Ask most people what a public library does and they’ll probably tell you that it’s a place to borrow books. But for anyone who has visited a public library recently, they know that borrowing books is just scratching the surface of what they do.
For a child, a public library is a place to discover, explore and learn through the many programs that are offered. For a senior citizen, a public library is a community living room where they can go to connect and socialize with other people. For someone without regular access to technology, the library is a place that keeps them included and gives them access. And most importantly, for everyone, the library is one of the last places where they’re treated like a citizen as opposed to a consumer.
With October having been Library Month in British Columbia, it’s an ideal time to reflect upon the libraries in our communities and the many roles they play.
In Saanich, in particular, the four Greater Victoria Public Library branches act as pillars to the values, principles and beliefs that we all share. Whether you’re socializing next to the sunny windows in the Bruch Hutchison Branch, or reading in the garden at the Emily Carr Branch, or using the computers at the Nellie McClung Branch, or exploring the archives at the Saanich Centennial Branch, you can always depend on an equitable, inclusive and friendly environment.
As modern technologies give rise to unprecedented change, the library also remains the one constant that ensures that nobody is left behind. With exemplary staff, space, collections and technology, the Greater Victoria Public Library branches are a place where the doors, and the books, are always open.
So the next time someone asks you what a library does, you can tell them libraries are so much more than just a place to borrow books. And if they still don’t believe you, encourage them to go see for themselves, as a trip to the library will definitely change their minds.
Matt Boyd, GVPL Trustee
Saanich Citizen Representative