Metro libraries are not the hushed mausoleums of yore. Some are talking about selling books, hosting knitting workshops, scattering book lending boxes throughout neighbourhoods, and boosting their on-line participation in the community.
January 31, 2013 — Metro libraries are not the hushed mausoleums of yore. Some are talking about selling books, hosting knitting workshops, scattering book lending boxes throughout neighbourhoods, and boosting their on-line participation in the community.
These were just a few of the ideas presented last fall as part of an event co-sponsored by Vancouver Foundation and Simon Fraser University.
Called “Big Ideas for Libraries in Communities,” the competition was part of the inaugural SFU Public Square Community Summit. It was designed to challenge people’s notion of what a library is, and to inspire creative approaches from community members towards two goals: helping libraries expand their role in building community, and increasing their civic engagement.
At the event, 10 finalists were selected by members of the audience to present their ideas to a panel of judges. Also, Vancouver Foundation committed to offer two grants of up to $10,000, which the finalists could apply for.
The groups submitted their ideas and a volunteer jury selected two winning projects from the submissions. North Vancouver District Public Library’s Community Pod project and Surrey Libraries’ The Little Free Library That Could were chosen because they most closely represented projects that could strengthen bonds between people in their neighbourhoods, build bridges between people across boundaries of diversity, and encourage active participation in neighbourhood and community activities.
Each will receive $10,000 from Vancouver Foundation to realize their project.
“We are pleased to be able to support these projects,” says Vancouver Foundation President and CEO Faye Wightman. “They are unique, and yet will bring the local library, arts organizations, businesses and neighbourhood groups together to create, on the one hand, a space for sharing and learning, and on the other, a community literally blooming with book boxes. This is connections and engagement at its grassroots best.”
The Community Pod project takes the concept of libraries as places to connect people with information and ideas to another level. Starting in April, this six-month pilot project will provide for a dedicated, welcoming, and safe space, within the library setting, where people can gather, share skills, and connect with others. From learning calligraphy or knitting skills one-on-one, to community workshops on local history or planting vegetables, the Pod is a creative way for people to connect, learn and share experiences with other members of their community.
Surrey Libraries’ The Little Free Library That Could project is inspired by the popular take-a-book/leave-a-book model. Starting in the summer of 2013, community members will build, decorate, stock and maintain mini-mailbox-like library lending boxes in their neighbourhoods. The Library will host workshops to build the library boxes and help the community find suitable locations.
Vancouver Foundation helps build more vibrant and resilient communities in BC. We do this by harnessing the gifts of energy, ideas, time, and money of caring citizens to make meaningful and lasting impacts. We are Canada’s largest community foundation and we have been investing in communities since 1943.
Vancouver Foundation Communications