Tech items keep West Van library ahead of the game
The results are in: The West Vancouver Library has the highest circulation per hour open out of every library in B.C.
Its success is due to a combination of lending preloaded e-readers, downloadable music, CDs and other technology-related services and traditional book borrowing, said the library’s chairwoman Marcia Bergen at a council meeting on Sept. 10.
In fact, the library was the first in Canada to offer e-readers when it launched a Kindle lending program two years ago. Now 20 of 42 B.C. libraries have adopted the program.
But that’s not all. Smartphones can now be used to check-out books and other material.
“This seems to be important to the younger generation, only because [they] are not unknown to lose or forget their library cards but are unlikely to forget their smartphones,” Bergen said.
When asked by Coun. Bill Soprovich whether the library has seen a peak in visitors due to the popularity of online access, Bergen noted in-person library visits continue to increase.
In 2011, 905,000 people visited the library, either in person or online. This is up five per cent over the year before.
In November 2011, 50,000 people walked through the doors, making it the busiest month since January 1997. Around 1,700 people visit the library on a given weekday.
“It’s a sign of the depth of our physical collections. We are very aware that visitors from other library systems within the Lower Mainland find items in our collection that they’re unable to find in their home libraries,” said Bergen.
The library needs to find a balance between offering children online services and making sure they still appreciate reading a physical book, she added.
Seniors continue to play a big part in the library’s business, added Bergen, noting that books, CDs, magazines, puzzles and other items are delivered by truck to seniors who can’t get to the library easily.
The West Van Library has also made an effort to become more environmentally friendly, receiving LEED existing building silver certification. Over the last five years, the library has seen electric consumption drop 34 per cent, gas 42 per cent and water 68 per cent. To top this off, a third less solid waste is picked up every week.