The Port Alberni Public Library, a member of the Vancouver Island Regional Library System, was opened in Port Alberni in 1936 and, according to its history, it first operated in the back of McVicar’s Drug Store on Third Avenue, where store employees acted as library attendants.
In 1972, the library moved to the Echo Centre and in 2007 it underwent a major refurbishment and expansion.
The local branch, now under the management of Michael de Leur, provides a variety of services to our community, including accessible support for seniors (starting with a building that counts on wheelchair access), public computers, public WiFi, and more than 35,000 reading items. De Leur is also responsible for the library operation in Tofino and Ucluelet and the Bamfield Book Deposit.
“Among the branch services for seniors, we have books with a larger font size available in fiction and non-fiction titles such as mysteries, romances, thrillers, cookbooks, biographies and much more,” says Kaitlin Parker, Customer Service Librarian, Children & Youth Services for Port Alberni, Tofino and Ucluelet.
Alternatively, listen to books by authors like Debbie Macomber and James Patterson with the library’s collection of audio-book CDs.
“Titles not found in the Port Alberni branch can be requested in from the other 39 branches across Vancouver Island for easy pick up and have a loan period of three weeks,” she adds.
And for those with print disabilities, they can be registered as a Talking Book patron with the library, which gives them access to the Talking Books, Daisy CD, Braille and Centre for Equitable Access (CELA) collections. CELA provides those with print disabilities access to audiobooks, braille and accessible ebooks, with the option to download titles digitally or to receive them by mail.
Other services include lendable e-readers, available to download books from the Library website and transfer them onto a device. “Overdrive and Libby” are two digital services available to provide mobile access to e-books and e-audiobooks on phones, tablets, laptops and newer models of Kobo e-readers. These items, like print books, can be borrowed for three weeks.
In addition, our local Library offers programs for the young and old. Seniors, for example, can take part in the “Saturday Stitchers” group for those interested in knitting, crocheting, embroidering, cross-stitching or beading. The group meets every Saturday from 1-3 p.m. No skill levels are required to join.
The library also offers a monthly adult book club where members can read and discuss a new fiction or non-fiction title together.
“Book a Librarian” is another service by this organization. It aims to assist individuals with the use of devices such as tablets, e-readers, laptops and phones. Once requested, a librarian will meet one-on-one to assist and answer with questions regarding their devices.