Libraries celebrate 25-plus years of shared services 

By Whistler Public Library Staff

After over 25 years, InterLINK may still be one of the best-kept secrets in the Lower Mainland.

In 1975, seven Lower Mainland libraries joined forces to pursue a simple idea: to share resources in order to give better service to the residents of all seven communities. It turned out to be such a good idea that today, more than 25 years later, the network of InterLINK libraries has grown to include 17 library systems, with a total of 73 branch locations spread over an area from Whistler to White Rock to Hope.

In the year 2000, InterLINK libraries loaned a total of nearly 30 million items, and about one-seventh of that total (3.8 million items) were borrowed by residents of library districts other than the loaning library. Together, InterLINK libraries serve 2,293,378 readers – well over half the population of British Columbia.

"What that means for you," said James Martin, InterLINK Board Chair, "is that your membership in your local library entitles you to use the resources of every public library throughout the Lower Mainland and beyond.

"If you're visiting Whistler, for instance, you can stop in at the Whistler Public Library, get a card at no charge, and borrow books to read while you're there. When you get home, just drop them off at your local library, and they will be returned to Whistler through InterLINK's delivery system.

"Residents of Whistler, Pemberton or Squamish who visit Vancouver will want to take advantage of the huge reference collection available at the Vancouver Public Library. If you're in Richmond, check out the Ironwood branch, equipped with the latest in computers, the newest best-sellers, and even e-books. And if you find yourself on the Sunshine Coast on that rare rainy day, drop in at a public library in Sechelt or Gibsons."

Each library has something distinctive to offer, be it specialized collections, a unique atmosphere, or programs not offered anywhere else. Every library, in its own way, characterizes its community.

All InterLINK libraries also offer non-English materials, 36 languages in total.

The Whistler Public Library has a collection of adult and children’s books in Japanese. The Squamish Public Library, for example, can provide books in Estonian or Gaelic, and Surrey Public Library is the place to go if you want books in Bengali, Romanian, Thai, or Serbo-Croatian.

"InterLINK wants to invite you and your family to discover our public libraries this year," said Martin.

Begin with a stop at the Whistler Public Library between March 16 and 23 to have a look at InterLINK's travel display, and pick up more information about InterLINK's other 16 locations. Then, while you're out seeing the sights this season, make libraries a part of your travels.

The member libraries of InterLINK are:

Bowen Island Public Library

Burnaby Public Library

Coquitlam Public Library

Fraser Valley Public Library

Gibsons and District Public Library

New Westminster Public Library

North Vancouver City Library

North Vancouver District Library

Pemberton and District Public Library

Port Moody Public Library

Richmond Public Library

Sechelt Public Library

Squamish Public Library

Surrey Public Library

Vancouver Public Library

West Vancouver Memorial Library

Whistler Public Library

There are still a few spaces left in the "Spring Fling" program for children ages 5-9 on Monday March 18 th from 2 to 3 p.m. There will be stories and a craft about spring, gardens and bugs. Call 604-932-5564 to pre-register.

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