Librarian in Focus: Jeff Mercer

November 18, 2014

Librarian in Focus: Jeff Mercer

Jeff Mercer, Librarian, South Shore Public Libraries

Everyone comes through the doors looking for something. Hopefully they leave and found what they are looking for. - Jeff Mercer, Librarian, South Shore Public Libraries

What kind of events are happening right now at the library?

We have an eight-week course in 3D modeling and design. We also have LEGO robotics competition, traditional readings, along with a film series that plays once a month!

What is the importance of having a 3D printer?

It’s great, we're trying new stuff with it. We're getting the business community behind it. Getting some prototyping done. School kids are going crazy about it. Other people try it out just to see what it’s like. We are in a rural area, therefore, we belive we should have access to this technology. It’s important for us to give everyone the opportunity to gain as much knowledge and access to technology as we can. Libraries should be barrier free. We try to provide a broad collection of subject matter. If people have interest, we try to accommodate that.

What is your first memory in the library?

I was young. My dad was in the military, which meant we moved around a lot, so I remember a lot of libraries. I remember ones that were in Chilliwack, BC. There was one on base and there was also one in a mobile home. There were books on Tolkien and King Arthur. My mom took me to story time in Ontario, which I fondly remember!

What book would you recommend?

Guardians of The Moon and The Blade Itself.

Describe the library in 3 words:

Open. Fun. Imagination.

Can you describe this library?

There is a hockey rink in this facility, a pool, and fitness room as well. It is a whole community building. We think this is a great fit. People can come to the library to relax, take an afternoon off. It doesn’t have to be hard-core research--you can sit back and read the latest Garfield. If you want to keep in touch with someone across the country you can Skype, or get Facebook going, or use other technology that we provide.The construction was sourced locally. There are amazing windows that look right onto nature. The last building was great, but it was an older one and very dark as well. The natural light is something we haven’t had before, which is a vast improvement. It is very warm and inviting.

What is the demographic?

Zero to one hundred. It’s true. Our story time is very popular... 40 odd people a week attend storytime. We have after school activities for school classes, all the grades through. There are meditation groups for adults and retired people. Making use of meeting rooms or machines. Everyone is making use of the space.

Is this library important to Bridgewater?

We sure hope so! They got behind us when we moved from our old location to our new one. They want us here. We are happy about it. We asked the people to help transport books from the old library to the new one by hanging on to them for a couple weeks until we opened this one, and then took the books back. They helped transport approximately 20,000 books from the old one. Everyone comes through the doors looking for something. Hopefully they leave and found what they are looking for.

Libraries have the power to inspire. How do you feel?

I hope they do. Nobody judges for what you’re interested in. You have that freedom of creativity. Without that restriction, you are inspired to freely explore those passions.

Is partnership a big part of modern library?

Yes. We can’t do it alone. We can provide space, expertise, promotion, and resources. The partners can provide the other half. If they have a speaker and they need a space we can provide that. Or if we have a speaker and they have the audience we try to match it up that way. It manifests in all sorts of ways. This is one of the newest ways... I am excited to see it happen.

What would you say to a person who hasn’t been in a library for a while?

This isn’t your grandmother’s library. We are not abandoning the books, we are behind the books. But we don’t care if it’s in print or it’s audio, CD, or downloadable. We want this to be a place where people are comfortable.