So, for the sake of completion and the research being so much fun, below are some examples of humour from around the world.
I started by looking at the Rolling Stones 50-funniest-people-now which is a really interesting review of film humour in the United States.
John Cleese the English comedian and writer is considered by many to be a comic genius. He was co-founded of the iconic Monty Python, wrote and acted in Fawlty Towers plus wrote and produced A Fish Called Wanda
I am sure I have overlooked many great laughs, but there you have it, a self-guided tour of humour and what makes folks laugh.
I hope your autumn is full of fun and laughter.
Kitty Pope #34 September 2014
How did we get to this juncture?
In 1902 philanthropist Andrew Carnegie donated $20,000 to the Royal City to build a public library at the intersection of Norfolk and Paisley. In classic Carnegie style, it had six columns, a dome, stained glass windows and a central staircase – a landmark in downtown Guelph.
With an ever growing population, by 1945 it became apparent that the Carnegie building was too small, and had serious structural issues. In 1964 the much loved old library was demolished and a new 19,000 sq. ft. building at 100 Norfolk Street opened costing $552,002. By 1975 the GPL board realized the library was again too small and a 10,000 sq. ft. addition was constructed at a cost of $284,182.
In 2011, after 45 years of heavy usage, the GPL board contracted for a building and functional plan to get a new main library “shovel ready.” In 2014, the library became part of the Baker Street Re-Development project.
Why does Guelph need a New Main Library?
Public libraries provide a diverse collection of resources that enrich, educate, and entertain, but why do we need a new library here in Guelph?
- The most frequent complaint about 100 Norfolk is the lack of community space to meet and study. When built, the main library was designed to house 80,000 volumes and no public computers or study space. Currently it houses over 243,000 volumes, 42 public access computers and very limited study space. For a community the size of Guelph the recommended standard size of a main library in the Great Lakes region is .60 square feet per capita. The Guelph Public Library is currently .47 square feet capita. The library is too small.
- The second most frequent complaint is the lack of parking for vehicles, bicycles and strollers. However, the library is “landlocked”, there are no options to expand parking on the street, underground or to purchase adjacent property. The library needs more parking.
- Over 29 million people have used the main library in the last 49 years; it is the most used recreational facility in the city. So it’s no surprise that the building is simply worn out and getting more and more expensive to maintain with deteriorating mechanical and electrical systems. The new library needs to be more cost effective, environmentally sustainable, plus respectful of the land and our environment.
- The awkward layout of the main library makes access by seniors, preschoolers, and the disabled very difficult. By necessity resources and services are located on all three floors, only accessible by a staircase or a very small elevator. The new library needs to be open and flexible to welcome all customers whether they are walking, wheeling or riding.
- Currently the city’s archives and local history records are shoehorned into a small storage room in the basement of the library. A well-appointed local history room would assure that our children and children’s children will know where they are going, because they will know where they came from, the Royal City!
- Public library buildings are catalysts for development and commercial activity. Canadian communities are using the public library as a way to create more vibrant and resilient public spaces that attract a steady stream of visitors. Communities such as Surrey, British Columbia where the public library is the cornerstone of the city centre, or the Hamilton central branch which is part of the Farmers Market are great examples of libraries being economic generators. In Guelph, main library foot traffic is expected to be 2,000 people per day within 2 years of opening which will significantly increase commercial activity in the cafes, retail shops and businesses at the north end of Wyndham Street.
- A downtown public library defines a city’s character. Think of the amazing stone lions (Patience and Fortitude) guarding the New York Public Library, the iconic Vancouver Public Library, the spectacular Hespeler Public Library wrapped in glass or the historic Owen Sound and North Grey Union Public Library connected to the Tom Thomson Art Gallery. These public libraries are civic landmarks that reflect the community’s character and commitment to learning, innovation, and well-being. A new main library would define and enhance Guelph.
- A new main library would improve the quality of life in Guelph. It would be Guelph’s “living room”, encouraging children and teens to read, seniors to continue learning, and for the rest of us, a fabulous place to use and enjoy.
The rise of new information and communications technologies has given Canadian public libraries a new life, packed with innovative services and community engagement. A new main library in Guelph will support this transition, build on our rich heritage, be the economic engine needed to revitalize the downtown core and open the door to Guelph’s future. For all these reasons and many, many more, Guelph needs a new main library.
Kitty Pope, CEO
firstname.lastname@example.org #5 September 2014
Public libraries benefit the entire community by providing lifelong learning opportunities to enrich, educate, and entertain, but they are also catalysts for economic development.
However, what is the actual economic value of a public library? This question is being asked across North America as public libraries quantify library services and assess their direct and indirect economic impact on the community. For example:
►The iconic Seattle Public Library opened in 2004 and generated $16 million in new spending in its first year of operation.
►The Free Library of Philadelphia economic impact study concluded that the library created more than $30 million in economic value in 2010.
►The Halifax Public Library economic impact study of 2009 estimated that the central library project would create 175 permanent jobs and provincial gross domestic product of $11,102,394 for a typical year of operation. Their spectacular new central library opens this fall.
- Early literacy, job seeking and small business programs that contribute to local economic development
- Ways in which library construction is being used to support economic development initiatives
The study concluded that public libraries are powerful tools for cities, building strong and resilient economies.
►In 2013 the Toronto Public Library commissioned the first Canadian study to measure the library’s economic impact on Toronto. So much more: the economic impact of the Toronto Public library on the City of Toronto concluded that:
- The total economic impact of the Toronto Public Library on the city was $1 billion annually
- For every dollar invested in the Toronto Public Library, Torontonians receive $5.63 in value
- The average value of services used by a Toronto Public Library customer is $502.15 annually
GPL as an economic generator
Over 29 million people have used the Guelph main library in the last 49 years; it is the most frequently used recreational facility in the city. However, is it a good return on the taxpayer’s investment?
For every dollar invested in the Guelph Public Library approximately $5.33 is returned to the community in economic benefits.
How is the ROI calculated?
The four variables to calculate library return on investment (ROI) include:
- Budgets spent locally: Proportionally, operating budgets of Toronto and Guelph spent locally are relatively similar at 85% and 86.5% respectively. However, Guelph is at a disadvantage in the spending of its capital budget for library specific technologies because they are generally not available in Guelph, but available in Toronto.
- Employees living in the city: 6.5% more Guelph Public Library staff live in the city of Guelph than do their Toronto counterparts. This is important in the ROI equation as it is reflective of employees’ salaries potentially spent in the community.
- Value of library services: In 2012 the annual circulation of library materials in Toronto was 11.48 items per capita while in Guelph it was 17.33 items. As a result the value of library services used by residents annually in Guelph is $673, which is 34% more than in Toronto.
How much money do you save as a library customer?
Customers are saving money every day by using the public library. This is particularly true of eBook readers who with a library card can download the most amazing collection of front list titles.
The Guelph Public Library also provides an online Library Value Calculator that estimates monthly personal savings as a result of using the public library. How much did you save last month because you are a public library user?
From Seattle to Halifax, the public library is an economic catalyst, supporting community development and returning to the community significant economic benefit. In Guelph, Ontario for every dollar invested in the Guelph Public Library approximately $5.33 is returned to the community in economic benefit.
The public library is a good investment.
Kitty Pope, CEO
email@example.com #4 September 2014
The community has changed, without doubt, but so have libraries. The 20th century public library was focused on internal operations and processes. The 21st century public library orientation is shifting to face outward and focus on community engagement and external partners.
The American Library Association and the Harwood Institute’s Libraries Transforming Communities is leading this change and transforming the public library from an internally focused organization to a community-facing public service.
Libraries as a community service:
As public libraries transform and engage the community they have a direct impact on community well-being. They are directly impacting the quality of life by supporting: community connections, lifelong learning, economic well-being and cultural development. However, practically, how does this happen?
□ Public libraries connect communities and are one of the few bridging organizations connecting a wide variety of agencies tackling the problems of social isolation, inequality and marginalization by providing access to the resources required to build a better life and a better community. In many communities public libraries are the “first responders” that connect people in need with the information, services and help they require.
□ Public libraries support lifelong learning, helping people read, learn and make a real difference in their well-being – whether that is about their financial situation, employment potential, their health or about new technologies. Public libraries break down the barriers to literacy and bridge the digital divide, filling the gaps in formal education and supporting personal learning and research by providing access to: learning resources, introducing families to books and reading, organizing English language classes for new Canadians, supporting book clubs, encouraging personal learning, answering questions plus supporting students and researchers.
□ Public libraries promote economic well-being and are economic generators. A healthy community enables businesses to create jobs which support sustainable economic growth and economic prosperity. Public libraries promote economic well-being by:
- Helping people learn new skills and preparing for or re-entering the workplace
- Assisting jobseekers
- Providing resources for the growth and development of small businesses
- Helping people make the most of their income
Public libraries are also economic generators returning $4 to $6 for every municipal dollar invested in a public library. The public library is a good investment.
□ Public libraries are cultural hubs enriching the lives of people by inspiring people through access to books and learning. Libraries are spaces in which people can meet, use technology, and experience what it means to be part of a vibrant community. They also collect, preserve and provide access to local history, community archives and celebrate local authors.
So what are folks doing at the library?
The Pew Research Centre 2013 research into public library usage indicates that over 53% of Americans have visited a public library in the past 12 months and 77% believe access to computers and the internet are “very important” library services. Even though this data is based on American libraries, it is reflective of Canadian library usage.
The Pew studies have also revealed some surprising facts about libraries and the way we use them. For example,
► People over age 65 are less likely to have visited a library in the last 12 months, however, younger Americans are just as likely to be library users.
► 10% of Americans have never used a library. However, their positive view of libraries is due to the fact that 40% of non-users have someone in the household who is an active library user.
► eBook reading is increasing gradually, but just 4% of Americans are “eBook only” readers. Those who read both e and printed books prefer different formats for different circumstances. People prefer eBooks for speedy access and portability, but want printed books when reading to a child.
So what kind of library user are you?
The new public library user is very different from their grandparents. To begin to assess these changes, the Guelph Public Library has a survey to learn how Guelph library habits and attitudes compare with national trends. Are you a “Library Lover,” an “Information Omnivore” or totally “Off the Grid”? Take the Guelph Public Library engagement quiz and learn how your library habits stack up.
The Andrew Carnegie model of going to the library to check out books and read newspapers is less reflective of current usage. It is being supplanted by public libraries that have a direct impact on their community, support lifelong learning, promote economic well-being and are a community hub. It has been the rise of information and communications technology that has given public libraries a new life.
If you live in Canada and need internet access, help applying for a job, want to learn how to use an eReader or research your family tree, welcome to the 21st century public library. This is what public libraries do 24/7 each and every day.
Kitty Pope, CEO
firstname.lastname@example.org #3 September 2014