NDP MLA Michele Babchuk. (Supplied photo)

NDP MLA Michele Babchuk. (Supplied photo)

North Island will see improvements from new funding for local libraries

New Democrat MLAs Michele Babchuk and Ronna-Rae Leonard say that people will see improvements at their local public libraries, including expanded digital collections and internet access, upgraded spaces and programming, and improved air circulation thanks to new COVID-19 relief and recovery funding for libraries.

“There is no doubt that the pandemic has changed the way we consume media,” said Babchuk, MLA for the North Island. “This significant investment will ensure that libraries on Vancouver Island can meet the increased demand for digital content, while continuing to provide vital services, resources, and programs.”

Vancouver Island Regional Library is receiving $180,195.79 in funding.

“As former chair of Vancouver Island Regional Library and having served 8 years on the VIRL Board, I know just how fundamental the services that libraries provide are. Libraries connect people to new information, skills, and their wider community.” said Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox. “This important investment will help libraries to cover pandemic costs and to enhance access to the resources we all enjoy.”

A total of $8 million in COVID-19 relief and recovery funding is being distributed between 71 public libraries, six library federations and three library service partners in B.C.

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

This investment builds on a one-time $3 million investment in public libraries in 2020, to expand digital services and computer access during the pandemic.

Government also provides $14 million in annual funding toward operating costs at B.C.’s public libraries.

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