October is Library Month in B.C.
The B.C. government is proclaiming October 2012 as Library Month in British Columbia, Education Minister Don McRae announced at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) convention last Thursday.
The idea for a month dedicated to library and information services in Canada was developed by library partners across the country. The purpose is to help raise public awareness of the valuable role that libraries play in the lives of Canadians and the communities in which they live. The theme of this year’s Library Month across Canada is “Libraries Connect.”
Throughout B.C., local libraries will have a variety of special events and activities to help celebrate Library Month in British Columbia.
Don McRae, Minister of Education, said, “Libraries and librarians across B.C. are a vital source of information and provide access to ideas, tools and resources for people of all ages. They connect British Columbians with each other and the world around them. They also connect families, and one of the things I love most about libraries is the time I spend in them with my young daughters.”
Annette DeFaveri, executive director, British Columbia Library Association, said, “Libraries transform lives, enrich communities and define our society.”
Reacting to the news, Fiona Anderson, Director of Library Service for Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) said, “We are very pleased that UBCM has proclaimed October as Library Month in BC. This demonstrates that BC public libraries continue to have the support of our local governments.
“It seems very fitting that the official opening of the Gabriola Island branch on October 20th with a special celebration can take place during Library Month in BC. Gabriola Island has long been one of our busiest small branches and we’re very pleased to provide a much needed improvement to the library.”
Fiona said she couldn’t give statistics to compare Gabriola Island’s library usage to other libraries in BC but said, “Gabriola Island residents are very avid readers on a rich and diverse range of subjects, and make very good use of their library and the resources available to them through VIRL.”
Joëlle Anthony, Gabriola author said, “I think having our library closed for construction for so long has made me acutely aware of its importance as a physical space and not simply a service. While I was able to put books on hold, there are many friends I haven’t seen due to its closure – both staff and people I run into only there. Also, after examining my reading habits over the last six months, I see that I mostly read authors I knew about already, or books I’d heard of online. Since the library reopened, I’ve already spent time wandering among the rows, choosing both books and authors I haven’t read before. The library serves as a hub on our island, and I’m certain it must in other communities too.
“Libraries offer a unique service to communities in that they are really the only place you can go and take something wonderful home with you for free. Particularly in small communities, they serve as social hubs, too. And from the author’s point of view, they provide a wonderful service to both readers and writers.”
• There are 71 public library systems in B.C. with 243 library locations serving 360 communities.
• Fifty per cent of British Columbians regularly use their public library.
• Last year, circulation by B.C. public libraries topped 57 million.
• B.C. public libraries reported a record number of visits in 2011, with over 31 million in-person visits (up 48 per cent since 2007). Virtual visits to public library websites reached nearly 26 million in 2011, a 133 per cent jump since 2007.