At the recent AGM of the Vancouver Island Regional Library board, the 2012 data numbers of usage our our public libraries was indeed staggering.
In the Vancouver Island region alone, libraries had 2.6 million visitors, 360,000 virtual visitors, circulation of 4.6 million items, almost 3,000 programs offered to over 60,000 people, 95,000 new items added to VIRL collections, with an almost 14-per-cent increase in overall usage library programs.
As the trustee who represents the Town of Comox on the library board, I’m proud to say that our Comox Branch saw over 102,000 visits in 2012, and almost 212,000 items borrowed.
Recent programs at the Comox Valley regional libraries included: eBook classes, knitting group, reading readiness programs, book clubs, storytimes for children, author readings and insights and a teen comic contest.
Part of the work that our libraries do in the Comox Valley is to help those, particularly of my generation (60+), who are uncomfortable, shy or horrified like me about using new computer technology, to introduce them to the virtual world through introductory programs such as how to use Kobo eReaders, how to access and download free music (Freegal) and magazines (Zinio) and how to use eBook technology.
The VIRL board states that their mission is to enrich lives and community through universal access to knowledge and lifelong learning and literacy both in the hard copy and virtual world — a noble goal indeed!
So let’s see then, our libraries offer universal access to books, DVDs, newspapers and magazines in hard copy and virtual format, offer computer usage assisting those who cannot afford such technology at home, and offer a multitude of literacy, interest and community programs available to all!
Again — wow!
Are our libraries perfect? Of course not. But board members and staff welcome input on how to better serve the public.
And, how exciting for the Cumberland community to soon be getting a new library!
Are public libraries becoming obsolete? Hardly!
I invite residents to visit our Comox Valley public libraries and their programs if you have not done so lately. I am certain you will be surprised and rewarded.
And, it should confirm that our public libraries are indeed important cultural and educational hubs of Comox, Courtenay and Cumberland.