The Editor’s Desk: Libraries are golden

There are few places where you can get so much, and all of it for free

When was the last time you were in a library?

I suspect that the answer is, for a lot of people, either “Not since I left school” or “I can’t remember.” The reason I suspect this is because I continually run into people who genuinely have no idea about everything that libraries now have to offer. Their idea of a library — reinforced by the way in which they are usually depicted in TV shows and movies — is a place that is nothing but books, stretching in every direction as far as the eye can see, where a death-like silence holds sway and a woman (librarians are always women, in TV shows and movies, usually with their hair in a bun and a pair of glasses hanging from a chain around their neck) sits ready to put her finger to her lips and utter an admonishing “Shhhhhh!” if a patron so much as breathes loudly.

Anyone who regularly visits a library knows how outdated this image is (if it was ever true in the first place). Libraries today are vibrant places: still full of books, yes, but with so much more to offer. They have long had newspapers and magazines available, and back in the day had records and cassettes that could be checked out, as well as large print books for the visually impaired. Later they embraced what were then called “books on tape” or “talking books”, and videotapes of movies and TV series, and then DVDs.

When computers came along those were added, giving many people who otherwise had no access to the online world a place where they could log on in their own time. Bright and colourful spaces for children were created, containing books (of course), as well as toys, stuffies, games, puzzles, child-friendly furniture, and more.

Today’s libraries now offer a plethora of online services, many of them accessible from a patron’s home computer. With a few clicks of a mouse people can read a magazine or newspaper, learn a new language, get eBooks and audiobooks, research their family’s ancestry, and more. In this week’s issue you can read more about a new service offered by the Mobile Library that serves the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, which allowed people in rural communities to vote during last year’s municipal election.

There are courses and workshops for people of all ages, teaching everything from computer skills to household finance. You can check out a birding backpack and go birdspotting, get a thermal imaging camera to check your home for draughts, and get a free pass to the BC Wildlife Park. Crafters can drop in and work on projects, book clubs are still going strong, there are events for children of all ages (including a summer reading club), author readings and book signings, seasonal events, and so much more.

Best of all? It’s free. You heard that right: library programs are offered free of charge. All you need in order to take advantage of everything our libraries have to offer is a library card, which takes only minutes to get. It’s hard to think of a better deal than that.

Of all the things that mankind has accomplished, I’d submit that the (seemingly) humble library ranks right up there as one of the best things we’ve ever managed to come up with. They’re evolved from the preserve of scholars to places where all are welcome, and equal, and in a world where so many businesses and organizations fall by the wayside because they’re unable to adapt to a changing world, libraries have taken everything in stride, embracing the new and finding ways to make it accessible to everyone.

So if you can’t remember the last time you were in a library, or only think you know what they have to offer, step inside one and have a look around. You’ll be more than welcome, I guarantee it. And feel free to make some noise: a hearty “thank you” to the nearest librarian would be a great place to start.



editorial@accjournal.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Historic Hat Creek Ranch in state of uncertainty

B.C. government will proceed with public process to seek new site managers for Hat Creek

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

Closures for Ashcroft Hospital over long weekend

Hospital will be closed for two shifts from May 18-20

Cache Creek council proposes 10% property tax increase, pool closure

Pool scheduled to close after 2019 season unless a funding source can be found

NHL star Eric Brewer to return to Ashcroft for public event

Olympic gold medallist and former Ashcroft resident comes back to his roots

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Cost jumps 35% for Trans-Canada Highway widening in B.C.

Revelstoke-area stretch first awarded under new union deal

Is vegan food a human right? Ontario firefighter battling B.C. blaze argues it is

Adam Knauff says he had to go hungry some days because there was no vegan food

Winds helping in battle against fire threatening northern Alberta town

Nearly 5,000 people have cleared out of High Level and nearby First Nation

B.C. sends 267 firefighters to help battle Alberta wildfires

Out of control fires have forced evacuations in the province

LETTER: Fletcher ‘blurs reality’ on B.C. union public construction

Bridge, highway projects awarded to companies, not unions

Terrace hospital’s business plan approved

Health Minister’s announcement opens door to construction phase

Federal government funds millions to help B.C. police spot drugged driving

Many police departments have expressed wariness about using the only government-approved roadside test

Most Read