Library Archives

Trying New Technology at Your Public Library

The world is increasingly changing with technology. Computers opened up our ability to communicate, transform, and create. With all the different products and software, it’s best to educate yourself before investing. Your public libraries can help with this. There are many items that you can borrow or try for free with your library card. Below are a few examples. Check out your home library to learn what it has.

Devices – You can borrow a Chromebook or a Kobo eReader free with your New Westminster Public Library card. This can be used to access their e-resources and digital collections.

Kobo reader, free at library

Computer classes at library

Computer Classes – There are two broad categories of Computer Classes available at the North Vancouver City Library: Computer Basics and Creating Digital Content. The goal of these classes is to inspire creativity and enhance access and inclusion. While classes are not available for the summer, they will be back in full swing come Fall. Classes include introductions to Excel, Word, Gmail, Mac basics and more.


3D Printing – The only limit to 3D printing is our imagination. If you can dream it, you can build it. 3D printing is used to make prosthetics, replicas of internal organs for surgical purposes, and even houses. While the cost of 3D printers has dropped significantly over the years, they can still come with a significant price tag. The Richmond Public Library and the Coquitlam Public Library have 3D printers on site and offer workshops to help you get started in learning the possibilities.

3D Printer resources

Sphero robot

Sphero Robots – Sphero is a spherical robot toy designed by Sphero (the company). It is a white orb wrapped in polycarbonate plastic, capable of rolling around, changing colours, running programs, all controlled by a smartphone or tablet. These robots are a great way to introduce your child and yourself to coding basics. If you’re curious, you can attend the Burnaby Public Library’s Technology Open House at the McGill Library on August 17th. You will be introduced to Spehros, VR goggles, Little Bits, and more.

Virtual Reality (VR) – VR is an immersive computer-generated, three-dimensional interactive environment. Wearing the HTC VIVE goggles, headphones, and holding motion controllers, participants are able to move freely to try out a mix of virtual games as well as educational experiences. VR gives you access to any world that a developer can create. The Fraser Valley Regional Library offers a chance to try VR with many scheduled events and workshops.

Virtual Reality at the library

Whatever technology you would like to try, chances are, you can get your hands on it at your local public library. Happy creating!

Try New Hobbies at the Library

When I think of libraries, the first image that comes to mind is shelves upon shelves of books. I absolutely love wandering aimlessly up and down the aisles to see what treasures lie within. Picking at books and reading their synopsis, the words of others transport me, to faraway places and experiences. I am sure the same holds true for you, but did you know there are other hobbies you can try at the library?

While libraries were built on books, they are rapidly changing to accommodate the varied interests that patrons have today. So to the hobbyist, libraries are a treasure trove. You can borrow hobby items, free of charge, to to try them out before fully committing to a hobby. Libraries should be your first go-to if you’re interested in trying something new.

Here are just a few examples of items that you can borrow at a variety of libraries in the Lower Mainland:

Birdwatching backpacks

Birdwatching (or “birding”) is a growing trend with young people who wish to reconnect with nature. It is now one of the fastest growing pastimes in North America! The Fraser Valley Regional Library Birdwatching Backpacks are now part of The Playground at FVRL. Each backpack will contain a pair of binoculars, a couple of books on birds, and a customer survey.

Birdwatching hobby for free at the library

Cameras and Camcorders

Photography and videography has been seeing an increase of popularity with many people wanting to give it a try, but the price tag can be a bit steep. The Burnaby Public Library, Tommy Douglas branch, has cameras, camcorders, and other equipment available to lend. The library computer lab is also a great space for working with photos and video offering access to Photoshop Elements, Premier Elements, and iMovie.

Musical Instruments

Learning a musical instrument has never been easier. With free access to, you can try your hand at anything. The Vancouver Public Library’s Sun Life Financial Musical Instrument Lending Library offers a collection of instruments that you can borrow with your library card. The collection is located at the Central Library, and the instruments can be found by searching the library catalogue.

Learn an instrument as a hobby for free at the library


Many people would like to try their hand at growing their own food. The Seed Library at the Surrey Public Library offers free access to seeds and supports local gardeners in saving seed at home. They are a living seed exchange, sharing varieties of regionally adapted, open pollinated and self-fertile seeds.

Gardening as a hobby for free at the library


Astronomy hobby for free at the library

These handy tools allow us to see things that are too far to see with the naked eye. These can be used to check out comets, astronomical events, and examine the stars and planets in the night sky. The Coquitlam 

Public Library now lends out telescope kits. Each kit includes a Skywatcher Heritage 76 Dobsonian telescope with its own carrying case, 2 eyepieces, and a guidebook and simple instructions.

These are just a few examples for the hobbyist in you. If you’re curious about the many ‘non-book’ materials available at your library, simply head to their websites and start exploring. There are many treasures for each of us to find. Happy searching!