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Beach reads: Halifax-area libraries popping up at the seashore to hand out books

Rainbow Haven is the latest HRM beach to get a library booth this summer.

Rainbow Haven Beach

Zane Woodford / Metro

Rainbow Haven Beach

Local library branches are hoping to open a new chapter for readers of all ages - with the help of sun, sand, and “that element of surprise.”

The next sunny weekend, beachgoers at Rainbow Haven will spot a booth full of books and magazines set up at the building on the boardwalk, where the Woodlawn and Cole Harbour branches will be signing out reading materials from 2 to 4 p.m. every Friday (weather permitting) until the end of August.

“We’re trying to reach as many people as possible, and sort of that element of surprise, engaging our community outside the library,” said Maria Bartlett, Adult & Teen Services Librarian for Woodlawn Public Library.

Their team joins other HRM branches popping up by the water this summer, like Dartmouth North at Albro Lake Beach in their fifth year, and Musquodoboit Harbour at Taylor Head, Dollar Lake, Clam Harbour, and Martinique.

Jyoti Dhillon of the Halifax Public Libraries poses at the Rainbow Haven Beach booth.


Jyoti Dhillon of the Halifax Public Libraries poses at the Rainbow Haven Beach booth.

For their Seas the Day: Books at the Beach event, Bartlett said they can sign up people on the spot, renew cards, sign out materials, and provide info on reading clubs and other programs.

“We’ve had a few people ask as we’re there, ‘Can we actually take these items on the beach with us?’ And we’re like yes, we insist,” Bartlett said with a laugh.

The Rainbow Haven booth hasn’t had a day where they’ve run out of books just yet, but Bartlett said every time they go they learn something new from the people they encounter.

“We are relevant, and we are adapting … We want people to think of the library when they think of their community,” Bartlett said.

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