The latest pop culture, County history & digital literacy classes!

Picton Gazette, Publications, Uncategorized

Written by Liz Zylstra & Whitney Shantz
Originally published in the Picton Gazette, February 9, 2017

When you think ‘library’ your brain probably also immediately envisions ‘books’. It may come as no surprise that leading Prince Edward County’s passion for reading, personal growth and learning is of the goals in our roadmap to 2021. This week’s article is the second in a 4-part series about PEC Library’s new strategic plan. If you’d like to review the entire plan, you can find it posted on or pick up a print copy in one of our six branches. On behalf of the library team, we’re pleased to be co-writing this week!

Hot topics? We’ve got you covered!

Hi! I’m Liz Zylstra, Collection Supervisor for the PEC Library. I work to ensure that we have enough copies of award-winning books that readers and the literary community are buzzing about, as well as pop culture subjects that patrons want to check out. It’s important for the library to stock current, topical books as well as for branches to be places you look forward to dropping into, getting a book suggestion and chatting with your neighbours.

We’re working to provide more ways for people to join in conversations about books and culture outside of our bricks and mortar walls. We do this in many ways, such as through our online and social media channels. For example, Matt Galloway, host of CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning” recently shared a photo of Kyo Maclear’s “Birds Art Life” on Instagram and commented, “A wonderful, meditative book.” A local patron tagged us on Matt’s post – we took a look at the book and decided to add it to our collection. “Birds Art Life” will join our collection in the coming weeks – call any branch to reserve it in advance. Any time you see a book you would like to read but that we don’t yet have at the library – please let me know! You can e-mail directly

We’ve also started to host Pop Up Libraries in the community. For example, Barbara Sweet, CEO “popped up” at a luncheon hosted by Community Care for Seniors to bring books, DVDs and more to borrow. She also took registrations for library cards. We’re working to bring as much of the library experience as we can to every corner of the County.

Preserving the County’s past for future generations

Another element of this goal is a focus on preserving Prince Edward County’s history and culture – an objective that we’re helped tremendously in because the County Archives falls under the auspices of the Library. Krista Richardson, Archivist works to save historically significant items that are related to Prince Edward County. Through public speaking, working with seniors at nursing and retirement homes and with local schools, she ensures public access to the history of our community.

Engaging kids and youth in PEC Library resources

Another one of our 2021 strategies is to develop more resources that support school curriculums and ensure that all local teachers and administrators are aware of library resources. I’m Whitney Shantz, Youth Coordinator, and I frequently reach out to local teachers and admins to invite classes to visit their local PEC Library branch.

Currently, Queen Elizabeth Public School, St. Gregory Catholic School and CML Snider Public School all visit library branches on a regular basis for story-times, book talks, author visits and to borrow from the collection. Classes even took part in a 6-week stop motion film workshop! We even host remote classes – the 3D printer visited Pinecrest and is looking for more students to see! If you’re a local educator and would like some help in your classroom, please contact me at

Engaging children is always a priority for the library. Our new season of programming is specifically designed to help families and kids embrace early and digital literacy. Toddler Time for ages 0-5 at the Wellington branch library kicked off this week with a packed children’s room enjoying stories, crafts and snacks. The first session highlighted the work of ever-popular children’s author Eric Carle. In the weeks to come, we’ll explore the works of popular and sometimes obscure children’s authors and illustrators. After-school Maker Clubs in Picton and Wellington are providing instruction and exploration in STEAM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Arts & Math) programming for children aged 6-12 and at two new March Break camps! Teens can rock out with our volunteer Mario Panacci on Friday afternoons at the Picton branch Rock Jam – both instruments and instruction are provided.

We welcome suggestions and want to know what PEC families are looking for. Please talk to your local branch librarian the next time you visit or call them directly. Find all the information you need about events, contacts and resources by visiting at any time of the day or night.