Anyone who has been anywhere near Bindoon in the past several months is well aware that I recently went on a trip to visit my dad in Canada, since it’s all I’ve been talking about! The day before I left I had this crazy idea to get in touch with the library service over there to see if they wanted to be friends with the Bindoon Library (because really, we’re awesome so why wouldn’t they?). Think of it a little like Sister Cities, where cities on opposite sides of the globe connect to promote cultural and social ties, except cooler because it’s with libraries.
Deidre Tansey, the Digital Marketing Specialist for the Vancouver Island Regional Library service got my overly enthusiastic message and instead of running screaming, she thought it was a fantastic idea and was immediately on board.
After arriving in Canada, I put on my Library Hat and we met at the Nanaimo Harbourfront branch of the VIRL. Right away we knew that this was the start of a beautiful friendship between our organisations as we exchanged information about our services and chatted like we’d known each other for years. The VIRL service consists of 39 branches across Vancouver Island, some of them much smaller than the Bindoon Library, some of them as big as one of the large metro libraries here in WA, and some in the Goldilocks zone which are just like us. They have had similar challenges with Inter Library Loans and they too have had to think outside of the box to find new and exciting ways to keep libraries relevant.
Deidre’s area of expertise is social media and she oversees all of the Facebook pages for those 39 libraries and provides training to the library staff in how to personalise them to their individual branches. As much fun as I have with the Bindoon Library Facebook page, having to do so many would be a daunting task but Deidre is more than up to the job. We shared ideas for promoting our activities and services and she had some really handy tips for engaging with our members.
We exchanged library bags (essentially the equivalent of friendship bracelets) and she also gave us Tales The Whale – their fluffy little orca mascot who you can meet next time you drop by. We’ve been keeping in touch and I look forward to our long distance library friendship as it continues to grow over the coming years.