by Ashley Janes
Working for the Morinville Community Library these past seven months, I’ve been surprised again and again by how different the experience is from Big City Libraries. My time here has taught me that we are the exception to society’s traditional Library Code of Conduct and are the better for it.
The first clue that things would be different came up during an early training shift when the Assistant Manager, Cheryl Pasechnik, told me “We don’t shush people here.” She explained that the sound of chatter is welcome and that I should greet patrons warmly when they walk through the door. “In fact,” she laughed, “certain staff members have been so enthusiastic that they’ve been shushed by the patrons!” Maybe this would be a problem with Big City Shushers where noise is always an unwelcome distraction, but Morinville Library is a part of this community and we want our patrons to feel at home inside our walls.
The next hint came when I supervised my first Kidz Flicks event, an afternoon once a month where young families are invited to watch a movie in the library program room. After doling out pizza, chips and pop to 20 excited children, I turned down the lights and watched their sugar-infused outlines vibrate around the room. Parents sat sublimely, just happy their little ones were in a contained space. After the movie, everyone left happy and I mopped spilled pop, swept crushed chips, and pried pizza cheese off the speakers. I thought to myself that there was no way Big City Book-Loaners would do this kind of thing, but I was proud that we did. I’m proud we care enough about creating a space for families that we invite them in to eat and play, no matter how much of a mess they leave behind.
Last week I had the pleasure of being surprised again when Manager Isabelle Cramp came out of her office and asked the working staff for theme ideas the library could use in the Light Up The Night Christmas Parade. She explained that this will be the first year the library is in the parade so we really want to put ourselves out there. An idea crept into my brain immediately but I thought no one would ever go for it so I kept it to myself. When the room remained dead silent, I decided maybe I should give it a stab. I suggested we print our teen newsletter’s slogan “Don’t Be a Zombie, Use Your Brain. Visit Your Local Library” on a banner and then paint zombie faces on all the walking participants.
“Zombies?” Isabelle asked.
“Yeah, well, zombies are everywhere today. They’re in books, movies, on television. They’re even in Romances now. So why not a Christmas Parade? The Zombie Horde is pop-culture and we can use that to make a statement and bring more people into the library.”
At first I was met with blank stares all around and then Isabelle’s face broke into a grin.
“I love it,” she said.
The surprise this time was that management was so willing to think outside the box and adopt an unconventional idea for something as traditional as a small-town holiday celebration. The result is that the Morinville Community Library will take a bite out of local festivities by drudging through the Light Up The Night Christmas Parade for the first time as a roving zombie horde, a spectacle you would never witness from those Big City Book-Stackers.
If you or your family have ever dreamed of being in a Christmas Parade zombie horde, than this opportunity is a no-brainer. The Light Up The Night Christmas Parade is on Saturday, Nov. 30, from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. There is no cost to be involved, so call the library or drop by to register. If you have any questions, call us at 780-939-3292. And if you do make it in, take a moment and look around. We may surprise you too.