It was awesome! So many resources: Books (obviously); dvds and cds; tons of supplementary books on any given subject; gazillions of kits that the library staff put together for all manner of subject areas; games; literature boxes; graphic novel collections, including non-fiction; tools to make cutouts and so on.... It was really incredible!! The staff who presented were so friendly and welcoming and seemed to want to bend over backwards to make things possible for h/schoolers. Wow.
The best thing of all, from my perspective, was learning that I could phone the library and put in what's called a subject request. I can just call in and ask the staff there to put together a package of materials for me on any given subject. Can you believe that??? They can do my research for me and probably do a way better job than I would!
So...this morning I did it for the first time and it felt like Christmas morning. I told the reference librarian the things I wanted searched (almost hesitatingly, as if I was trying to get away with something that I wasn't really supposed to be doing), told her my kids' ages, and she took notes! She said it would be ready for me in 24 hours and that they would hold it for 7-10 days. I plan to pick up the pile next Wednesday evening when I'm in the area.
Here's what I requested:
- Math By All Means: Multiplication, recommended by one of my favourite blog readers here. Thanks again Jackie!!
- Information about the culture and geography of Montreal and Quebec, given that we're going to be going there briefly in a couple of months.
- Subject of light (a current interest of both Matthew and Seth): Light as a source of energy; how light travels; how to design a periscope and kaleidoscope; the vocabulary of light (eg. absorb, transmit, transparent, translucent, etc etc); white light as separated into colours; natural vs artificial light; etc etc. They're going to put together 3-4 books for each kid (to accommodate their ages) and other general-use stuff that I can put to use.
- Pirates - not fake pirates, but real pirates. This is something that Matthew's been interested in for several weeks. I've been avoiding it a little, to be honest, because real pirates aren't nearly as friendly a topic as fake ones; but his interest has persisted and so I asked the reference librarian if she could find something - and she assured me she could find several books on the subject that were age appropriate, informative, and interesting. OK then...real pirates it is.
Anyway, I'm pumped. What a resource to have at my disposal.