• Updates from the ORL September 21 Board Meeting

    by ORL News | Sep 28, 2016

    At the Okanagan Regional Library Board meeting on September 21, directors reviewed the proposed budget for 2017 as well as progress on the library system’s strategic plan and coming priorities.

    Finance Committee Chair Lori Mindnich, the ORL rep from Lumby Council, presented a budget for the coming year that would include a 1.98% increase to the 2016 operating budget of $18.3 million, consisting primarily of inflationary expenses (1.6%), with roughly $70,000 (or 0.38%) of new initiatives.

    Mindnich explained that the goals of the Finance Committee were to continue to keep the overall budget affordable with current inflation levels, while focusing any changes on strategic items outlined in the ORL’s Strategic Plan and maintaining critical core services. New dollars target the increasing demand for library programming, learning initiatives, and outreach, and training for staff to assist the public with the sweeping technology changes present today. In 2015, the ORL saw a 20% increase in attendance at classes and programs, with adult attendance doubling. The Board will vote on the 2017 budget at their November meeting.

    ORL staff also reported on implementation of the newly-adopted Strategic Plan which is focused on transforming the library to meet the changing learning needs of Southern Interior residents. Highlighted reports included a review of the ORL’s Information Technology infrastructure, which is facing a number of challenges. Demand for bandwidth and wifi access continues to increase, with wifi hours used at over 57 wifi hotspots increasing from 160,000 hours in 2014 to 341,000 hours in 2015. Also highlighted were the Master Plan for the downtown Kelowna branch’s revitalization and new targeted services available to members with print disabilities. The ORL can provide free home delivery and download of materials for the blind, for people with learning disabilities, and for those who can’t physically contend with standard print materials. In addition, with the help of the Central Okanagan Foundation, the ORL recently launched a pilot to loan out tablets preloaded with these special materials. It is estimated that 10% of the Canadian population has impairments reading traditional print formats and many in the public aren’t aware of free services available to them through the library.

    The final Board meeting for the year is scheduled for Wednesday, November 16.

  • Your New Online Experience is Here!

    by ORL News | Sep 26, 2016

    Your New Online Experience has been up for a few days and here are answers to some common questions, and a few other notes...


    Lists created in the former Catalogue

    The lists you have created in the former Catalogue will remain there. Login in to your account in the former Catalogue at to view those lists. You can print, save or email the lists to keep a record for yourself.


    Logging Out

    Having trouble finding the log out button on the new Catalogue? When you are logged in, click on your username in the upper right hand corner to expand the menu. The Log Out link is the first option in the menu. 


    Creating a Username

    You will be directed to register your library card and create a username the first time you sign in to the new Catalogue to place holds, renew items, or manage your library account.

    You’ll want to create a username that doesn’t personally identify you (e.g., don’t use your name, birthday, or your email address). 

    Please be aware that usernames created in the former Catalogue,, might not be able to be used for the new Catalogue.

    Because the new BiblioCommons Catalogue is also used by libraries all over the world, you won’t be able to use a username if it is already in use by a customer from another library system.

    After you have registered a username, you can choose to sign in to the new Catalogue with that, or your library card number – your choice.

    Find out more about signing in to the new Catalogue for the first time


    Reading History

    Your Reading History in the new Catalogue is called Borrowing History. You may need to enable it in the new Catalogue by signing in to to My Settings at the following link,, and clicking on the Privacy option.

    Your Borrowing History will always be kept private to you.


    Privacy settings

    You can manage other Privacy Settings from this page, too, such as for your Completed, In Progress and For Later Shelves, to share as much or as little as you like!

    By default, items added to your Completed, In Progress and For Later Shelves are public, meaning other library patrons can see them if they click on your username.

    If you’d prefer these Shelves to be private, simply click on the appropriate checkboxes in the My Collections space on your Privacy Settings page in the new Catalogue.

    You can learn more about managing My Settings at  

  • Getting Started with Your New Online Experience

    by ORL News | Sep 16, 2016

    The ORL is excited to be launching your new online experience next week showcasing a user-friendly website, a return to the interactive BiblioCommons Catalogue, and new online Events Calendar featuring happenings at local branches. This new experience will be launched late evening/overnight on Monday, September 19.  So when you wake up on Tuesday morning, be sure to check it all out, right here at!

    On Tuesday, you will notice the online catalogue has a new format with special features such as the ability to rate and add comments on items you’ve borrowed, as well as share recommendations and follow readers with interests similar to yours. You will be able to find ORL eBook titles right inside our catalogue, too! Meaning you won’t have to log separately into the ORL eBooks collection to request, borrow, or download digital books.  

    This marks a return to the interactive catalogue powered by a company called BiblioCommons that the ORL subscribed to between 2011-2014. So if you used our online catalogue during those years, chances are you will be familiar with it and will simply be able to login as usual. 

    If you didn’t use our online catalogue between 2011-2014, you will be directed to register your library card the first time you sign in to the catalogue to place holds, renew items, or manage your library account. Once you have entered your library card number and PIN/password, you’ll be asked to confirm your birthday and email address (if provided), and then create a unique username. 

    If you have any questions about this registration process, concerns or problems, please visit to learn more about it. You can also reach out to us at or your nearest library branch

  • Upcoming Temporary Closures for Mission and Kelowna Library Branches

    by ORL News | Sep 13, 2016

    The Mission and downtown Kelowna branches of the ORL will be closed temporarily while we undergo a bit of a change.  

    The downtown Kelowna branch (located at 1380 Ellis Street) will be closed the following days:

    Friday, September 30 to Sunday, October 2.

    The Kelowna branch will reopen on Monday, October 3.


    The Mission branch (located at 4105 Gordon Drive) will be closed the following days:

    Thursday, September 29 – Starting at 12:30 PM, and Friday, September 30 – All Day.

    The Mission branch will reopen on Saturday, October 1.


    Material will not be due during the closure period, but will have a slightly extended loan period.   

    Thank you for your patience during this temporary disruption of service. Rutland,Westbank and Lake Country branches would welcome the opportunity to assist you. 

    Be sure to visit the Mission branch on October 1, and the downtown Kelowna branch on October 3, to check out the results!  

  • ORL Librarian for 3 Decades off on New Adventures!

    by ORL News | Sep 07, 2016

    After 28 years – including almost two decades on the reference desk – Okanagan Regional Library has bid Farewell to Fern Teleglow, Branch Head Librarian at the downtown Kelowna Branch. What adventure awaits her? Working in a small bookshop in Scotland. But before venturing to Wigtown, Scotland’s “national book town”, she will be exploring Amsterdam, France, Italy, and Cypress, enroute to this fitting Air B&B.

    “It’s called The Open Book,” she explains. “It’s booked till 2018, and while you stay there, you run the small bookshop.”

    Other highlights planned for the coming months include a special milestone birthday in Italy with friends, and spending Christmas in Norway with family.

    As for her time with ORL, the highlight was the construction of the Kelowna Branch, and the biggest change: the Internet.

    “Before Google and smartphones, we used to settle a lot of bar bets,” explains Fern. “People would call from the bar to settle an argument. Now, the questions are harder as not everything is ‘google-able’.”

    Aside from learning and her own personal love of books, Fern’s favourite part of the job was always the people. “I got into this because I love books, and I love people, but I didn’t expect to like it so much!”

    After her world travels, Fern will return to Kelowna some time in 2017. For now, she doesn’t have a set timetable, except for her departure from the Okanagan.

  • Your New Online Experience is Coming September 19!

    by ORL News | Sep 06, 2016

    Based on member feedback and testing, the ORL is excited to launch a new online experience for our patrons on Monday, September 19. The changes to will include a new streamlined website, an easy-to-use Events Calendar, and a return the interactive BiblioCommons Catalogue.

    When launched, the online functions will:

    • Make it easier to find the books, music, and movies you want to enjoy
    • Enable sharing of recommendations and reviews with other library members throughout North America
    • Allow you to borrow digital books directly from the Catalogue
    • Register online for library events and programs, and get calendar reminders
    • Make the Website, Catalogue and Events Calendar mobile-friendly so you can easily view pages on your smartphone and tablet.

    More information and tips on using the new online experience will be coming over the next few weeks.

  • Westside Residents - Thanks for participating in our Future Library Services survey

    by ORL News | Jul 29, 2016

    August 19th was the last day for Westside residents to participate in our library services survey, and be entered into a random draw to win a $100 gift certificate from Save-On Foods. A  big thank you goes out to everyone who has responded! 

    So far, over 450 responses have been collected and the confidential data will be valuable in shaping the future of library service in the Westside area.

    In 2014, the ORL conducted an assessment on library usage in communities throughout its service area, and one of the key findings was that the growing Westside community is due for an increase in library services. While the West Kelowna branch in Westridge Mall has expanded in recent years, the ORL recognizes there are other ways to support the burgeoning area and is seeking input from local residents.

    An online survey has been created for both ORL members and non-members to glean what types of programs and services would be most beneficial to those living on the Westside. The survey should take about five minutes to complete and is completely confidential. It can be found at: [the survey is now closed].

  • ORL and COF Partner to Give More Access to Print-Disabled Members

    by ORL News | Jul 20, 2016

    A new pilot program at Kelowna library branches is bringing a wealth of new materials to members with print disabilities, thanks to funding from the Central Okanagan Foundation (COF).

    The "iPad Accessibility Project" enables those who cannot read traditional print books - either due to a visual disability, an inability to manipulate books manually, or a cognitive disability - to use tablets for their reading pleasure and education. The project takes advantage of specially-created files designed by the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS) and the Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) that can convert books in text format to audio. Other apps and the iPad’s accessibility settings can also be manipulated to alter the screen in a way that makes print more legible.

    “This project harnesses all these great new technologies and puts them together in a way that gets our library collections into the hands of people who otherwise might not be able to use them,” explains Kelowna Branch's Reference and Instruction Supervisor, Christine McPhee.

    The ORL has long carried large print books and audiobooks for customers that prefer these formats. But even these formats don't work for everyone with print disabilities, and selection can be limited.

    "With funding from the COF and the iPads, we can dramatically open up the breadth of materials available for our print-disabled members," adds McPhee

    90-year-old Madeleine Jeanson, who suffers from advanced macular degeneration and doesn’t have a computer at home, is delighted with the iPad project.

    "The service is really great. The staff download great books for me, and it's so easy to use – press a few buttons and go," she says. "I just finished 'The Grapes of Wrath' - what a pleasure to read Steinbeck again!"

    Six iPads were funded by a grant from the COF for use at the three library branches in the City of Kelowna in Rutland, Mission and downtown.

    Bruce Davies, the Executive Director of the Foundation says, "This was an excellent opportunity for us to make resources truly accessible to people that need them the most. We believe promoting literacy is a key component of being a smart and caring community.”

    Currently, only ORL members who qualify as print disabled are eligible to use the specially-equipped iPads.

    "The iPads are already being well-used and we would love to be able to expand the program with more iPads and to other ORL locations, if more funding were available," adds McPhee.

    For more information, contact the Kelowna Branch Reference Services Desk at 250-762-2800, Ext. 2820. 

  • Thousands of Children Registered for Summer Reading Club!

    by ORL News | Jul 13, 2016

    The ORL's annual Summer Reading Club (SRC) is already a smashing success with thousands of children aged 5-12 year-old throughout the library district signed up! 5,000 reading records were distributed to the ORL's 29 branches earlier this summer and many locations are already running low. Stocks of more reading records will be coming to branches shortly.

    This year's SRC theme is "Book A Trip" and each library branch is hosting special events, contests and prizes to encourage school-age kids to read during the holidays and keep their literacy skills sharp. For more information, visit the Summer Reading Club page or your local branch webpage.

    Not sure what to read? Our children's librarians are happy to help with creating a custom booklist based on your little one's reading level and likes - simply visit our Custom Booklist page!

  • 2015 Annual Report

    by ORL News | Jun 06, 2016

    Hot off the presses - our ORL 2015 Annual Report highlights the library system's accomplishments over the past year.

    Learn more by clicking here

  • Introducing PressReader - Free Online Newspaper and Magazines!

    by Chantelle McGee | May 15, 2016

    Your online experience with the ORL just keeps getting better with the addition of “PressReader”, the world’s largest online newspaper and magazine kiosk. ORL members now have free access to full content digital replicas of more than 4,000 publications from all over the world, such as the Globe and Mail, the Washington Post, and the Daily Mail.

    “PressReader is very easy to use and comes jam-packed with features for getting the most out of your experience, such as keyword searching, article translation options for several languages, and options for listening to articles,” says Chantelle McGee, the ORL’s Virtual Branch Head.

    To get started, simply visit the to get complete information on using the new service. ORL members will be asked to sign in with their library barcode and PIN/passcode to view the PressReader collection.

    Also, ORL branches are “hotspots” for PressReader, meaning that it can be accessed on the library’s computer terminals or on mobile devices connected to the ORL’s Wi-Fi without entering a barcode.

    “This will be very handy for visitors to our region who want to get news from home,” adds McGee.

  • ORL Endowment Established at the Shuswap Community Foundation

    by Chantelle McGee | Apr 15, 2016

    The ORL is pleased to announce it has contributed seed funding in the amount of $5,000 to establish a permanent endowment with the Shuswap Community Foundation (SCF). When the endowment reaches $10,000 income earned will be used to support library services and programs in the Shuswap region. The Foundation and the ORL look forward to working with donors who would like to contribute to the fund.

    Currently there are five ORL locations in the Shuswap: the Salmon Arm Branch in Piccadilly Mall, the South Shuswap Branch in Blind Bay, the North Shuswap Branch in Scotch Creek, the Silver Creek Branch and the Sicamous Branch. Last year, these five branches welcomed 216,002 visitors and had 11,522 children attend story times. 380,460 free materials and resources were also borrowed at these branches.

    “We recognize the importance of libraries in the Shuswap communities, and in planning for their future, we wanted to create an endowment to support library services,” explains ORL Board Chair, Catherine Lord of Vernon. “We hope this endowment encourages local residents to invest in the sustainability of their library.”

    Dave Wood, SCF President, congratulated the ORL Board on their acknowledgement of how community foundations can play a role in administering endowment funds which will provide future income in support of library services and programs. SCF continues to grow its many agency funds, and welcomes the establishment of Okanagan Regional Library - Shuswap Endowment Fund.

    The Okanagan Regional Library – Shuswap Endowment Fund is open for anyone to contribute to in any amount or as part of a bequest. For more information, contact Shuswap Community Foundation at 250-832-5428 or visit their website at

  • Fraud Alert Update: Beware Callers Claiming You Owe Fines

    by ORL News | Apr 04, 2016

    UPDATE: April 5, 2016 - Please note that one of the people called in this scam is not a library member, and the ORL’s IT department can confirm there has been no compromise to personal information or the library’s data systems.

    April 4, 2016 - It has come to the attention of the ORL that some library members are being phoned by a scammer. In both cases, a caller identified themselves as "a collection agency working for the library" to collect overdue fees. PLEASE BE AWARE: The ORL only uses a collection agency in the event that a member has over $50 in fines due over 90 days, and ALWAYS follows up with a written account outlining the fees and methods of payment. Members are never asked to pay fines over the phone. If you receive a suspicious call, do not give any personal information and follow up with your local library branch.

  • ORL Members Can Access Free Online Tutorials

    by ORL News | Mar 07, 2016

    The ORL is again adding to its growing digital collection by adding free member access to is an online collection of instructional tutorials taught by industry experts, with thousands of videos that cover everything from animation to web design and accounting to writing. New tutorial videos are added to the collection regularly.

    “Have you ever wanted to learn how to improve your photography skills, learn how to design a logo, or develop business and marketing skills? Now you can watch tutorials on these topics for free if you have an ORL card,” explains ORL’s Virtual Branch Librarian Chantelle McGee. Normally, there is a monthly subscription fee that customers have to pay. is easy to use and the videos play on the browser of a computer or tablet with an Internet connection. You can find out more about how to get started with using on this help page.

    World-wide, over 4 million people have used to improve their skills and boost creativity, and has a subscription fee for non-library users. t is the latest addition to the ORL’s online offerings that include eBooks, eAudiobooks, online magazines, and streaming video.

  • "Thailand Corner" Coming to Kelowna and Vernon Branches

    by ORL News | Mar 03, 2016

    The Royal Thai Consulate-General will be bringing a taste of Southeast Asia to the Okanagan, hosting “Thailand Corner” at the ORL’s Kelowna and Vernon branches. Known as the “Land of Smiles”, Thailand has become one of the world’s most popular destinations and the Consulate-General based in Vancouver wants to share the reasons why with Okanagan residents.

    "Thailand Corner" will be held:

    • in the second floor Great Room at the Kelowna Branch on Sunday, March 13
    • in the meeting room at the Vernon Branch on Monday, March 14

    Both events will begin with registration 1:00 PM and an official opening ceremony at 1:30 PM hosted by Anyamanee Jakaew, the Royal Thai Consulate-General. The ceremony and reception will be followed by an introduction to Thai cooking with samples of the country’s culinary creations available for tasting. These events are free and open to the public.

    As part of the program, the Consulate-General will leave a collection of books and information about Thailand for display at the library over the next week, and then the materials will be donated to the ORL collection.

  • Calling all Hedley Residents - new branch hours survey!

    by ORL News | Feb 19, 2016
    The ORL is conducting a branch hours survey for the Hedley library location in order to review open hours to better serve the community. Area residents, both library customers and non-users, are invited to fill out an online survey at - the link is available on the Hedley branch webpage. Paper copies of the survey are also available in the branch located at 789 Scott Avenue in Hedley. The survey will close on March 31, 2016.
  • ORL Board Sets Course for 2016 and Beyond

    by ORL News | Feb 17, 2016

    At today's ORL Board meeting, directors elected new officers for the coming year and approved a strategic plan prioritizing learning, innovation and community partnerships.

    Chair Catherine Lord, the ORL rep from Vernon City Council, opened the meeting highlighting successes from the 2015 year, most notably the opening of the long-awaited new library branch in Summerland. While the building has only been open 4 months, statistics already indicate visits to the branch are up over 10%. System-wide, participation in children’s programs were up 12% over the previous year and attendance at programs geared towards adult audiences more than doubled. Circulation of print materials declined by 2.6%, while the usage of electronic materials continued to climb 20.6% over 2014.

    During Board elections, Lord was voted to serve another year as the library system’s Chair, and Lori Mindnich, a Councillor from Lumby, will act as Vice Chair. Mindnich will also chair the Finance Committee. The Policy and Planning Committee will be headed by Karla Kozakevich, from the Okanagan Similkameen Regional District, and the Personnel Committee will be chaired by Tundra Baird from Enderby’s Council. Erin Carlson, a Councillor from Summerland, will be the ORL’s liaison with the BC Library Trustee Association.

    The Board unanimously approved a new strategic plan for the ORL, a plan that they have been developing over the past year in collaboration with staff, public feedback, and research on national and international trends in library service. The plan solidifies the mission for the ORL as “Connecting Curious Minds” and outlines four key themes for the library’s focus in coming years:

    1. Our library advances learning, creativity and imagination
    2. Our library is an integral part of life in our diverse communities
    3. Our library branches are innovative, inviting and reflect our communities
    4. Our library is focused on customer service, staffed by learners confident in their abilities

    Staff are already rolling out an operational plan for 2016 to move towards these goals, and we will be sharing progress and next steps with the public throughout the strategic plan implementation. The ORL thanks everyone who participated in community consultations in 2015 to bring these this plan to fruition.

  • Problems with ORL eBooks on your Apple device?

    by ORL News | Feb 15, 2016

    On February 1, the company named OverDrive that the ORL and many other libraries works with for its digital eBooks and eAudiobooks collection, released an update for its iOS app. Unfortunately this update introduced a bug that has created problems for some Apple users, primarily when opening and downloading eBooks. Some users have also found that after updating the app or re-installing it as suggested, their reading history and current downloads are lost. We understand how frustrating this can be and apologize for the inconvenience.

    OverDrive is continuing to work on bug fixes. If you are experiencing problems with using your ORL eBooks account on your Apple device, OverDrive has posted two new articles on its Help site:

  • ORL's Card Contest Winning Designs!

    by ORL News | Feb 05, 2016

    Artists and graphic designers from throughout the BC Southern Interior responded to our call for a new library card design, and after a difficult adjudication process, we are happy to unveil the winning creations.

    “With over 130 entries, it was next to impossible to only choose four designs as we’d originally promoted, so there will be six new library card designs for our members and new customers to choose from,” says Marla O’Brien, Public Relations and Fundraising Manager for the ORL.

    The winners are:

    Card Design Contest Winners

    • Bernie Ramis – card featuring Ogopogo
    • Laura Schretlen – card featuring sunset valley view
    • Don Ferguson – cards featuring the rocket ship and the “Read Every Day” slogan
    • Anne-Marie Estrada – card featuring the books in a graphic format
    • Jocelyn Wilson – card featuring the globe in one’s hands

    Judging was done by ORL staff using a combination of popular vote plus emphasis on diversity of visual look, method of creation, and appeal to a broad range of age and gender. The judging was done blind with no identifiers so there was no basis on gender or residence of the artist. 

    The designs are now being readied for print and should be available in the ORL’s 29 branches by mid-late March. The new cards will include key tags and have barcodes pre-printed on the back, so members who wish to change their old card for a new design will be assigned a new barcode. The ORL Board agreed to waive the typical $2 replacement fee for six months so everyone who wants a new card for their wallet can get one free. And as always, cards are free to new members who live in, or own property or a business, in the ORL region.

  • Story Time - Illiteracy’s Kryptonite

    by ORL News | Jan 27, 2016

    In honour of Canada’s National Family Literacy Day on January 27, let’s hear from Salmon Arm Branch’s Youth Services Librarian,  Ardie Burnham, about the importance of story time:

    I love story time! Truth be told, I have always loved it. I loved the bedtime story rituals of my childhood. I loved listening to my school librarian read stories when I was in elementary school, and I loved taking my niece and nephew to story time at my local library as an adult. Imagine my delight when I learned that reading aloud positively influences a child’s early literacy.

    In 2006, Dr. Dana Suskind did a study on deaf children who had their hearing restoredi. Suskind learned that the more parents talked with their child, the more their child’s vocabulary grew.  In fact, she discovered that there was a 30 million word gap between those with high exposure to language and those with low exposure. This shows us that spoken words play a significant role in the development of our children.

    Story time is like kryptonite to childhood illiteracy. The simple act of reading stories aloud automatically helps children with six early literacy skillsii.

    For example, by reading to children, we help build their vocabulary (1. Vocabulary Development). Exposing children to stories shows them that the funny squiggles on a page have meaning and purpose (2. Letter Knowledge). Listening to a story helps children see that words have sounds and rhythms (3. Phonological Awareness). This, in turn, helps build a love of the printed word (4. Print Motivation). When we read to children, they learn how to hold a book by watching us (5. Print Awareness), and they learn how to share events from their day by listening to the way stories unfold (6. Narrative Skills).

    Story time truly is a powerful tool on the road to literacy.

    How can we make story time more effective for children? Here are three helpful tips:

    • Show children how to act during story time. They learn by watching us. If we sit and listen during a story or sing and dance during a song, children will copy our behaviour.
    • Point out words or letters to children while reading. This will help build letter knowledge and print motivation.
    • Talk about what is happening in the story or about the pictures on the page. Ask questions and take the time to answer questions. Stories can be great conversation starters. 

    So get reading with your child and attend Story Time programs at your local library. By doing this, you will build those six early literacy skills and crush childhood illiteracy. 


    i) Bayliss, Sarah. “Closing the 30 Million-Word Gap.” School Library Journal.

    ii) Peterson, Shelley Stagg. “Preschool Early Literacy Programs in Ontario Public Libraries.” Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research. 7.2 (2012): Web. 12 February 2015.

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