Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Use of library services over the last year soars. The future of library services in Langley City.

Over the last year, the importance of library services in Langley City has been reinforced. Scott Hargrove, the Chief Executive Officer for the Fraser Valley Regional Library of which Langley City is a member, provided an update to City Council last week.

Circulation of physical materials, such as books, DVDs, and BluRays, was at 90-95% of pre-pandemic levels while digital circulation such as eBooks, eAudiobooks, and streaming video increased significantly. For example, in January and February 2020, before the pandemic, people borrowed around 60,000 digital items through the library system per month. In January and February 2021, people borrowed around 100,000 digital items per month.

In Langley City, people currently borrow around 300 physical items per day.

Throughout 2020, the library system also produced 471 pre-recorded online programs. This year, they have made 186 pre-recorded online programs and hosted 45 live Zoom programs.

Scott noted that the library system learned many lessons over the last year. Some of the services and program options created in response to the pandemic will remain even after it's over, such as the FVRL Express Curbside Pickup and the pre-recorded online programs such as storytime.

The library system is currently working on restoring regular library hours, and the next phase of library hours extensions is in the works for the Langley City branch.

The Summer Reading Program will remain in a virtual format this year. As we hopefully continue to see lower active COVID-19 cases, the library is looking to restore some level of in-person programming with possible outdoor programming in the summer and traditional in-library programming in the fall. Scott noted that this is speculative, and the library will follow all Public Health Orders.

The library system board and staff are about to start a mid-term review of their strategic plan and 5-year capital plan. As our population continues to grow in the Fraser Valley, the library is looking at a possible expansion of its administrative centre in Abbotsford. They are also looking at expanding and building new library branches. Property tax pays for potential projects.

The library board, representing 15 member municipalities, also updated its branch naming policy. While the board has the ultimate say over the name of a branch, the board will consult with municipalities when a branch needs to be named or renamed.

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