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Vancouver Island Regional Library planning pathway for future

Adaptation, reconciliation and innovation are priorities for an Island library chain as its future is planned.

Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) is in its 86th year of operation. The chain has 39 branches, with 55 First Nations in their service area and the diversity of the north and south Island.

Corporate communications and strategic initiatives director David Carson says the library saw many changes and challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“One thing that changed as the result of the pandemic and that we’re seeing a sustained push is people really moving towards our e-resources,” said Carson. “Those are things like our e-books, our audiobooks, our streaming music, our educational resources. Those numbers really skyrocketed.”

With the changes in media, Carson says VIRL is hosting a number of public engagement sessions up and down the Island for their 2023 to 2027 strategic plan.

“We know for that plan to be successful and our journey as an organization to be successful we need to receive important feedback from members of the public, stakeholders, individuals, organizations and families,” said Carson.

Public engagement sessions on north Vancouver Island begin tonight. A schedule is as follows:

  • Port Hardy: Monday, October 3, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Port Hardy Library
  • Port Alice: Wednesday, October 5, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., Port Alice Community Centre
  • Port McNeill: Monday, October 17, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., Chilton Arena – Image Room
  • Woss: Monday, October 24, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., Woss Community Hall
  • Sointula: Tuesday, October 25, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., Athletic Hall

Carson adds reconciliation will be a large part of their efforts moving forward.

“It’s sure to be discussed within the workshops,” said Carson. “We’re also in tandem working with Indigenous engagement and services consultancy as well as our Indigenous engagement committee to deepen our commitment to reconciliation.”

More public engagement sessions will follow in areas across Vancouver Island including Campbell River, Quadra Island, Gold River and the Comox Valley.

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