The Vancouver Public Library has 22 branches that serve the city’s more than 600,000 residents.
Vancouverites come from a wealth of different countries and backgrounds and the city is known internationally for its inclusivity, which is made possible through programs and services designed to meet everyone’s needs.
The Vancouver Public Library is a main provider of many of these programs and services. For example, the library organizes Canadian Citizenship Preparation workshops. These sessions cover Canada’s history, symbols, geography, governing system, the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, in addition to other citizenship test topics.
The Vancouver Public Library also offers educational and entertaining activities for people of all ages. There are storytimes for babies and toddlers and Lego block parties and board game events for children. The library also holds workshops for adults like Tech Café, where individuals can practice basic computer skills like email and online research.
For newcomers, the Vancouver Public Library provides helpful resources and has spearheaded initiatives to aid their settlement and integration in British Columbia. For example, NewToBC, which is part of the Urban Library Settlement Partnership (ULSP), creates awareness of the programs that the Vancouver Public Library and other libraries run for immigrants.
The Vancouver Public Library also helps newcomers find meaningful employment through the Skilled Immigrant Info Centre. This resource includes information about the labour market, salaries and wages, employment outlooks, as well as industry journals and websites. The Info Centre offers advice on networking, workplace culture, internships, and more.
The Vancouver Public Library is also a distribution point for the Cultural Access Pass, which grants new Canadians free entry into more than 1,000 cultural sites across Canada during their first year as citizens.
The Vancouver Public Library is the third largest public library system in the country and more than 6.9 million people visited its branches last year and borrowed more than 9.5 million items. These items include everything from books and eBooks to CDs, DVDs and magazines.
The VPL gives members access to a wealth of online resources. Individuals can explore new titles in the library’s collection, browse the popular picks archive, read articles, look up information in encyclopedias, research local history, and search by subject from the comfort of their homes or from any of the library’s branches.
And for individuals who don’t speak English as their first language, the Vancouver Public Library has multilingual collections that include 16 different languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Persian/Farsi, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. These collections include materials for all ages and on a variety of topics.
Vancouver Public Library members can keep track of all of their borrowed materials online through “My VPL”. They can see what items they have checked out, view any holds or fines on their accounts, and read library messages. They can also review materials that they have completed or that are in progress.
Vancouver Public Library staff members strive to be readily available to Vancouverites. So people can submit research questions via email and a librarian will get back to them within 24 hours.
For more information about the Vancouver Public Library, membership, programs, services and materials, please visit the library’s website.