access to everything on my phone and iPad. With your library card you have access to a plethora of digital resources and I’m going to break down my favourites.

Hoopla – is an online platform that allows you to borrow ebooks, music, audiobooks, movies and recently just added – magazines! Our library allows you to borrow 4 items per month and we use them up all the time. Tip: Make sure that all eligible family members have a library card so that you can make use of even more rentals. We always have a family audiobook going on road trips and Hoopla is the first place we check. The new “Hoopla Magazine Binge Pass” gives you access to over 50 magazines for the loan period.

Libby- is the app interface for Overdrive and a platform for borrowing ebooks and audiobooks. You have access to 10 titles per month on Libby. One thing to note is that Libby works more like the physical library in that if a title is in use by someone else you’ll have to wait to borrow it. Hoopla however allows multiple users to access the same resource at the same time.

Aside from digital resources we still take out a ton of physical library books. Did you know that can download the SILS app and request books from anywhere in the province? I do this weekly! It’s the most user friendly process. Just search a book, press “place hold”, then the magic librarians will do their thing, collect and ship out the books, and in just a few days you’ll get a notification that your items are ready to be picked up at the library! I always love to see where my books have travelled from. While at the library this week I got to meet one of the drivers and learn all about the
distribution system. Check out our stories for more behind the scenes!

Books aren’t the only physical items you can borrow – don’t forget about their massive selection of movies, T.V. series and video games! Note: video games can only be taken
out by Southeast patrons.

Even if you don’t plan on borrowing or making anything the library is still a fantastic place to visit. In fact, in the winter months, the large solarium like corner of towering glass walls with comfy couches and plants is one of my favourite places to get some sun. Get this, our library even has UV Light Therapy lamps that you can use!

Our library is intentionally designed with areas that appeal to various demographics. Lounge areas for reading and visiting, tables/cubbies for studying, a teen area with in library video game consoles and a writing/drawing table, and a kids area with a selection of toys and play sets. There are also rooms that can be rented for classes, meetings, etc. The whole family can visit and have multiple things to do. It’s a great place to meet friends as well. At the library you’ll have access to free wifi and they also have computers and a printer you can use when needed.

On top of all of that (as if that wasn’t enough) our library programming is top-notch. With child, teen and adult programmers, the library is hopping with carefully curated events and activities that provide fun, social interaction, a place to learn new skills and more. A few examples include Glow in the Dark Mini Golf for teens, Adult Paint Night, Cooking Classes, Book Clubs, Card Game Cafe, Story Time, Read to Animals, Walking Club, Family Lego, Teen Crafternoons, Intro to Quilting, Beginner Embroidery, Light Therapy, Teen Paint Party, Video Game Tournaments, and SO MUCH MORE! You can get the winter schedule HERE

Did I mention that almost everything is FREE? Seriously, these people just want to plan amazing activities, lend you resources and let you use all their cool machines for free. If you haven’t already been, it’s time to get to the library! It’s not the library you remember!