Book lovers of all ages will soon have greater access to online learning and reading resources, thanks to a one-time $3-million government investment in public libraries.
“It’s important that people have access to digital literacy programs, ebooks and online learning,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “I am proud to see the innovative ways our libraries continue to support and connect people who want to learn, explore and be entertained through digital resources. This funding will help bring libraries into the homes of families throughout the province.”
Libraries can use this new funding to provide enhanced digital and connectivity services by expanding Wi-Fi capabilities, offering community digital literacy training, enhancing online library programs and purchasing technology, such as scanners, tablets, microphones and cameras. Libraries will work together to deliver a provincewide collection of ebooks, magazines and other online services that people will be able to access with their library card.
Part of these funds, $1.8 million, will be allocated through the BC Libraries Co-operative to support electronic resource licensing and help expand online common collections for all B.C. public libraries. The additional $1.2 million will be distributed directly to libraries.
The ministry has released a new strategic plan for provincial public library services in British Columbia. The plan was developed with library partners and focuses on making sure British Columbians experience library services that are engaging, accessible and responsive to their needs.
“Public libraries are an important part our government’s plan to make life better and more affordable for British Columbians of all ages,” Fleming said. “Libraries improve the services people count on and help provide them with the skills they need to succeed as we work together to build a strong, sustainable economy throughout our province.”
Libraries provide vital services to British Columbians of all ages so they can have free, equitable access to quality sources of information. Libraries increase opportunities for people to contribute to their communities, reducing inequality to information access, helping close the divide between poverty and opportunity, while helping remove barriers that can hold people back. Public libraries are an important part of the B.C. government’s vision for a province that works for everyone.
Dana McFarland, chair, BC Libraries Co-operative –
“The BC Libraries Co-operative was built to help libraries help people. This funding means British Columbians will have access to more digital content and will enable us to invest in longer-term projects that benefit our communities. We thank the Province and look forward to working together with our members to support people by improving access to public libraries’ online collections and internet through connectivity initiatives.”
Scott Hargrove, chair, Association of BC Public Library Directors, and CEO, Fraser Valley Regional Library –
“Public libraries play a key role in helping our communities connect to the digital world. This funding is very welcome, especially given the ever-increasing demand on library digital resources. We look forward to supporting innovation in our communities while continuing to work with the ministry on its strategic plan for libraries.”
Mike Gagel, president, BC Library Trustees Association, and chair, Prince George Public Library Board –
“The Ministry of Education's new Strategic Plan for BC Public Libraries, along with a $3-million one-time grant, demonstrates the government's understanding of the important and unique role that public libraries play in building resilient communities. The plan and the one-time funding to support digital services and infrastructure indicate that the ministry has heard and taken to heart the message from the BC Public Library Partners and our supporters that investing in B.C.'s public libraries is investing in B.C. communities for everyone.”
- Government provides $14 million in annual funding toward operating costs at B.C.'s public libraries.
- There are 71 public libraries with 249 branches throughout B.C., serving 99% of B.C.’s population.
- Over 2 million people have library cards and access the services offered through 249 locations in British Columbia.
- There are 700 library trustees, 3,900 library employees and 2,400 volunteers in B.C.'s public libraries.
- B.C.'s public libraries hold almost 6 million volumes and 3.75 million titles in ebook/e-audiobook collections, plus many other digital resources including magazines, music, learning tools and films.
- People used digital resources from B.C. public libraries over 9.5 million times in 2018, inclding 5 million ebook/e-audiobook circulations and 4.5 million uses of other digital resources.
Check out the new strategic plan, and learn more about B.C.'s public libraries: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/sports-culture/arts-culture/public-libraries