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Poppy Cove Mystery Tour! May 22, 2015

In 2003, friends Andrea Taylor and Heather Shkuratoff visited the ORL's downtown Kelowna branch and began discussing ideas for a cozy mystery series. Before they left the building, the duo had created an imaginary town set in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s complete with a cast of characters. Under the pen name Barbara Jean Coast, Taylor and Shkuratoff co-wrote and published “Strangled by Silk”, followed by “Death of a Beauty Queen”, the first two in a series coined Poppy Cove Mysteries.

The writing team based in Kelowna will tour Okanagan Regional Libraries branches throughout the region this summer to share their tales.

“The stories revolve around the comings and goings of the social set in an exclusive seaside town, modeled after Santa Barbara and thus the pen name, with a bit of murder and mystery thrown into each book”, explained Shkuratoff in an interview. “The main characters own a dress shop called Poppy Cove, at a time when custom fashion was glamourous and revered in society, yet commonplace in everyday life.”

Their third book, “A Nate to Remember”, is currently in the process of being released on Amazon and Kindle, with trade paperback copies available locally in July. The writers plan to create approximately 10 books in the Poppy Cove Mystery series.

“We are also thinking about another series set at an Okanagan winery during modern times with characters distantly related to those from Poppy Cove,” added Shkuratoff.

Getting an original work completed and published by a reputable firm took time, but now writing has become the main career priority for the duo. Their advice for aspiring authors seeking to get their work published and in the hands of readers is to take every opportunity to “Say yes first and panic later!”

The book tour will kick off at the Peachland branch of the Okanagan Regional Library on Wednesday, May 27 at 5:30 p.m. Other dates include:

- Okanagan Falls Library, Wednesday, June 3 at 2:00 p.m.

- Lake Country Library, Tuesday, June 9 at 2:00 p.m.

- Lumby Library, Thursday, June 11 at 4:00 p.m.

- Revelstoke Library, Tuesday, June 16 at 3:00 p.m.

- Keremeos Library, Friday, June 19 at 2:00 p.m.

- Oyama Library, Tuesday, June 23 at 2:00 p.m.

- Westbank Library, Thursday, June 25 at 2:00 p.m.

- Mission Library in Kelowna, Saturday, July 11 at 10:30 a.m.

- Kaleden Library, Friday, July 17 at 10:30 a.m.

- Vernon Library, Saturday, July 25 at 1:30 p.m.

ORL Hosting Town Hall in Salmon Arm May 20, 2015

The Okanagan Regional Library will be hosting a public town hall on the evening of Thursday, May 28, 2015 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at the Salmon Arm library Branch in Piccadilly Mall. Members of the public are invited to share their thoughts on the services most important and vital in the Salmon Arm and Shuswap communities.

This consultation is a next step in a two-year planning process designed to align municipal revenues with library services and address imbalances between communities in the ORL’s vast BC Southern Interior region.

“The evening is meant to be a conversation, asking attendees how they see library services changing to remain relevant and meaningful in their lives,” says the ORL’s CEO Stephanie Hall, who will be at the town hall to answer questions and gather feedback.

“We know that the Salmon Arm branch is highly valued in the community and that discussions around service changes can be difficult. That’s why it’s important to hear from library members and the public so plans can be modified or created in line with the community’s needs,” she adds.

As a regional library system stretching from Golden to Osoyoos with over 750,000 items, the ORL periodically conducts targeted reviews of different aspects of library service. This meeting is one of three town halls being organized in the ORL region as a result of a 2013 review of expenditures vs revenues conducted by Grant Thornton. The report found that spending in some communities was out of alignment with tax revenue received and the ORL Board wants to address this.

At the Salmon Arm branch, adjustments to services suggested include a closure on Sundays and a revision to reference staffing levels, with most other services staying the same.

“Our goal is to provide the best service we can with the dollars we have,” explains Hall.

Everyone is invited and RSVPs are not required. The Salmon Arm branch is located in Picadilly Mall at 1151 – 10th Avenue SW.

Okanagan Regional Library Board Receives Clean Audit for 2014 May 15, 2015

The Okanagan Regional Library Board of Directors reviewed and accepted a clean audit of the 2014 Financial Statements at their Board meeting yesterday. Auditors BDO reported that the ORL’s revenues and expenses were very close to what was budgeted and consistent with previous years, with the exception of costs associated with the construction of the new Summerland branch due to open in late summer.

Taking Summerland out of the equation, total revenues for the regional library system were slightly higher than the previous year, totaling $17,150,067. Likewise, expenses were slightly elevated to $17,613,159 with an increase in acquisition of electronic resources and modest wage increases. The ORL’s Financial Manager, Don Nettleton, also reported that revenues and expenses for the first quarter of 2015 are in line with budget projections.

The ORL Board is embarking on a strategic planning process, and participated in a session reviewing the previous 2012-2015 plan and defining what success looks like for the future of the library. In order to accomplish this, the Board wants to learn more about how libraries are being utilized in the region, best practices from other libraries, and hear from their communities about what services matter to them in a landscape of change.

Updates about branches included:

- The downtown Kelowna Branch will be look at for a reconfiguration in order to provide new technology-based services and maximize synergies with the adjacent Okanagan Centre for Innovation.

- Rutland branch is being expanded from its current 6,000 up to 10,000 sq feet and is targeted to open in early June.

- Director Carol Zanon reported that the District of West Kelowna held its budget consultation at the West Kelowna branch, which brought more public engagement than in previous years.

- Director Tim Lavery reported that the Salmon Arm City Council will hold its regular council meeting at their local branch on May 25.

- Director Karla Kozakevich with the Okanagan Similkameen Regional District noted that provincial funds have been received to pave the parking lot and make the Naramata branch entrance more accessible.

Visiting Kelowna Branch during Okanagan Centre for Innovation construction May 12, 2015

Construction for the Okanagan Centre for Innovation is underway beside the downtown Kelowna Branch

Beginning May 13, there is an alternate route to access the library and parkade during the construction period, which is expected to last several months. Vehicle access to the library and parkade will be off Ellis St on a temporary driveway, the entire driveway will be one way entering from Ellis St and exiting onto Doyle Ave.

Please be very careful walking around the library during this period, as the only sidewalk will be the one right against the curved wall of the building.

View a map of parkade and library access during construction, on the Kelowna Branch webpage.

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