This Library Month the message from Nanaimo libraries to any newcomers is simple; welcome to the island, would you like to get a library card?

David Carson, Director of Corporate Communications and Strategic Initiatives for the library, stated people from out of province might be surprised to know that library cards don’t cost anything, and they can provide access to many resources.

“We want to celebrate some of the things that make our library here on Vancouver Island exciting. When they come into the spaces they’re gonna find out lots of things that go well beyond books,” said Carson. “We have 3D printers, we have technology, we have public computers. We have a vast collection of digital resources available too. Some people are looking for language learning, or people are looking to download music, or stream cutting edge TV and movies, they are looking for ebooks and audiobooks. They get all of that from the library card, and they get all of that free of charge.”

Carson states this year, the island saw a large population boom, which is what encouraged them to focus on newcomers.

“We really wanted to make sure that they know we have this amazing, 39 branch library system across Vancouver Island, right across the central coast. The spaces are open, they’re welcoming, and we have services and resources available for everybody. We want everybody to come and experience the library.”

Carson says earlier in the month they were promoting the services that the library provides, especially to those who are vulnerable.

“At any branch across Nanaimo, you’ll see, everyday, people from all walks of life come in. Vulnerable populations, marginalized people coming in, and they’re using the computers to access healthcare, print off resumes, access government forms or even just use our products and access entertainment. Get out of the cold and take advantage of all the online content that’s available. For marginalized members of the community, for people who are coming from all different walks of life the library is an important part— or aspect— of their lives.”

Nanaimo’s Mayor, Leonard Krog, spoke highly about libraries, believing they provide an ‘incredibly important function,’ and that they offered more than just ‘borrowing books.’

“It is the essence of democracy that citizens have access to information and knowledge and the opportunities that come with it. So you can count me as an old fashioned idealist on public libraries,” said Krog, “but god forbid money or position should ever be a restriction on the access to knowledge, information, and the net. In the modern world that is just crucial to people’s opportunity to advance, but also to maintain a civilized democracy.”

More information about library cards is available here.