It’s true. If you are a Them Days reader, you are part of a very exclusive club. And if you are a subscriber, well, you’re part of an even more exclusive club. You might not believe me, but you are.
I have had people tell me that my job is a very important one, that the work accomplished at Them Days is valuable to Labrador and to the rest of the province. I’m happy to hear it, because I do take my job very seriously, and I look upon Them Days with the utmost of respect. In fact, when I originally applied for this job, I very nearly didn’t do it, as I didn’t ever imagine that I could work for Them Days. As a Labradorian, I was always taught, nay, impressed upon with the idea that Them Days is a very important institution. The magazines were always around, and in my family’s house, they were in the Very Important Bookshelf with Very Important Books. As it turns out, I didn’t actually get the job then, but I was so surprised and flattered that I was even considered for an interview!
When I was travelling for the School Days at Them Days project, I got the impression from so many students that they felt the same way about Them Days, that they were taught to respect it and that it was much loved in their families, whether the magazines were kept at home, at the cabin, or in the washroom. (Yes, it’s true, Them Days makes great bathroom reading!)
But the truth of the matter is, if you are a Them Days subscriber, you are a very special person. There’s not a whole lot of you out there. I don’t want to give the impression that we are in some sort of trouble. We are not. But some days, like today, I look at our subscription numbers and it makes me sad. I hear from so many people that they think Them Days is important, but our circulation numbers…well, they just don’t reflect that.
We just made a little discovery in some old administrative files, that, at one time, we had many, MANY more public library subscriptions in this province. I wasn’t surprised, really. After all, Them Days is an important publication for the whole province. But it hurts to know that we are now in only a small fraction (one-fifth) of the public libraries across this province. In fact, we’re only in HALF of the public libraries in LABRADOR (three of six). And if you want to be even more shocked, only a SINGLE school in Labrador gets a subscription to Them Days, a publication used by the teachers and loved by the students in all the schools I went to across our great region. Think about that.
We’re going to be trying to get our subscription numbers up, but there’s a lot you can do to help as well. First of all, if you’re a subscriber, let me thank you. And if you are one of those precious people who not only subscribe to the magazine, but buy a gift subscription as well, let me thank you a second time.
If you want to support the magazine, by which you’re supporting everything we do, from gathering Labrador’s history to storing in the archive, to getting that information out in the world, you should buy a subscription, quite frankly. If you sometimes forget to buy it in the store, well, just think – you won’t forget to do that when it comes in your mailbox! And who doesn’t love mail? 🙂 But if you haven’t picked it up in awhile, buy a copy next time you’re out at the store and you see it there. Find out what we’re up to. And if you’re in a community where Them Days isn’t sold, ask your local retailers if they’ve ever considered selling it. (I’d just like to reiterate a fact I brought up a few weeks ago — we don’t have a retailer in Hopedale. Hopedale! Used to be one of our best-selling communities.)
Another thing you could do is buy a gift subscription for somebody else. Maybe you know somebody who just moved away from Labrador and you think they’d like to see something from home every few months. University students, oil patch workers, newly married couples moving away, seniors moving to a retirement home…everybody loves a gift of Them Days!
If you’d like to do that, but can’t afford to, that’s okay. We’ve all been there, and believe me, I was in that situation for longer than I care to remember. Where do you read your Them Days? Probably at the library, right? If your library doesn’t carry Them Days, encourage them to! In fact, Newfoundland and Labrador Public Libraries has a form right on their website where you can suggest a library purchase. If you read Them Days at your local library, let your librarian know that you appreciate it and you’re glad they carry it.
If you are a student or a faculty member at a university or college and you think Them Days is a valuable resource, let your school library know! The libraries generally have a request form, and if you need Them Days for your work, let them know so they know to order it. When I attended the University of Toronto, I used Them Days as a source for my research papers. Unfortunately, U of T only has Them Days issues up to the mid-1990s, so if I wanted to use a more recent article, I had to find it elsewhere. If I had thought about it, I would have asked them to start resubscribing. It only takes a couple of minutes, and if your library does decide to subscribe, it would mean a lot to us. (No, really, you should see us when a new subscription comes in.)
If you’re a boss or somebody in charge of buying employee gifts, think of us. Them Days makes a great employee gift, at Christmas or at any time of the year. It also makes great reading for the break room.
So if you really love Them Days and what we do, consider joining our little exclusive club. Hopefully it won’t be so exclusive in the future, because I’m a firm believer that when it comes to Them Days subscribers, the more the merrier!