Prince George Public Library members will soon be able to access more ebooks, audiobooks, magazines and resources online, thanks to a $3 million provincial grant to B.C. public libraries.
The B.C. Libraries Co-operative will receive $1.8 million to expand its online common collection available to all library card holders in the province. The other $1.2 million will be distributed directly to libraries for local initiatives to support enhanced digital services.
"The Ministry of Education's new Strategic Plan for BC Public Libraries, along with a $3-million one-time grant, demonstrates the government's understanding of the important and unique role that public libraries play in building resilient communities," Prince George Public Library chairperson Mike Gagel said in a press release.
"The plan and the one-time funding to support digital services and infrastructure indicate that the ministry has heard and taken to heart the message from the BC Public Library Partners and our supporters that investing in B.C.'s public libraries is investing in B.C. communities for everyone."
In addition to his role on the Prince George Public Library board of trustees, Gagel is the president of the BC Library Trustee Association.
Local projects funded by the grant can include initiatives like expanding Wi-Fi capabilities, offering community digital literacy training, enhancing online library programs and purchasing technology, such as scanners, tablets, microphones and cameras.
"This funding means British Columbians will have access to more digital content and will enable us to invest in longer-term projects that benefit our communities," BC Libraries Co-operative chairperson Dana McFarland said in a press release.
A study in 2018 showed B.C. public library members accessed five million ebooks and audiobooks online through public libraries that year, and 4.5 million other digital resources.
"It's important that people have access to digital literacy programs, ebooks and online learning," said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. "This funding will help bring libraries into the homes of families throughout the province."
To access ebooks and other online resources through the Prince George Public Library, go to www.pgpl.ca/online-resources.