A Librarian Answers Your Ungoogleable Q's About MHPL

Stephanie, MHPL's Youth and Community Librarian becomes MHPL’s personal Google - answering some of your most common ungoogleable questions about MHPL in quick, digestible fact bites so that you can keep on keeping on!
Posted on 06 February 2020 by Stephanie.

When we have a question these days, our automatic response is to search Google for an answer. But what do you do when you can’t find an answer through Google? If you’re like me, I have given up on many queries because, honestly, if Google doesn’t know the answer who would? And looking any further outside of Google is not really convenient for my fast-paced lifestyle. (Who else can relate?) But what if giving up on your search to answer that one burning question that’s been bothering you for weeks is actually preventing you from accessing a world of possibilities? 

As a librarian, I am biased when I say that libraries are a portal to endless opportunities, but I whole-heartedly believe that this is true! But when you aren’t equipped with the right answers, libraries can seem big and intimidating with no clear starting point. And in most cases, Google can’t answer your specific library questions… So today I have become MHPL’s personal Google, and will be answering some of your most common ungoogleable questions about MHPL in quick, digestible fact bites so that you can keep on keeping on!

The Basics: Hours & Location

Where are you located and what are your hours?
The Library is located at 414 1 St SE across from the Esplande Arts & Heritage Centre and adjacent to the Court House. The Library is open Monday to Thursday from 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM, Fridays and Saturdays 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM, and Sundays 1:00 PM - 5:30 PM. 

What are the hours of your Co-op Community Developmental Play Space? 
The Co-op Community Developmental Play Space located inside the Kinsmen Children's Library is open Monday to Thursday from 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM, Fridays and Saturdays 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM, and Sundays 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM. These hours differ from regular library hours for three good reasons: 

  1. We usually have storytimes and class visits on weekday mornings from 10:30am - 11:00am. Storytimes are sacred to us. We don't want playtime to disrupt storytime. P.S., We would love to have you join us for storytime - find the day/time that is appropriate for your child in our Let's Play booklet.
  2. We thought it was important to reserve some time in the day for children to visit who might be overwhelmed by the excess sensory stimulation that the Play Space brings to our library.
  3. We decided to close the space a bit earlier than the Library itself simply to make it easy on our staff who are in charge of getting everyone out at closing time.

Get a Library Card. Everybody's Doing It!

How do I get signed up for a library card?
To get signed up for a library card, bring picture ID and proof of address with you to the Library. If you can't get down to the Library right away, you can sign up online for a temporary 90 day trial card. After the three months, you must come to the Library with picture ID and proof of address in order to continue using your card.

Can I pay for my membership renewal online? 
Yes! To renew your card online, fill out the information on this page. One of our staff members will contact you within 24 - 48 hours to let you know that the renewal has been completed. They will include instructions on how to pay for the membership fee online but I'll give you the gist of it here as well. To pay any of your fees/fines at any time, login into your Bibliocommons account and click on 'Fees' under the drop down menu located in the top right-hand corner. 

What else does my library card give me access to beside books?
Your library card gives you access to dozens of different online resources including eBooks and eAudiobooks, PressReader for magazines and newspapers, RBDigital for graphic novels and magazines, online learning with Gale Courses, language learning with Pronunciator, online exam prep and study help with Solaro, and so much more! Our physical library collection is also not limited to just books - you have access to dvd's, cd's, audiobooks, resource kits, and our Human Library. Browse our collection of materials available to borrow at mhpl.bibliocommons.com.

Does my Medicine Hat College card work to borrow materials at the Medicine Hat Public Library? 
Yes! Bring your student, staff, or alumni ID to the Information Desk at the library to link your accounts. If you are a student, your MHPL card will only be active during your active studies. 

Can I use my library card at other libraries across Alberta? 
Yes! Before you visit another Alberta library, make sure you link you MHPL card to the ME Libraries network. Enter your MHPL barcode and PIN as well as your email to sign-up. This is a one-time registration process and does not need to be renewed.

Can I attend events at the Medicine Hat Public Library even if I don't have a library card? 
Yes! Our programs are open to all community members. Some programs may require registration due to limited space or supplies, very rarely we also require a sign-up fee when supply cost is a factor. BUT! We do encourage everyone to have a library card, they're FREE for children under 18 and only $5/year for adults.

Can I use the library computers without a membership? 
Yes. All of our computers, which are located on the lower level of the Library, can be accessed with either a library card or with a guest pass. Guest passes are available at the reference desk downstairs.

How Do I Borrow Stuff?

How long can I borrow materials for? 
3 weeks at a time. If no one has placed a hold on the item, you can renew your item up to two times (9 weeks maximum).

What is the fine for overdue materials? 
10 cents/day or up to a maximum of $2 per item for Children's materials, and 25 cents/day or up to $5 per item for all other materials.

How do I renew my materials on your website? 
Login to your Bibliocommons account with your barcode and PIN number (if you forgot your PIN click 'Forgot Your PIN?' or come to the Library). Once signed in, you will see a side bar on the left hand side; underneath 'My Borrowing' you will see a label called 'Checked Out'. Selecting it will show you all of the items you have checked out, as well as how many days remain before it is due. Every item will have a blue bar that says 'renew' and once you click this button, it renews your item for 21 more days, unless there are holds on the item or you have reached your limit of two renewals on the item. eBooks and eAudiobooks can be renewed within the Libby or RBDigital apps, but make sure to do this before their due date because they get returned automatically. 

How do I place a hold on a book? 
Login to your Bibliocommons account and use the search bar to find the book or item you are looking for. When you have found the item, click the green 'Place a Hold' button to complete the process. You can also speak to one of our Information Desk staff to help place an item on hold.

Does my library card give me access to eBooks and eAudiobooks?
Yes! eBooks and eAudiobooks can be downloaded from Overdrive on our website or by using the Libby and/or RBDigital app. The titles are available for three weeks, at which time they will be automatically returned to our shelves unless renewed. To get started with downloading eContent, click here.

How long will I have to wait for my hold to arrive?
Wait times on holds depend on a variety of factors such as how many people have also placed a hold on the item (and your place in the queue), and where the item is coming from.

Are there any other Medicine Hat locations where I can pick-up my holds?
Yes! You can select the Medicine Hat College as a pick-up location when you place holds in Bibliocommons. If you are interested in learning more about our better access and satellite locations fundraising projects, click here.

I'm unable to get to the Library. How do I get books delivered to my home?
For more information about this free service, contact our Homebound Coordinators by phone (403-502-8541) or email.

How can I access books that you don't have?
Your library card gives you access to a network of hundreds of libraries across Alberta! If you want something we don't have, there's a good chance that you can get it through an Interlibrary Loan. If you would like to see the item added to our collection so that you can borrow it multiple times, submit it to us using our Suggest A Purchase Form. More details about both these options can be found here

What is the Human Book program and how do I "borrow" someone
Our Human Library is a carefully curated collection of humans who are available to “borrow.” The people in this collection will help to educate, enlighten, break stereotypes, or tell a story to the borrower during a one-on-one conversation. To see our full list of Human Books and to "borrow" someone (AKA setup a meeting with them) click here

How do your Community Access Passes work?
We have four different Community Passes: Family Leisure Centre, YMCA, Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre, and Medalta. You can place a hold on our Community Access Passes online and will be contacted when it is available to use. You have one week to use the pass from the date you pick it up from the Library, and it is for a single use only. Bring the pass with you to gain entrance to the community facility and the staff will take care of returning the pass to the Library.

Can I borrow a set of books for my Book Club to read?
Yes! You can find our entire list of our Book Club Kits available to borrow here. If you're at the library, you can pick up one of the books from our Book Club Kit Display and bring it to the Checkout Desk to borrow the full kit complete with 8 - 10 copies of the book along with book notes and suggested questions for discussion.

What Sort of Tech Services Do You Offer?

How much do you charge for printing, faxing, and photocopying? 
10 cents/page for black & white printing and photocopying. 50 cents/page for colour printing and photocopying. We no longer offer public faxing as of July 1, 2023. 

Do you offer mobile printing services? 
Yes! Submit your document here.

Can you help me with my tech device? 
Yes! We offer one-on-one tech and device support twice a week. On Mondays with our Tech Time program, we can help you solve almost any pesky technology question with the exception of installing software and fixing a damaged device. On Thursdays with Library Tech Help, we can help you discover all of our free Library eResources that you have access to with your library card! All appointments must be pre-booked through the Information Desk. Give us a call at 403-502-8525 to reserve a time slot.

There's More Than Just Books At Your Library? Let's Talk About That.

Where can I find information about your upcoming events? 
Check our Events Calendar or flip through our Program Booklets. You can also stay connected with all that's happening at the Library by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

When can I bring my children for storytime? 
Take a look at our Let's Play Program Booklet for a list of all upcoming storytimes.

How can my teenager become a member of the teen TIC-TAC group? 
First off, for those you who don't know - let me tell you what the heck TIC-TAC is! Teens Initiating Change – Together and Committed (TIC-TAC) is a council of teen volunteers, ages 13 – 18 who work with ME! (the Youth and Community Librarian at MHPL) to help the Library become a more inviting, appealing place for teens, and to enhance teen library services and programs in the community. Teens who are interested in joining this great group, led by yours truly, are encouraged to apply between May to August, and new members will be invited to join in September. Application forms can be picked up at the library or filled out online here.

How do I book one of your meeting rooms? 
Room bookings can be done via e-mail or over the phone. For all the information you need on rooms available, costs, additional equipment requirements, and booking info, take a look at our Meeting Room Rentals page. 

Your Library Seems Like An Amazing Place! How Do I Get More Involved?

How do I make a donation to the Medicine Hat Public Library? 
So happy you asked! Check out our Donation page to see what our goals are and how you can help us achieve them. Scroll to the bottom of the page to make a donation. big or small, through the CanadaHelps submission form. 

I'm interested in volunteering for the Library. What opportunities do you have available? 
Current volunteer opportunities are listed on our Volunteer page

How do I become a Friend of the Library? 
Great question! Our Friends of the Library help us to plan, organize, and execute our biannual Book Sales. Find out how to get involved with their organization by submitting your contact information here

I'm interested in joining your Board. How do I apply? 
Please refer to this page to see the qualifications needed to become a Board Member and to see if there are any current openings. 

Stephanie, you seem like such a cool person! How can I come work with you? 
And you're cool for reading my blog post! If you're interested in joining our wicked awesome team, check for career opportunities here

I Need To Know More! What Else Can You Tell Me About MHPL?

Where do I find your policies & bylaws?
You can find those here. Be warned: There's a lot of them! 

What are your goals for the future?
You can take a look at our goals and vision for the future by scrolling through our Plan of Service. You can also see what our fundraising goals are by checking out our Donation page

How does your relationship with the Shortgrass Library System Work?
MHPL is a member of the Shortgrass Library System, along with thirteen other libraries in Southeastern Alberta. Shortgrass Library System is one of seven regional libraries in Alberta that help to provide services to public libraries in including: Integrated Library System, centralized ordering/cataloging/processing, IT infrastructure & support, consultation, programming kits, interlibrary courier system, and much more. 

How Can I Stay Connected With Everything MHPL?

How can I ask you a library question on your website?
Use the Contact Us page! 

Where can I find you on social media?
Connect with us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter!

Where can I find books recommended by library staff?
You can view all of our Staff Reading Lists by following 'MHPLStaffLists' on Bibliocommons! We also share recommendations on social media so be sure to follow us there as well. 

So? Did you find the answer you were looking for? If you didn’t, please connect with me and I'll be happy to answer your library “Q.” I'm pretty magical like that.

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