By Nick Bernard
A sign hangs on the door leading into the corner room at the Minden Hills library branch, a room packed wall-to-wall with books.
The Book Nook is Open! One Person Inside At A Time. Please Wear A Mask.
The Friends of the Haliburton County Public Library have been running the Book Nook out of the Minden Hills branch for years.
Since July, the Friends have been holding the Book Nook outside. Now, it returns to its usual corner of the Minden library, with some restrictions in place.
The Book Nook allows readers to make a small donation in exchange for a gently used book.
Sue Sisson, who volunteers with the Friends of the HCPL, said the benefits of the Book Nook extend to everyone in the county.
“Really, the benefits go to everyone and all the libraries in Haliburton County,” she said.
She described the steps the Friends took in consulting with local health authorities in order to allow them to move outside.
“They said I could do it outside on the porch in the Minden library,” Sisson said. “And as long as I measured the tables where the two meters part.”
The modified Book Nook also provided hand sanitizer and masks to book browsers. As well, with money needing to be handled indirectly, the pricing model for the Book Nook changed.
Previously, books were available for a fee – 50¢ for paperback, and $1 for hardcover. In light of the pandemic, purchases made in the Book Nook are now by donation.
“We have lots of categories, so there’s a good variety for people,” Sisson said. “And now they can just pay by donation, so it’s great, especially in our area … it really provides a way that they can just, you know, put in a little bit of change to get their book. And if they can’t afford it, we don’t worry about that — just take a book and enjoy it!”
According to Sisson, the Book Nook has raised $1777.25 since July, with all proceeds going back to the library.
In pre-pandemic times, the Friends would raise money for the library beyond just the Book Nook. When lockdowns started rolling out, the Friends were preparing for a sale of mystery/thriller novels. In-person fundraisers have been scaled back, for now, so the Friends are moving their fundraising efforts online.
On Dec. 1 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., the Friends of the Haliburton County Public Library will be presenting the Friends Café and an event titled Blades & Beyond, featuring four-time figure skating world champion Kurt Browning, who cottages in Minden. It will be a virtual conversation, where Browning will share stories about his life and career in a humorous and engaging fashion.
Membership to the Friends of the HCPL is also available. Being a member includes being the first to know about things that are happening around the library and at the Book Nook, as well as information on events like the Friends Café. Memberships are $5 for the year.
Information about how to register for the Friends Café is available on the Friends of the Haliburton County Public Library Facebook page or those interested can email Pat Brezina, another Friend of the Haliburton County Public Library: email@example.com
There are smaller iterations of the Book Nook at the libraries in Haliburton and Wilberforce.