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Pride Month at Kitchener Public Library

Here at Kitchener Public Library we are utterly festooned with rainbows for the month of June to celebrate Pride. Case in point:

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Photo by Sonja Friedrich

Historically libraries have been an important place for LGBTQ+ individuals to find information about coming out, health, family topics and to see themselves reflected in media and books. With the emergence of the internet, the library has evolved into a community space for LGBTQ+ to meet, socialize, create and learn together. A 2017 OutLook Study carried out by the Waterloo Region Rainbow Coalition found that libraries are one of the places LGBTQ+ people feel safest, with 64% of cisgender people and 57% of trans people reporting they feel safe in the library. This is a huge victory for us, and we are always striving to do better.

Did you know

We offer all-gender, accessible washrooms at all KPL branches. Check out this excellent map of the locations of all the gender neutral washrooms in the Waterloo Region created by SPECTRUM.

Kitchener Public Library is happy to allow trans customers to use their chosen name on their library card. You don’t need to have ID showing the change, just let us know and we’ll update it.

On June 13 KPL held an event called Queer in KW featuring a panel discussion on what it means to be queer in KW (featuring local LGBTQ+ community members and moderated by queer-identified KPL staff), followed by performances by local LGBTQ+ artists. It was a successful, beautiful and positive event, and one which we hope to repeat!

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“If You’re Beautiful and You Know It Shout Hooray!” (photo by Barb Janicek)

 

 

 

This year Kitchener Public Library’s wonderful and creative children’s department  hosted our first (and very successful) Drag Queen Story Time with the incredible Fay Slift and Fluffy Souffle!

Stay tuned for more fabulous story hours in the future.

 

 

Whoever you are, you belong at the library, so come out, come often, and come get yourself some of these Prideful Picks from your friendly neighbourhood Lesbrarians:

 

Or check out the LGBTQ+ Content or YA-LGBTQ tags in our catalogue for more queer content.

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Remembering Mr. Lynn Matthews

BLOG POST BY MARY CHEVREAU
CEO, Kitchener Public Library

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Lynn Matthews, KPL Chief Librarian, at the ceremonies for the opening of the Grace Schmidt Room of Local History in 1984 , with Susan Hoffman.

It is with great sadness that we have learned of the passing of Lynn Matthews. Mr. Matthews, as he was best known to staff, was the Chief Librarian at Kitchener Public Library from 1973 – 1993. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

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Lynn Matthews, 1980

Mr. Matthews was working in the North York Library system when he learned that the position of Chief Librarian was available at Kitchener Public Library. At the time, there was the Main Branch and the location at the Sunnyside Home on Franklin Street. During his career at KPL, he saw many changes, such as the introduction of the Bookmobiles and the addition of the Stanley Park Community Library followed by the Forest Heights Community Library. The Pioneer Park location opened in 1981. It was during his tenure in 1983 when the card catalogue files were replaced by a computer system.

Mr. Matthews did point out in an article in Vista (a local magazine in publication at the time of his retirement), “KPL is more than a massive collection of books. People of all ages have access to video tapes, national, provincial, and international newspapers, periodicals, trade magazines, historical reference materials, 35 mm films, record albums, booking in other languages, and a host of specialized programs for everyone from toddler to senior citizen.” Mr. Matthews retired in October 1993.

On a personal note, I was a trustee of the Kitchener Public Library Board towards the end of Lynn’s career. He was a visionary and ahead of his time in many ways, and was dedicated to making KPL an exceptional library for the community. He left a legacy of strength and innovation from which all future CEOs could build.


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Accessibility: BrowseAloud

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GUEST BLOG POST BY GARY BAUMAN, WEB SERVICES LIBRARIAN

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You may have noticed an icon on the Kitchener Public Library website, at the top of every page. This is the icon for BrowseAloud, a service which we have had for some time.

For those unfamiliar with it, BrowseAloud is an accessibility tool which allows users who have difficulty reading text on computer screens to have the content on a web page read aloud to them. Users can control whether the entire page is read, or just selected portions of the text.

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Happy Canada Day: Welcoming newcomers

9 A conversation circle

We’d like to wish everyone a happy Canada Day, especially newcomers to Canada who are celebrating with us for the first time.

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve received a grant of $20,470 from the Immigration Partnership Council that we’ll be using to host English conversation circles for Syrian newcomers, beginning this fall. The grant funding will be used to pay for translation services, new resources,  and bus tickets for participants.

On June 24, Premier Kathleen Wynne visited Central Library and met with six local Syrian families for a private conversation circle of their own.

With an Arabic translator on hand, Premier Wynne said “We want you to fell welcome, and we want you to feel that you have opportunities.”

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National Volunteer Week: Sara Falhaufer

We’re celebrating National Volunteer Week, April 10 – 16!

Meet Sara Falhaufer, who volunteers as a shelf reader at Central Library. She just completed the library technician program at Mohawk College yesterday (congratulations, Sara!) and her education, coupled with her volunteer work here, have helped her to get a job at Waterloo Public Library.

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Happy trails to you, Ann Wood!

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Ann Wood, Halloween, 1979

Silly Love Songs by Paul McCartney and Wings was playing on on the eight-track.  People got off the couch and changed the channel from Laverne and Shirley to Charlie’s Angels. Pet rocks and jumping beans were almost as popular as real pets.

It was 1976 when Ann Wood started her career at Kitchener Public Library, and we kept her here for four decades. But this week, we say goodbye as she leaves for a well-deserved retirement.

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Faster, higher, stronger: improved internet access

GUEST POST BY LESA BALCH, DIRECTOR OF TECHNOLOGIES AND CONTENT

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Access to the internet just got faster!  In fact, Kitchener Public Library now offers 200 Mbps of bandwidth to access the internet.

Two years ago, Kitchener Public Library increased the bandwidth that is available to use the internet across all library locations for both connected computers and WiFi. Then, in the past two years, WiFi usage more than tripled.

  • 2013 = WiFi used 121,963 times
  • 2015 = WiFi used 406,369 times

With this dramatic increase in WiFi usage, along with an increase in streaming video, whether short YouTube clips or full-length movies, it was time to increase the bandwidth again.  This time the library doubled the bandwidth to 200 Mbps.

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