Letters

Here's why public libraries do what they do

Dear editor,

The Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) is committed to providing exceptional services to the communities it serves.

To this end, community feedback is invaluable and most welcomed. VIRL has received feedback from the community that questions why VIRL deems it necessary to provide children’s computer literacy stations in VIRL service locations.

Our mandate is to provide access to knowledge, learning and literacy — both digitally and in traditional formats. As a public institution, we also have a responsibility to ensure that our services meet the needs of all: those that have access to digital mediums

such as computers and those that do not.

At the same time, we encourage parents and caregivers to continue to decide which materials will be most beneficial for their children while visiting the library.

The children’s literacy stations are an important early literacy resource within the children’s area. Our children’s literacy stations (developed by AWE digital learning solutions) serve to

build essential early literacy skills by providing carefully selected content that is designed by the manufacturer to be both educational and fun.

The stations include over 60 educational applications and 2,000 activities that span all areas of curriculum including: math, science, reading, music, art, history, geography and reference.

AWE children’s literacy stations are also used by parents and educators to enhance children’s school readiness and promote blended learning in a teacher-directed but child-driven

environment.

The content of our children’s literacy stations are comprehensively reviewed, evaluated and selected to ensure that the highest quality, age-appropriate and education material is being used.

VIRL has 42 children’s literacy stations throughout its 38 branches, and they are popular.

In 2013, children and parents participated in over 39,000 sessions. At the same time, Vancouver Island Regional Library is as interested in promoting digital learning opportunities as we are in providing traditional learning tools.

In total, over 4.3 million print items were checked out in 2013 — a large portion of these children’s materials. For children, Vancouver Island Regional Library has increased its number of “storytime”

programs held by 23 per cent, representing over 4,000 stories told.

Early literacy is essential to a child’s development and in helping to ready young children for school. Literacy also extends beyond books and reading to include digital literacy, critical thinking, problem solving, art and music.

Vancouver Island Regional Library is committed to ensuring that children have access to these disciplines through a variety of

learning tools, which are all of equal value.

Bruce Jolliffe,

Union Bay

Editor's note: Bruce Jolliffe is the board chair of the Vancouver Island Regional Library.

 

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