Blogs

From the Directors

M. Abler
01/13/2022 - 3:24 pm

FVRLibraries is committed to providing regular updates about our 2021-2024 Strategic Plan.

Due to the winter holidays and an intentional focus on our Equity priority, we have only one area to update this month.

Equity

As of mid-January, 75% of FVRLibraries staff have completed the foundational equity training. All current staff have been scheduled for the initial round of training, which will conclude in early February. At that point, the foundational equity training will be incorporated into our orientation and onboarding for all staff.

 

January 2022 Strategic Plan Update (PDF)

A. Shelley
01/07/2022 - 4:10 pm

A letter from our director

FVRLibraries is pleased to serve our communities and users despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. We continue to follow the advice from the State Department of Health, the Washington Department of Labor and Industries and the Center for Disease Control’s guidance for maintaining a safe environment for our patrons and staff. We appreciate your support of these efforts to help us put an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Masks required at all library locations

FVRLibraries strongly believes that wearing a mask significantly reduces the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Our intent is to ensure the continued safety of our library users and staff. Please be kind to our employees and considerate of others. Those choosing not to comply will be asked to leave.

We are also required to provide a safe workplace for our staff. Our Board of Library Trustees passed an Additional Rules of Conduct Policy on August 16, 2021 that requires library visitors over the age of 5 to wear a mask covering their nose and mouth at all times. All locations have disposable masks available for your convenience. We appreciate your support!

FVRLibraries' policy is more restrictive than the Washington State Secretary of Health’s Order 20.03-6 and does not allow for medical exemptions. Those seeking an exemption will be offered alternative ways of accessing library services including:

  • Curbside pickup of holds and print jobs
  • Online or virtual resources and services
  • Books by mail

What makes a mask compliant?

Masks are only effective when constructed and worn to prevent the spread of airborne particles. While specific mask requirements are not spelled out in our policy, we follow the guidance of the Center for Disease Control and the Washington State Departments of Labor and Industry and Health

Masks must:

  • Completely cover the nose and mouth
  • Fit snugly against the sides of the face
  • Be secured with ear loops, ties, elastic bands or other effective method
  • Be at least one layer of tightly woven fabric with no visible holes
  • While a face shield is not a substitute for a cloth face covering, a face shield with a (cloth) drape/extension attached along the entire edge of the shield can be used for people with medical, developmental or behavioral conditions.

FVRL is taking this action as a response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and the contagious nature of the Delta and Omicron variants of the virus. Staff will ask you to keep your mask on or adjust it if necessary to ensure your mask is doing its job. Our intent is to ensure the continued safety of our library users and staff. Please be kind!

Open hours

Most FVRLibraries are open from 10 am to 6 pm, Monday through Saturday. Some locations may offer reduced hours or curbside only, depending on staff availability. Vancouver Community Library and Vancouver Mall Library are also open on Sunday

Check your local library’s schedule for a complete list of days and hours. 

Currently, we offer the following library services:

Library programs and public spaces

We apologize that many of the programs, spaces and other amenities you have come to love about your libraries are not available. Thank you for your patience as we continue to adhere to pandemic standards for safety.

  • For now, we will continue to offer only virtual programs.
  • Some limited use of our meeting rooms will begin with Friends of the Library activities and other community partners such as blood drives and tax assistance.
  • The Early Learning Center on the third floor of Vancouver Community Library remains closed at this time due to concerns over COVID exposure. We are working on a plan to reopen the space in early 2022 with limited access through scheduled visits.

Touchless services

Many of our users have let us know how much they have appreciated the convenience of curbside pickups for library holds. We will continue to offer curbside, although hours may vary at different locations based on staff availability. You can also access our 24/7 digital library resources at fvrl.org to access the thousands of eBooks, eAudiobooks, music, movies, and much more online as well as download Experience Passes for free access to local attractions.

Other precautions

Hand sanitizer is available at all service desks and at the entrance to the library. Library seating will remain limited so that we can provide adequate space between users. All anticipated restrictions are subject to the direction and guidelines of the State of Washington and our local authorities.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us. We look forward to serving you at your local library!

-Amelia Shelley, Executive Director
January 7, 2021

M. Abler
12/15/2021 - 2:03 pm

FVRLibraries is committed to providing regular updates about our 2021-2024 Strategic Plan.

Equity

  • By mid-December, two-thirds of FVRLibraries staff will have completed the foundational equity training.
  • We celebrated Native American History Month in November with book displays that were centrally purchased and deployed to all library locations. More cultural heritage displays are coming in 2022.
  • Our new website, which launches this month, has been updated for accessibility, including language access and readability.
  • Redesigned pronoun buttons allow staff to share their pronouns and help create a more inclusive environment.

Partnerships

  • Identifying areas of the strategic plan that require partnerships.

Connections

  • Communications and Marketing designed a new print newsletter to promote programs and services.

Organizational culture

  • Updated outcomes and benchmarks for 2022 will be shared with staff for input.

December 2021 Strategic Plan Update (PDF)

M. Abler
12/01/2021 - 3:13 pm

FVRLibraries is committed to providing regular updates about our 2021-2024 Strategic Plan.

Equity

  • Created and scheduled four-hour foundational equity training for all staff and board members.
  • As of November 15th, 78 staff members have completed this training.

Partnerships

  • Piloting relationship management tool with a branch.

Connections

  • Completed language needs assessment of our service area.

Organizational culture

  • Created communication plan for 2021-2024 Strategic Plan updates.
  • Updating benchmarks in light of our new Strategic Plan.

November 2021 update (PDF)

Off the Shelf

J. Johnston
01/26/2022 - 9:20 am

Someone once said, “Laugh, and the whole world laughs with you.” I don’t know if this is really true because what’s funny to me might not be funny to you, but I do appreciate the idea of keeping laughter in one’s life. Did you know that there is a Global Belly Laugh Day? Yes, really, I’m not making this up. The official day of celebration is January 24, but belly laughs are welcome any day of the year, so when the urge to let out a good guffaw strikes, lean into it!

As I already mentioned, humor is a personal thing. The titles I’m listing today might not hit your funny bone, so I encourage everyone to search the library’s catalog to find things that make you laugh. If you search the word “humor” in our catalog, be prepared: the number of results will be large, and feeling overwhelmed is not funny at all. Think about topics or people who bring a smile to your face and perform some keyword searches.

The reading suggestions listed below are about subjects and/or people that have brought joy to my life. May they tickle your fancy as well, and if not, follow my lead and read what makes you happy.

Act Natural: A Cultural History of Misadventures in Parenting” by Jennifer Traig
I have never been a parent (except to cats), yet I can appreciate the hard work that parenting demands as well as the unexpected moments that bring joy—maybe tears—to every mom and dad. If you’re a parent and could use a laugh or two, check out Jennifer Traig’s hilarious review of parenting techniques.
How About Never—Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons” by Robert Mankoff
“The New Yorker” magazine has always been one of my favorite periodicals offering an array of wonderful stories, engaging articles and smart, witty cartoons. And speaking of cartoons, Robert Mankoff worked as a cartoonist at “The New Yorker” before becoming the cartoon editor for nearly twenty years. If laughter is the best medicine, this book offers a large dosage of mirth and merriment.
How to Teach Philosophy to Your Dog: Exploring the Big Questions in Life” by Anthony McGowan
Although I’m a crazy cat mom, I love dogs. They love you no matter what and are eager to please even when author Anthony McGowan decides to teach philosophy to his loveable Maltese terrier, Monty. I try to imagine engaging in a discussion about Socrates with one of my cat boys, and I’m pretty sure the feline disdain for human philosophy would hang heavy in the air.
Humor, Seriously: Why Humor is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life and How Anyone Can Harness It” by Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas
Goodness knows we need more laughter right now (belly-shaking or quiet, interior chuckles—it really doesn’t matter), so how do we get more laughs? “Humor, Seriously” advises readers, in a seriously funny way, how to incorporate more grins in life and work. Ha, ha!
If You Ask Me: (And of Course You Won’t)” by Betty White
The world lost Betty White recently, and while she will be greatly missed, we’re lucky to have her television shows to watch and writings from the cheery lady herself to read. I’m a fan, and I hope you are, too.
A Mile and a Half of Lines: The Art of James Thurber” by Michael J. Rosen
If you enjoy reading “The New Yorker,” you probably know about James Thurber’s long-time connection with the magazine. Thurber, a cartoonist and author who was well-known for his wit, wrote stories for “The New Yorker” as well as drawing multiple covers and sketches for the magazine. He died in 1961, but his literary and artistic contributions continue to resonate with readers to this day.

New at the Library

Fiction

Nonfiction

Children

Jan Johnston, Collection Manager
Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries

You can email Jan at readingforfun@fvrl.org


A version of this "Check It Out" column was published in The Columbian newspaper on January 23, 2021.

Find more book columns in our Off the Shelf blog.

J. Johnston
01/19/2022 - 8:19 am

Ready for a delightful bovine story? It’s all about cow hugs, and yes, this is a real thing. I recently read an article about a cow named Lucky who was rescued from going to the slaughterhouse and sent to live out his “lucky” days at an animal sanctuary. (Actually, Lucky is a steer, but his rescuers call all of their bovine residents “cow boys” and “cow girls” – a practice I find rather sweet). The best part about Lucky, the cow boy, is that he has a unique talent for receiving and giving hugs. In fact, he’s become something of a celebrity, and people stop by the sanctuary just to experience a Lucky hug.

As it turns out, Lucky’s compassionate streak isn’t all that unique in the bovine world. One of the positive benefits derived from a cow hug—beside the obvious cuddle factor—is that a cow heart beats at a much slower rate than a human heart; so, if a cow is approachable (and soft and cuddly), leaning into a mooer can be quite restful and calming. In other words, a cow heart does a person heart good. I also learned that in some parts of the world cow hugs are in such demand that people will pay for the pleasure of embracing Clarabelle or Ferdinand.

Perhaps the next best thing to a cow hug is a cow book, so today’s reading recommendations include several titles about our bovine friends. It also feels like we could all use more hugs, but they’re still difficult to do in this pandemic world. Can reading about hugs ever come close to the real thing? Maybe not, yet I think it’s worth a try. The picture book “The Littlest Things Give the Loveliest Hugs” will melt your heart with its sweet rhyming text and adorable illustrations of hugs between animal babies and their parents. And a reading list about friendly cows just wouldn’t be complete without the story of Ferdinand the flower-sniffing bull.

And because I believe that now, more than ever, we all need a reminder about being kind to one another, I’m asking readers to consider checking out “The Kindness Cure” by Tara Cousineau. We may not be able to give our loved ones the hugs we so desperately need, or to find a local Lucky to wrap our arms around, but we can treat each other with grace and kindness in these difficult times.

New at the Library

FICTION

NONFICTION

CHILDREN

Jan Johnston, Collection Manager
Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries

You can email Jan at readingforfun@fvrl.org


A version of this "Check It Out" column was published in The Columbian newspaper on January 16, 2021.

Find more book columns in our Off the Shelf blog.

J. Johnston
01/12/2022 - 8:20 am

Another year, another January, and I am ready to snuggle up with some delightful picture books. Now that school is back in session, perhaps you and your little ones would appreciate a bit of quiet reading time just for fun. When everything around me feels too much (come on, 2022—you’re supposed to be better!), my brain processes things slowly—even when I’m reading. So, picture books are a perfect antidote to the woes of the world and my sluggish gray cells. If you haven’t become acquainted with the picture book genre, I recommend you give it a try.

This week’s reading list celebrates winter. There are many lovely picture books with a winter theme, so I encourage readers to go beyond the brief list I’m recommending in this column. Outside it may be cold, and it may be wet, but reading—no matter the genre or format—can keep things warm and toasty inside.

Button Your Buttons: It’s a Snowy Day!” written by Lori Haskins Houran, illustrated by Edward Miller
I can still remember learning how to tie my shoes and how to work a button and a zipper – I felt so important! Dressing for cold weather requires multiple zips and buttons, so help your littlest family members bundle up with this sweet picture book full of coats, hats and adorable animal friends.
The Longer the Wait, the Bigger the Hug” written by Eoin McLaughlin, illustrated by Polly Dunbar
Some animals hibernate during the winter (I keep trying to hibernate, but apparently humans are not supposed to tuck in for several months. Boo). This means that a hibernating hedgehog won’t be able to give his best friend, a tortoise, a hug for quite some time. But you know what they say: absence makes the heart grow fonder. Check out this story to read about Hedgehog’s and Tortoise’s eventual—and hug-filled—reunion.
The Snow Dancer” written by Addie Boswell, illustrated by Merce Lopez
Stepping outside after a heavy snowfall can be magical. And if school is canceled, that magical feeling just gets better! In this charming picture book, Sophia, a young girl decked out in a bright yellow coat, revels in the unexpected snow day by dancing her way across a snow- covered field.
A Thing Called Snow” written and illustrated by Yuval Zommer
Best friends, Fox and Hare, live in the arctic. They were born during springtime and have been best buds through the summer and fall seasons. Now Bird tells them that winter is soon to arrive, and there will be snow! But what is snow, they wonder? Descriptions from friendly animal neighbors help, but snow isn’t snow until they experience it for themselves. That’s life in a nutshell—or snowflake, in this case.
When Winter Comes: Discovering Wildlife in Our Snowy Woods” written by Aimee Bissonette, illustrated by Erin Hourigan
Nothing delights me more during wintertime than to look out a window and observe a Bird Fest taking place at my backyard feeders. Our feathered friends might be the easiest wildlife to spot when it’s cold, but with careful observation the winter habits of other animals can be discovered. This delightful story about a family who visits the woods on a snowy day shares how nature reveals the activities of animals even as temperatures fall.

New at the Library

FICTION

NONFICTION

CHILDREN

This is just a small sampling of the many new titles added each week to the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District collection. Find more in our catalog, or call (360) 906-5000 to reserve titles or find additional listings.

Jan Johnston, Collection Manager
Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries

You can email Jan at readingforfun@fvrl.org


A version of this "Check It Out" column was published in The Columbian newspaper on January 9, 2021.

Find more book columns in our Off the Shelf blog.

B. Townsend
01/10/2022 - 8:00 am

New year, new resolutions! Is “Write!” on your list? Whether you want to create a family cookbook, share your life story, or write a bestseller, 2022 could be the year you get it done—with a little help from the library.

If you have recipes to share, “Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Memoir, Recipes, and More” by Dianne Jacob will help you start a food blog, self-publish a cookbook, or write a food column. You’ll find information, inspiration, and writing exercises.

If you’d like to share your life story, you’ll find out how in these guides:

If you have a novel inside of you—or a bunch of unfinished ones stashed somewhere—here’s help:

How long does it take to write a novel? It varies! Many authors publish one book a year. “This Year You Write Your Novel” by Walter Mosley will show you how. In this brief guide, you’ll learn about writing disciplines, fiction basics, rewriting and editing, and more. But if you don’t have a year, maybe you have six months… or 90 days… or even 30 days!

Happy New Year, and happy writing!

Library Tip of the Month: You can find many more books with advice on every aspect and genre of writing (plot, poetry, grammar, nonfiction—you name it!) in the FVRL catalog.


A version of this column first appeared in The Messenger, January 2022.

Find more book columns in our Off the Shelf blog.

Library News

11/22/2021 - 2:33 pm

If you think the website looks different, you're right!

Why the update?

Our software was nearing end-of-life, so we had to rebuild our site. (Not our catalog - just fvrl.org.) Since we had the opportunity, we also made a few improvements!

New features

  • Easy-to-find “Locations” and “Contact Us” links: Now at the top of every page.
  • A simplified search box: Only two options: “Catalog” or “Site & FAQs.” No need to search separately for FAQs!
  • A new “Check it Out” section in the main menu: Look under “Research, Learn, Do.”
  • Blogs! Book columns, Directors' updates, and news. Find them under "About Us."
  • Calendar listings: Now on all branch pages.
  • Newly designed “Locations & Hours” and “Contact Us” pages.

Some tech stuff

  • The main menu works when you hover, not click, on desktop or laptop computers. (On mobile devices, tap as usual.)
  • All links open in the same tab, for improved accessibility. If you want to open a link in a different tab, just right-click the link and use one of the options listed, or tap with two fingers on mobile devices.
  • We updated our content management system from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9.

Questions? Comments?

Let us know if you have feedback!

11/01/2021 - 2:15 pm

Northstar Online Learning

Build everyday and workplace technology skills, and demonstrate your knowledge to employers and others. Whether you want to practice computer and internet basics, learn online career search skills, or better understand your digital footprint, Northstar can help you learn it, know it, and show it. Learn more about NorthstarFunded by the Washington State Library.

11/16/2020 - 3:53 pm

On October 3, 2020, a construction accident flooded the FVRLibraries Operations Center lower level and garage, causing major damage. Scroll down to read about it from the beginning.

Posted November 18, 2021

We have started moving staff back into the upper level of the Operations Center. We're waiting on new cubicles for the lower level.

Posted November 16, 2020

We have found temporary locations for Operations Center staff, and our mailing address for the duration will be:

Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries Operations Annex
11818 SE Mill Plain Blvd
Suite 415
Vancouver, WA 98684

At this point, all flood damage has been removed from the Operations Center, but reconstructing may take up to a year, including major electrical work.


Posted October 18, 2020

Work continues on drying out the basement. The whole building is currently unusable—even upstairs, which was above the flood. There’s no electricity, and a musty smell pervades both floors. We have hired a contractor to dry the building and remove the damaged materials, and they’re currently pumping in warm dry air and pumping out cold damp air as well as removing damaged items. This clean-up is estimated to take about a month.

Although we are working to recover some documents that we need for legal reasons, most of our flood-damaged materials can’t be saved, including many stored documents and artwork. Some items can and will be replaced: five vehicles, countless books, supplies, computers, and other equipment. Luckily our insurance is good and will cover most losses as well as relocation expenses.

Once all flood damage is removed, we’ll hire a contractor to rebuild the building to livable shape, which could take eight to ten months. In the meantime, we’ve located space in east Vancouver for part of our Operations Center staff to work and hope to have that location up and running by the end of October. We’re still in the process of locating space for the remainder of the Operations Center departments and the Fort Vancouver Regional Library Foundation.

We appreciate the goodwill of the community and your offers to help! Because we were well insured, we aren’t in need of donations of money or items for flood recovery. Since we lost much of our storage space, however, one way to help is to check out library materials. And if you’re interested in supporting FVRLibraries in other ways, we encourage you to look for opportunities through the FVRL Foundation.


Posted October 6, 2020

Here are some ways you may be affected by the October 3 flooding.

Mail notices

  • Our postal machine was damaged and will need to be replaced, so we can't currently send paper notices.

Books by Mail

  • Some holds waiting to be mailed were flooded. We are removing these items from the patrons' accounts and replacing the holds.
  • Our mail room was flooded, so delivery of holds by mail will be delayed. If you have holds scheduled to be delivered by mail, you may want to change your pickup library or suspend your hold.

New books

  • New books waiting to be delivered to our branches were flooded. 
  • We have paused having more new books delivered to us until we have the means to process them.

Posted October 4, 2020

On Saturday, October 3, Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries was alerted by contractors working on the new school behind FVRL’s Operations Center in Vancouver that they broke an 18” water main. The lower floor of the Operations Center was flooded to about two and a half feet, and our vehicle bays and loading docks were swamped out even higher. (See photo at the top of this page.) The areas affected housed our fleet and facilities, IT, collection development operations, storage, and mailroom functions as well as several library vehicles. Though the top floor of the building was not damaged, the building's power and HVAC systems were affected.

The library district is still working to assess the damage​, though it is extensive​. The focus for the next few days will be to drain and dry out the building, as well as plan for moving services to other locations if needed. Because the Operations Center is the hub for the district’s 15 locations, this will likely cause some lag in library services such as processing of holds for curbside pickup at library branches as well as sending of books by mail. The district is prioritizing patron-facing services as part of the recovery process.

Thank you for your patience as we react to this loss and the disruption of our centralized services.

09/24/2020 - 4:10 pm

Good news for our eAudio listeners! On September 29, 2020, all our RBdigital audiobooks are moving to OverDrive.

You'll use just one app—Libby or the OverDrive app—to listen to all our eAudio titles, including those that were previously available only on RBdigital. No more searching two different platforms! And new titles from popular authors (like Danielle Steel, Craig Johnson, and Joanne Fluke) will be available in OverDrive sooner than before.

Have questions? Learn more about how RBdigital users can manage the transition.