Science with Sarah: A Sneak Peek.

My name is Sarah Speight, and you guessed it, I have been running Science with Sarah at the Petawawa Public Library! I am a Geologist by trade and have spent the last 15+ years studying Science during my academic career. Recently, I successfully defended my Ph.D. thesis in Earth Sciences! Each week in Science with Sarah we have been running experiments and exploring different areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). At this point, we have covered quite a few topics! Some of our favourites include rock and mineral identification, colour experiments, STEM building challenges, and number games. Check out our Space and Stars program below!

Exploring Space and Stars!

During this Science with Sarah session, we worked on a few different experiments to explore things found in space. We started by asking the question “what do you see in space?”. The children had a lot of different answers! The moon, stars, planets, darkness, spaceships, and the sun are a few things we talked about. We then worked on three experiments:

  • Making moon craters
  • Building constellations
  • Galaxy (magic) milk experiment

Making Moon Craters

Setup on the floor was a tray of flour and ground, coloured chalk (brown and red). This was used to simulate the moon’s surface. Next, all the children lined up to take turns dropping different objects onto the “moon’s” surface! We used marbles, styrofoam balls, shells, beads and other objects of different sizes and weights. We even tallied up our results and measured each crater. Take a look at the pictures below to see some of our craters and results!

A close-up view of our “moon surface” showing a few of the craters we made. The impact craters are highlighted by dashed circles. We even had one marble that created two craters!
An enlarged view of a large impact crater that the children made. The large marble impacted with enough force to create a spray of ejecta material!
Our friends Reese and Keira (above) worked hard listing the objects we used and tallying our crater sizes!

Building Constellations

While the kids waited to make their craters, a table was set up with supplies to make constellations! They used pipe cleaners to connect marshmallows. By looking at the different examples of constellations, they were able to make the same designs and some that were totally unique!

Galaxy (Magic) Milk Experiment

Lastly, the children were all set up with plates of milk and cream, food colouring, cotton swabs, and small bowls of dish soap. They started by slowly adding drops of food colouring all over their milk. Once they were happy with their design, the fun began! The children then dipped a cotton swab in dish soap and touched it to an area of milk to see the reaction. The food colouring immediately starts to swirl and move across the milk. Take a look at the images and short video below to see what happened next!

Here we can see a few of our friends adding food colouring to the milk and cream mixture, getting their dish soap ready, and even making the reaction happen!
The final result is a galaxy of magic milk on a plate! The children were really excited to show each other their different creations, all made with a few household ingredients.
See our milk, dish soap, and food colouring reaction in action!


Are you interested in doing these experiments yourself? Follow the links below for some inspiration and instructions!

Making moon craters:

Building constellations:

Galaxy (magic) milk:

Q & A with Jacob, our Co-op Student!

What are you studying, and where do you hope to work at the end of your program? 

I am currently in the final semester of my consecutive Bachelor of Education (BEd) through Nipissing University Schulich School of Education. My focus has been in the primary/junior division or kindergarten to grade 6. My undergrad was completed through Carleton University where I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Law (honours). After I am certified to teach in Ontario, I wish to stick around the Renfrew County in hopes of securing a career in the area.

What is your favourite book or thing to read? 

Growing up, I was a fan of reading fantasy fiction as well as mystery books. As a young reader I really enjoyed series’ such as Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Warriors, Goosebumps and Eragon. Today, I find myself reading more non-fiction crime, and or news articles. I often enjoy listening to podcasts about true crime or watching a range of shows such as Ozark, Yellowstone, and Ted Lasso.

What has been the highlight of your CO-OP experience?

The CO-OP experience here at the Petawawa Public library has been an exceptional experience. The staff that work and volunteer at the library are all very insightful and welcoming to the public, and myself as a library newcomer. For me two things come to mind when I think about the highlights of my experience here at the library. The first being just the opportunity to work alongside knowledgeable staff who guided me through the CO-OP experience and made it easy to enjoy coming in to volunteer each day. The second would be seeing the community of Petawawa getting so involved with the programs the library has to offer. Whether it was story time with Liz, Science with Sarah, Movie nights, Dungeons and Dragons, Pokémon Pop- Up, and all the fun that came with Cabin fever week. Each program had a great turnout that seemed to have left those involved with a positive impact.

What has been the most challenging thing?  

I was asked what the most challenging aspect about my experience in the library may have been but whenever I think about challenging it can sometimes be portrayed in a negative light, as in something you really had to overcome or a massive hurdle throughout the experience. I don’t think there was anything like that, that stood out for me other than just gaining new and different experiences as a whole. I worked alongside Sarah, the library’s youth programming technician, and she organized Dungeons and Dragons’ campaigns for teens on Wednesday evenings. This was something very new to me, as someone with no prior knowledge of how the game works, and it took some time before I understood fully what exactly was going on in the game during these sessions. I would say this was my biggest “challenge” because it had me step out of my comfort zone. In this case however, I think that this is a good challenge to be faced with.

Was working at a library what you expected? 

Working at the library was a little different than I had expected. Prior to this co-op experience I had not been a member of the Petawawa Public Library and really, the only libraries I had been in, the last 7 years, were ones that were within the universities I had been attending. I was unaware of the number of programs that the library here has to offer to children, youth, and adults. There truly is something for everyone’s interests here at the library and the program staff does a fantastic job at keeping programs fun and engaging for everyone who is participating.

What surprised you about PPL?

I was surprised with the community engagement that the library encapsulates through programming, and the welcoming staff.

What would you want the community, or kids to know about PPL?  

I would really like the community to know that the Petawawa Public library has so much to offer the community. There are not only resources available for both leisure and educational purposes, but the library is also open to taking recommendations on programs and opportunities that to offer the public in the future. On top of that, the programs run by the staff are very well prepared and have a lot to offer both adults and children in the community. Programs offered are all centered around being fun and educational.

What community impact did you have during your coop placement? 

The impact I had on the community was through getting involved. I met a lot of great community members that ended up having positive impacts on myself as well. I felt that having a male presence in some of the programs run for younger participants helped positively for interactions with the different groups of kids. The science program I ran on the importance of biodiversity seemed to be a huge success with those who participated. I created a scavenger hunt for the program with the intentions to keep it active for a period after so that when young learners entered the library there was a fun activity to partake in available at the front desk. When it came to DnD meets and Pokémon Battle Academy I was able to spend time building relationships with the participants. The Pokémon Battle Academy that I hosted turned out to be a great success and a steppingstone for the library to host future Pokémon events knowing that the interest in the community was so high.

What have you learned? 

At the library I learned new perspectives on teaching that can be carried into a classroom throughout my future career. As a teacher the resources available at the public library are endless and the staff does a great job with assisting teachers in their education endeavors. The library has so much to offer for the community and it has been an excellent experience completing a co-op with everyone here.

What would you want other teacher candidates to know about a co-op placement here? 

For teacher candidates considering the Petawawa Public Library for their co-op placement, I would want them to know about how great of an opportunity it was. The experience has been nothing but positive working with the community and staff at the library. The experience to work with the community has opened my perspective on teaching or leading programs. When running a program within the library there are a lot of similarities to teaching in a classroom, but you have a lot more freedom because you are not so much bound by the curriculum. Programs of course take ideas from the curriculum for educational purposes but since there is no assessment component for kids learning at the end of a program you are just making sure the participants have fun and have some form of learning takeaway from the program. The big takeaway for any future teacher candidates considering a co-op placement at the Petawawa Public Library is that it is unmatched to anything else. The experience gained here at the library for myself will be incredibly valuable for my teaching career. It is not only a lot of fun being involved with the library community, but it has been crucial to my personal development as a future teacher.

What was was a typical shift like for you? 

A typical shift varied for me dependent on what is happening program-wise that day. I could be in the office creating book lists for specific themes of the week/month, or program planning with Sarah. The fun shifts at the library however are the ones where I got to help with running programs like the DnD Guild, Science with Sarah, Pokémon Battle Academy, or class visits with Liz. The Petawawa library strives to ensure that programs meet the community’s wants and needs, which often entail a lot of preparation. Luckily however, the staff that I worked alongside throughout this experience were always willing to help with any questions or uncertainties that I may have had which made for a positive work environment.

Throughout the time I have spent here at the library I created several “staff book lists” that consist of different themes dependent on the needs of the community. Most of the lists I prepared were targeting younger readers to be more involved with learning at the library. I also selected books for specific themes such as Black history month, and Freedom to Read Week. Searching the aisles of the library as well as the online catalogue can be time consuming when you are looking for specific topics so these lists help pinpoint valuable resources to look for.

Finish this sentence: The library is…. 

The Petawawa Public library is a gateway to the local community. The library makes a valiant effort in bringing the community together by ensuring the focus is kept on the communities’ interests. The library has something to offer for everyone from children to adults and is always welcoming continuous feedback to work and improve community engagement.


Freedom to Read Week (Feb. 19 – 25)

Freedom to Read Week takes place every February in Canada. It’s a week to focus on issues of intellectual freedom.

When groups or individuals interfere with this right by attempting to prevent or impede access to books or magazines, this is known as a challenge.

The Petawawa Public Library and Intellectual Freedom

You may have heard about publications that have been challenged in school settings, but libraries have also been subjected to calls to censor, restrict, or remove materials in their collections. The Petawawa Public Library is committed to upholding, and advocating for intellectual freedom to ensure everyone can access the information they seek. In our Policy Manual we have a policy on Intellectual Freedom that clearly states this.

Reasons books and magazines have been challenged

Since 1984 Freedom to Read has shone a light on publications Canadians have questioned. The reasons for challenging these books and magazines include:

  • sexually explicit content
  • depiction of violence
  • LGBTQ content
  • obscenity
  • nudity
  • sexism
  • religious viewpoint
  • racism
  • political viewpoint
  • occult/witchcraft
  • hate

A fuller list is available in the article entitled “Understanding Challenges to Books and Magazines” by Jaclyn Law and Alvin M. Schrader on the Freedom to Read website.

What happens when an item is challenged

Challenging a book or magazine does not mean the item will be automatically banned. There are a range of possibilities.

After carefully evaluating the nature of the challenge, an institution such a school or library can decide to change nothing and continue to provide free access to the item. In a library, a work may be reclassified and moved to a different part of the collection.

If the library or school deems that more drastic measures are necessary, access to the item might be restricted, or it could be withdrawn completely.

What to do if you have a concern about material in the Petawawa Public Library

We have a “Statement of Concern about Library Materials” form, and we encourage you to use it. You’ll have an opportunity to name the publication and articulate your thoughts on why you believe it is unsuitable. This will open a dialogue and you will end up with a response from the Library that will weigh your concerns against our Intellectual Freedom policy.

Exercise your intellectual freedom today!

Borrow a challenged book this week! View our Freedom to Read Topic Guide for reading suggestions from our Library.

Christmas 2022 Booklist

Don’t have a Blue Christmas!

If all the bells have been jingled, and all the halls have been decked, but you still feel the need for a little Christmas, check out some of the shiny new holiday titles at the library. View the Christmas 2022 booklist where you can check availability and place a hold!

So go ahead. Cozy up with a good book. Is there any better way to spend the next few weeks before Christmas?

Volunteer at the Library!

Have you ever thought about helping out at the Library? Are you a former Library Volunteer who would like to get back at it? You’re in luck. We are so pleased to be welcoming volunteers back to the Library again!

For Adults

Whether you’re a fresh volunteer or an old pro, you can start by filing out an application form . We will be in touch to discuss your goals and interests, and what may be a great fit for you.

All volunteers will participate in training, and complete vulnerable sector screening. Our team is so appreciative of our hard-working volunteers!

If you’re wondering how you can help, you can find volunteer job descriptions on our Adult Volunteer page.

For Teens

Did you know that you can use Library volunteer hours toward your Community Service Credit for graduation? Just fill out the application form, have a chat with Liz from the Children and Teen Department, and spend some time with her learning what to do. If you have any questions, feel free to email her any time.

Our Teen Volunteer page describes lots of ways you can help.

Why Volunteer?

Volunteering is a great way to give back to our community, while getting something back in return.

  • School credit!
  • A chance to meet new people!
  • The opportunity to improve lives in the community!
  • Satisfaction of a job well done.
  • An excuse to get out of the house!
  • A feeling of being a part of something!
  • Our gratitude!

Access up-to-date information through our Volunteering page.

Christmas Cheer!

This year we are thrilled to offer a variety of holiday themed programs over the course of the afternoon.

On Saturday December 3rd, between 1 – 3 pm visit the Library Program room to create your very own gingerbread (paper) ornament, I spy, and colouring pages.

In the main area of the library, we will have paper, stickers, and colouring tools to create a letter to Santa. We will mail your letters to Santa for you! The last day to send them in no later than December 9, 2022, to receive a reply before the holidays.

Don’t forget to check out our Winter themed scavenger hunt! From 1-2 pm we will be offering family greenscreen photos which we will email to you the following week. As well as face painting from 2-3 pm.

At 3 pm we are going to have a special story time with some of the Pembroke Symphony Orchestra members. We are beyond excited to once again bring this very popular event back to you!

This year we have a very special guest joining us. We are thrilled to have Santa join us and ask that anyone wishing to be in his area, to wear a mask. The Petawawa Public Library and the Elves Union of the North Pole have requested that we ensure that Santa stays as health as possible to allow him to continue to visit all the boys and girls around the world including those currently in the hospitals, so we ask that everyone (even children) respect this request to wear a mask when in Santa’s area. We look forward to seeing you all at the library!

Giving Tuesday Request

This Giving Tuesday, support information, education, creativity and discovery – support your local library!

On Tuesday, November 29th, 2022, we invite our community to give back by donating to the Petawawa Public Library. We aspire to enhance learning, to inspire discovery and to foster connections through positive, informative, and accessible tools. We’ve been able to provide our patrons with quality and accessible programs free of charge, pilot a fine-free project for borrowing, and continue to grow our literary collections. With the support of our community, we can increase our impact even more!

How to give:

Donating online is easy. Just link directly to the Library’s page on the Canada Helps website. From there, you can direct your donation to Library programming, or to the Library in general. Either way your funds will be put to good use. Choose to make a one-time gift, or donate monthly.

Our charitable registration number is 886487503RR0001.

**All donations made through our online donation form up until November 29th will automatically be registered in a draw for a $5000 gift card via Canada Helps.

What is Giving Tuesday?

After getting your Black Friday Deals and Cyber Monday bargains , Giving Tuesday is a time to give back to your community. Originating in 2012, Giving Tuesday aims for one common goal; encouraging people to do good. The idea caught on and grew over the years, inspiring millions to give back and collaborate with their communities. 

Become a Library Board Member!

Have you ever considered joining the Petawawa Public Library Board? The Town of Petawawa is now accepting applications for Library Board Members.

Library Board Trustee Position Description

The Public Library Act defines the governance of public libraries in Ontario. According to the Act, a person is qualified to be appointed as a member of a board who is:

  • a member of the appointing council
  • at least eighteen years old
  • a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada within the meaning of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada)
  • a resident of the municipality for which the board is established
  • is not employed by the board or by the municipality or county

In accordance with the Public Libraries Act, s. 10 (2b), municipal council shall not appoint more of its own members to the board than is a bare majority of the board.

The Petawawa Public Library website contains information about the board, library policies, past minutes, and a link to the application form through the Town of Petawawa. The Library Strategic Plan is also available on the library website.

The Role of the Board

Public Library Boards are governing boards, legal corporations with the authority to make policy and to govern the library’s affairs under the Public Libraries Act, RSO 1990, c. P.44.

A board’s duty is to provide comprehensive, effective, and efficient public library service that reflects the community’s needs and builds community capacity.

The stakeholders of today’s libraries expect strong leadership.  Consequently, modern governance must reach beyond ongoing budget oversight and a regular strategic planning exercise to embrace new ideas and forge strong relationships that will support the library in its Mission, Vision and Values.

Petawawa Library Mission Statement

The Petawawa Public Library exists to interact with the community and to provide services and programs that focus on the recreational, educational, informational and cultural needs of the community.

Petawawa Library Vision Statement

The Petawawa Public Library will be a key gathering place for the residents of Petawawa where superior customer service and equal access for all is upheld.  The library will ensure that current technologies, resources and materials are made available to all residents of the Town of Petawawa through either on-site or web-based services.

Petawawa Library Values

  • Access: We aim to eliminate barriers to access for our services and our collections will be barrier free.
  • Community-Centred: We constantly strive to connect with and engage our entire community.
  • Customer Service: We deliver exceptional service for our community.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: We aim to create safe and welcoming spaces for our entire community, and embrace the differences in experiences and worldview.
  • Curiosity: We embrace new solutions and encourage creative thinking.
  • Integrity: We are honest in what we say and do, and follow through.
  • Literacy and Lifelong Learning: We support all forms of literacy and learning for all ages.

 Responsibilities of the Library Board

In accordance with the Public Libraries Act, s. 20, the Petawawa Public Library Board will:

  • Set the vision, mission, and strategic direction for the Library through strategic planning techniques
  • Make policies within the framework of legislation and regulations
  • Oversee the library’s finances in accordance with public accounting principles and requirements and municipal budget policy and procedures
  • Monitor overall effectiveness of the Library in meeting community needs in an efficient and responsive manner and evaluate progress on the strategic plan
  • Hire and evaluate a qualified Chief Executive Officer to implement the strategic plan and to manage the daily operations of the library.

The Library Board has the authority to act on behalf of the library. Individual board members have no authority to act on their own. The board speaks with “one voice.”

Responsibilities of a Board Member

As a member of a library Board, a member must act honestly and in good faith and in the best interests of the library. This mean the interests of the library take precedence over personal interests or those of any group with which the member is associated and or may favour.

Board members must uphold and conduct him/herself in accordance with the Petawawa Workplace Human Rights Discrimination and Harassment Policy. The Library is committed to providing a working environment that promotes mutual respect, provides equal opportunities, and is free from harassment.

Along with the governance and fiscal roles, Library Board members are expected to support and participate in community engagement by: 

  • Sustaining the library as an essential community service
  • Advocating the library’s role in the community
  • Maintaining an open dialogue with the community
  • Building strong relationships with municipal council
  • Participating regularly in activities that build relationships with individuals and organizations that share interests with those of the Petawawa Public Library
  • Developing strategic partnerships with community groups and leaders.

Each member must uphold the overall vision and mission of the Library while acting strategically in the best interests of the public good. Please refer to Governance Policies (GOV-1- GOV-20) for more details on duties and procedures.

 Competencies & Qualifications

The core competencies and qualifications for a Petawawa Public Library Board Member are:

  • Belief that the public Library provides a unique and essential service to all citizens 
  • Ability to seek and listen to input from all stakeholders
  • Ability to approach people and problems with an open mind
  • Ability to actively participate in discussion and deliberation and to attain positive outcomes; and
  • Time and energy

Time Commitment

The Library Board holds 10 regular monthly meetings a year.  The time commitment includes preparation time to read and consider reports and other information on library systems and public trends. Board meetings are generally one to two hours in length.

Board members are encouraged to represent the library on external bodies and committees, such as the Ontario Library Services Board Assembly, if possible. Time commitments may vary.


Library Board Members are not compensated for activities.