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New funding for B.C. libraries

There is exciting news in the library world. On Nov. 8 th , I was one of the more than 70 library leaders from across B.C.

There is exciting news in the library world. On Nov. 8 th , I was one of the more than 70 library leaders from across B.C. who met at Vancouver Public Library to discuss the opportunities in the province’s new Strategic Plan for Public Libraries — Libraries without Walls. Discussions included the additional provincial funding for libraries over the next three years.

On Nov. 3 rd Premier Gordon Campbell had announced that the province would be investing $12 million for public libraries to improve library services across the province as part of a strategy to make B.C. the most literate place in North America by 2010. The funding will bring broadband Internet into every branch, provide a 24-hour virtual reference desk and set up a one-card system to give every British Columbian access to books from any library in the province.

The strategic plan for libraries was developed after an intensive consultative process with trustees, librarians, local and provincial government, educational institutions and private citizens. Penny Grant, President of the Association of B.C. Public Library Directors and Executive Director of the Vancouver Island Regional Library stated, "For example, there are still 23 libraries that do not have high speed Internet access and the Public Library Services Branch will be working with other departments to expand the broadband network to include those communities. The introduction of the one library card service province-wide and the potential expansion of library federations will enable people to use resources in neighbouring communities without the barriers that exist today. The plan also opens the door for community libraries to provide more comprehensive information from provincial government departments, using the new technology as the vehicle to do that."

Diana Guinn, President of the British Columbia Library Association and Chief Librarian at Port Moody Public Library agrees. "We applaud the infusion of new funds, which will go a long way to improving equitability of library service in B.C. and ensuring that every man, woman and child has access to the most current information through their local public library." Most of the online magazine subscriptions and other electronic databases are held by libraries in medium and large communities. Some of the new funds will be used to provide a core suite of databases at no cost to all public libraries, freeing up library budgets for print or audio-visual materials or for other programs.

The plan also makes way for other exciting initiatives, such as matching grants for new programs related to early literacy, persons with disabilities, aboriginal people and multicultural communities.

Canada Reads

The finalists for 2005 have been announced in the CBC Radio’s Canada Reads program. All titles are available at the library.

Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen

Rockbound by Frank Parker Day

Volkswagen Blues by Jacques Poulin

No Crystal Stair by Mairuth Sarsfield

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Coming soon

Celebrate Chanukah, Kwanzaa and Christmas with stories, songs, rhymes and a craft. For 3-6 year olds and their caregivers. Saturday, Dec. 11 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Space is limited so please call 604-932-5564 to pre-register.

Young Adult Writing contest

The deadline is fast approaching, so bring in your entries to the library by Tuesday, Nov. 30 th . Check out the Web site for more information. .