Pandemic relief funds help libraries adapt to changing needs

People will see improvements in their local public libraries, including expanded digital collections, upgraded and barrier-free spaces, improved programming, better air circulation, and 24-hour Internet access.

This is due to a one-time investment of $8 million in COVID-19 relief and recovery funding.

“British Columbia’s public libraries have been at the forefront of supporting people during the pandemic with print and digital resources, barrier-free community spaces and reliable internet access,” said Nathan Cullen, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “I’ve spoken with libraries across British Columbia, from big cities to smaller towns, and this funding from the province will have a huge impact on their ability to continue doing what they do: keep us all connected. for the love of learning.

COVID-19 relief and recovery funding is distributed among 71 public libraries, six library federations and three library service partners. This funding covers costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, supports emergency response and planning, and adapts services for recovery.

“This one-time increase in funding will have a significant positive impact on the ability of public libraries to improve access to all types of library resources, services and programs, with the goal of building resilient communities,” said Mike Gagel, President, Association of Library Administrators of British Columbia. “With additional funding, public libraries can provide services that put people first, empowering BC citizens with skills that help build savings and make life more affordable.

Libraries can use this new funding to improve services and fill gaps created by the pandemic. This can include adapting their physical spaces, providing computer and virtual technology training, and developing programs that help people build deeper social and community connections.

“As we enter the next stages of the pandemic recovery, this provincial investment will go a long way to improving inclusion and accessibility and helping to address the digital divide in British Columbia,” said Kevin Millsip, Director General of BC Libraries Cooperative. “We are excited to work with the province to help libraries help people.

Libraries support local and provincial initiatives, working together to increase the provincial collection of e-books, magazines and other online services that people can access using their library cards.

Fast facts:

  • The government provides $14 million in annual funding to cover the operating costs of public libraries in British Columbia.
  • In 2020, the province provided a one-time investment of $3 million to public libraries for digital services, online collections, public computer access and internet connectivity, to expand people’s access to services of library.
  • People used BC public libraries’ digital resources nearly 16 million times in 2020, a 47% increase from the previous year.

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