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Library report denotes many advances

By Don Fennell

Published 3:29 PDT, Thu August 15, 2019

A new Hamilton Book Dispenser, the introduction of the One Book, Three Cities sister cities reading program, and many new collections, technologies and partnerships highlighted an eventful 2018 at the Richmond Public Library.

A new Hamilton Book Dispenser, the introduction of the One Book, Three Cities sister cities reading program, and many new collections, technologies and partnerships highlighted an eventful 2018 at the Richmond Public Library.

The initiatives and other advances and collaborations are featured in the library’s just-released annual report to the community.

“Our community is at the heart of everything we do,” says chief librarian Susan Walters.

The report starts off with a significant joint message from board chair Robin Leung and Walter, noting that library cards provide free access to library resources 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That’s just the start.

The report also notes the library’s successful implementation of its 2014-2018 strategic plan, and the start of extensive public consultation for the next three years.

It also highlights the digital programs, services and spaces. Since its grand re-opening in 2017, the Launchpad has introduced a number of innovative new programs aimed at challenging the status quo. These programs are designed to introduce new digital skills such as gaming, game creation, app development and coding.

At the Game of Apps showcase, over 100 local teens demonstrated how to use community-based apps that they had created as part of a school project.

In 2018, the library’s popular Smash Bros. tournament also expanded in frequency, size and cachet, attracting top gamers from all over B.C. and Washington. These tournaments now take place up to six times a year.

As well, four new topics for the ongoing Digital Learning Tours were also introduced.

Summer reading programs also proved popular. Seen as being integral in helping the community become proficient readers, the library report shares several impressive reading numbers. The Summer Reading Club resulted in 388,411 library visitors with nearly 600,000 items borrowed.

Volunteers and library champions also worked to help enhance programs supporting literacy, English language learning, technology and community gatherings. In 2018, 33 library champions participated in projects at the library, and reached out to 1,088 immigrant community members.

Also in 2018, the library launched the Teen Ambassadors Program, inviting teens from every secondary school in Richmond to act as liaisons between the library and their school. These teens help promote library services, events and volunteer opportunities within their own and their school’s social networks. They also moderate and contribute to the library’s blog for teens and provide input on teen programs, services and collections.

A number of the library’s collections were also enhanced. These included:

• Study collections in print and online

• Popular reading collections

• Expansion of the local author collection

• Indigenous collections

• Significant improvements to the collection at the Ironwood branch.

The Friends of the Library graciously funded almost $10,000 in enhancements, including the expansion of the Teacher Resource Collection, the Indigenous Learning Resources, Chinese books for children, and the library’s new Storywalk collection.

In his introduction of the report, Mayor Malcolm Brodie notes the library offers a “tremendous variety of programs, services and resources” all of which are free.

“Many programs are offered in partnership with local community organizations and are supported by library volunteers who give generously of their time for the benefit of the community,” says Brodie.

Richmond Public Library has over 375,000 physical items and 41,000 digital items in its collection. All are available to the public for in-library use and or borrowing.

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