"at your library" in the north island eagle: your library card: hidden treasure

I'm writing a library column for the local newspaper! I'm really excited about it. Everyone reads this free paper, so a column is an amazing opportunity to promote our services. It's also a fun writing challenge, to strip away the library jargon, appeal to a wide audience, and quickly write 500-ish words.

I've decided to post the columns here, too. Here's the first one.

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At Your Library: Your Library Card: Hidden Treasure

This is the first column highlighting what's happening at your local branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library, better known as VIRL. I'm super excited to have this space to speak to North Island residents about their libraries – Port Alice, Port Hardy, Port McNeill, Sointula, and Woss – and I'm grateful to publisher/editor Kathy O'Reilly for this amazing opportunity.

Your library card is a treasure trove of resources and information. You know about the books, of course – millions of books for every age and nearly every interest. And maybe you know about the DVDs, as North Island folks borrow them in great quantities! You can borrow books and DVDs from all 39 VIRL branches, from Haida Gwaii to Sooke to Tofino and back again.

But books and DVDs are only the beginning. There's so much more going on at your library that you might not be aware of.

Do you know about Lynda.com? Lynda provides a vast array of professionally-made videos teaching technology, business, design, photography, and so much more. If you purchased Lynda online, it would cost you $26 per month. With your library card, it's free.

Did you know we offer Mango Languages, an award-winning language-learning program, featuring native speakers of more than 70 different languages? Mango costs $20/month online, but it's free with your library card.

Starting a business? Researching a career change? Helping your teenager make decisions about post-secondary options? Your library has an amazing array of resources to help you with every aspect of your working life. Whether you're just starting out, taking a new direction, or expanding your established business, we can help.

If you have internet at home, VIRL offers a long list of streaming services, giving you access to movies, documentaries, music, e-books, magazines, and more. And yes, it's all free.

If you don't have internet at home, come on in and use ours! It's – you guessed it – free.

If you're the parent of a pre-school child, your library is especially important for you. One of your most important jobs as a parent is reading to your children, which helps them learn how to read. Preparing your child for learning how to read, then keeping them reading as they go through school, is crucial to their success.

This isn't my opinion as a librarian – it's a proven fact. Children whose parents read to them do better in school, and children who do better in school have greater life chances. So when you read to your child, you are setting them up for success, in school and in life. Your library is here to support and guide you in this important job. I'll write more about this in the coming months.

By now I'm sure you get the point. Library. Lots of stuff. All free. But don't take my word for it. Come and see for yourself.

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