Surprise highlights from Sunnyside Library

Photo: The Sunnyside branch of the Ottawa Public Library has some surprises available for loan, like this Orion Starblast II telescope.

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By Jeremy Kerr

Most clients of the Ottawa Public Library are aware they can borrow books, DVDs, CDs or games. Here are some other services you might not know about. Everything described is completely free and can be accessed at the Sunnyside branch.


Library Tutorial 1:1

The local library offers in-depth, one-on-one tutorials with staff on a variety of topics. These tutorials can be booked through the library’s website and can be by phone or in person. For clients looking to improve their computer skills, a computer tutorial can help. Library staff can assist with basic email skills, internet navigation and digital literacy. For clients interested in eBooks or eAudiobooks, the library offers tutorials on the Libby and Cloud Library apps that are used to access the library’s digital collections. Tutorials can assist with setting up and using e-readers or accessing these apps on a smartphone or tablet. For those who are looking to get a bit more out of their library experience, tutorials are offered on the library’s catalogue and many online resources such as the Ancestry Library genealogy database and the Naxos classical music streaming service.

These tutorials are not limited to just computers and e-readers. For clients interested in research assistance, a one-on-one tutorial can help. For those looking for their next read, a readers’ advisory tutorial can offer suggestions – this likely comes as no surprise, but library staff love suggesting books!


RAPP (Reading and Parent Program) Packs

A RAPP Pack is a literacy kit intended for parents to use with their children to help them engage with reading. These packs are intended for children aged 6 months to 10 years. Each pack contains a book, a booklet of resources and either a CD or DVD containing some songs or discussions of the book’s themes. The booklet of resources contains information for parents to help them guide their child in engaging with certain aspects of the books (such as with rhymes or vocabulary) as well as activity sheets which can be photocopied. The activities range from colouring sheets to instructions for crafts that can be completed at home. The RAPP Packs come in three types: American Sign Language (ASL) packs, which include a DVD with an interpreter signing a discussion of the themes of the book; Voice packs, which include a CD with songs and discussions of the book; and French packs which are designed to encourage French language and literacy skills. Check the children’s section at Sunnyside for RAPP Packs.


The Library of Things

OPL lends out many items beyond what clients traditionally associate with libraries. For astronomy enthusiasts, the Sunnyside branch has an Orion Starblast II telescope available for borrowing for a seven-day period. For fantasy enthusiasts, many rulebooks for the tabletop game Dungeons and Dragons are also available. Those concerned with their energy usage may be interested in the Kill-A-Watt electricity usage monitor. While those interested in hunting for ghosts (or other thermal imaging) may be interested in borrowing a thermal camera. Museum passes are also available, although they are extremely popular and often in short supply. Simply come to the front desk and request the desired item.


Jeremy Kerr is a student in the Library and Information Technician program at Algonquin College who completed a placement at the Sunnyside branch of the Ottawa Public Library.


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