A “library of things” such as musical instruments, kitchen utensils, and electronics could be part of the Cariboo Regional District libraries.
The ability to lend popular and useful items in addition to books and DVDs is already happening in major cities like Vancouver, Edmonton and Toronto and has recently appeared on CRD’s radar. CRD Director of Library Services Wanda Davis said adding new loan items could be on the horizon here as libraries continue to evolve, although that probably won’t happen until at least. 2023.
“I think libraries have changed a lot over the years. Once upon a time, libraries were mainly devoted to print books, but other media formats have been added over the years, ”she said. “We still lend quite a few DVDs to people just because we don’t have access to the streaming services they have in the big cities due to poor or no internet connections.”
Over the years, the demand for physical library collections has declined while the demands for digital services are on the rise. While the CRD will never abandon its print collections, Davis said more people are reading e-books and that she is considering finding a way to offer access to streaming services through the library.
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“We’re still seeing a lot of physical hardware coming out, but we’re also seeing an increase in the number of people coming with a smart device or a real e-reader looking for setup advice or troubleshooting,” Powell said. “Many customers use the majority of their library card to browse e-books. “
DVDs are a popular part of the collection in the 100 Mile House area, where Librarian Shelby Powell also keeps as many TV shows as possible to meet the demands of her patrons. Audiobooks on CDs are also popular, especially for those who live far from the city and cannot tune in to radio stations.
Powell views the library’s collection as belonging to the community and welcomes suggestions from the public on how best to develop it.
“I want what’s on the shelf to represent them,” she said. “Once we can again offer in-person programs, I want the library to be a place where people can come together as a community. “
Powell noted that cookbooks are a popular item at 100 Mile House and it would probably make sense to add items like cake pans and other cooking equipment to their collection. Electronic devices such as e-readers, tablets and laptops would also be an option, although Powell said it would be ideal to keep them in the library to augment their public computers.
“In terms of general library usage, we’re definitely becoming more stable. We are seeing more and more customers coming in and bringing their own devices to use the wifi. We still only have one public computer available, but it is used as a revolving door, ”she said.
While in-person programming remains on hold, Powell and his team continue to run a virtual lego club, a weekly story hour broadcast live, and have given Dex the Dragon their own book club that operates during the months of winter. Powell is eagerly awaiting the return of the in-person programming, however, so that she can transform the library into a true community center.
“I think we have a lot of potential and a lot of projects that we’re talking about that we want to bring to the public,” Davis said. “We now have very good staff in our libraries, so I think we’ll be doing quite well in a lot of things that we haven’t done before. “
One of those projects is a redesign of the CRD’s library website to make it more user-friendly, which Davis hopes will start by the end of 2022.
100 Thousand House