Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Small town libraries: Bowen Island and Viking

Even small towns and islands like Bowen have public libraries.

Bowen Island Public Libary has just reduced its hours. in addition to regular Monday closures, the library is now closed on Sunday, just for the summer, the website says; Thursday 1:00 closure is a pilot project.

Part of the Alberta town's the Carena Complex, the Viking Community Library closes Mondays and Fridays at 4, doesn't open till 3 on Tuesdays, and is closed weekends. As important cultural institutions, digital age libraries have to make crucial decisions about allocating resources. On the one hand, finding and reserving books online could hardly be easier. Meanwhile, paper books are gradually declining. Will live library visits decline too?

Writer-broadcaster (and trained librarian) Bill Richardson says we are fortunate that free public libraries were invented long ago. He questions whether today's societies would have invented them if they hadn't already existed. But how wonderful to have all that knowledge freely available to all.

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