|Fern Teleglow is head librarian at the Kelowna branch of the Okanagan Regional Library.|
If it's been a while since you were in the public library, back in the day when even a water bottle was enough to get you into trouble, the fact that they now offer free coffee and cookies on random Fridays is only one of the changes you'll find.
As more and more people move into the digital age, libraries are doing everything they can to keep pace and make themselves even more attractive.
For starters, are you one of the thousands of people who received an e-book reader for Christmas?
Then you're in luck. Libraries not only circulate e-books, but they'll help you figure out how to work your Kindle, Kobo, Nook or any other reading device you might have received.
"People can book an appointment for one on one," said Teleglow.
And they'll also be offering some group sessions as well, focusing on each brand.
"They're not actually that easy to use, especially if you're digitally challenged," said Teleglow.
The Okanagan Regional Library has been working to keep its technology current, making libraries across the Okanagan as important and useful as they've always been.
"The circulation of e-books is increasing," said Teleglow, "but still small potatoes compared to print."
Members of the ORL can download e-books and borrow them online the same way they would print books, and return them when finished.
E-readers are wonderful for the elderly and visually challenged because they offer full control over how big you want the font size.
But there's a lot more than just e-reading going on behind the doors of your local library.
For starters, they have several book clubs. One of them is an adult book club Teleglow has been running since 2003. They also have just started a new one called KidLit.
"It's designed for adults who like to read children's literature," said Teleglow.
Books on the upcoming KidLit list include Airborn by author Kenneth Oppel for January, Dancing through the Snow by Jean Little for the month of February and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins for the month of March.
The Third Thursday KidLit Book Club for Adults meets, as its name suggests, on the third Thursday of every month, and anyone is welcome to drop in to participate in the discussions.
As for the adult book club, it is unlike most private book clubs, where you practically have to wait for someone to die before a spot becomes available.
Teleglow noted, "You don't have to know somebody to get an in to come to ours."
The adult book club is mostly women, but they have a lot of fun and there's usually at least one man brave enough to join in.
"We're also just starting a 'read the book, watch the movie' event, where we'll talk about the book one week then watch the movie the next," said Teleglow.
Adults aren't the only ones catered to at your local library. In fact, the children's sections are often the most bustling part of the libraries, with several different story times offered throughout the week, designed to accommodate different age groups and the work schedules of parents.
"It's funny now, because kids who came when they were little are now coming back bringing their own children and coming up to the staff saying, I remember you!"
At the downtown Kelowna branch, Teleglow said, "We have baby time twice a week, toddler time twice a week, pre-school story time and pajama story time on Wednesday nights."
The library also has special puppet shows a few times each year that are so popular, kids require free tickets to get in.
Upstairs in the downtown branch, you'll find the genealogical society. They've set up a pilot project for two years.
"They've moved their library in here and hold their monthly family history forums in the meeting room... They also have their volunteers here eight hours a week," said Teleglow.
The downtown library also has movie nights.
"We just finished showing all the Lord of the Rings," said Teleglow.
Due to licensing agreements, however, the library is limited on how much it can promote movie nights, but by watching the website, you can find out when the next one is.
For those interested in the news, the library brings in newspapers from across Canada and around the world.
And if it's just the crossword puzzle you're looking for, they have stacks of them photocopied and waiting.
From magazines to cookbooks, audio books to children's stories, the ORL branches are happy to share or order in copies from their vast network of libraries.
The downtown Kelowna branch offers three hours of free wi-fi a day to library members. And if you don't have a laptop with you, the library has several computers located upstairs for people to share.
Trying to get your hands on the latest best seller? Then try the Quick Reads section.
"Those are usually the new releases. You can't reserve them and you can only take them out for one week," said Teleglow, warning that fines are higher for Quick Reads as well.
Find out what's going on at your local library by going online to orl.bc.ca and click on branches to find the one closest to you. You can also follow them on Twitter @kel_librarians.