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Stats show library the hub for Pemberton residents

27-per-cent increase in borrowing and usage



The Pemberton and District Public Library is charting incredible success — a 27-per-cent increase in total circulation (the total number of items borrowed) in 2015, and 2016 looks to surpass that even though December stats have not been tallied.

"We're just very fortunate to have an engaged community that supports the library services," said library director Emma Gillis. "It's a dynamic, growing population and in this day and age some libraries — such as in the U.K. where I'm from — are closing because their numbers are so poor."

In November alone, there were almost 9,000 visits. And this year's usage increase eclipses the 2014 increase of 17-per-cent.

"In a population of just over 6,500, it really just shows the importance, whether it's free Wifi, facilities, or the children's library, people are starting to come here and work throughout the day, or they just come here to read," Gillis said. "Our main goal is to really be the heart of the community."

A remodelled children's section was revealed last month, and a recent Tiny Story Contest had more than 400 entries in both adult and teen categories. Adult winners are Alyssa Noel, Hillary Downing and Sarah Martin. Teen winners are Jacob Spierings, Kaede Kawano and Kevin Linklater.

As well, more than 200 tickets were sold for the annual wine-and-cheese event, and the library staff undertook a new initiative to record an audio children's book.

The staff chose the Dav Pilkey graphic novel for children, Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-boxers, and members played the roles of each character.

"For a lot of it we had to describe the pictures," she said. Usually, audiobooks are recorded with a computer-generated voice, and Gillis said they often sound like the voice of Siri, Apple's computer program that functions like a personal assistant.

The recording and editing took several months, and Gillis said it was a rewarding project. The audiobook is initiated by the National Network of Equitable Library Services and is available at any B.C. library branch.

"It's been great to interact with that service," she said, adding that all the projects, staff and Friends of the Library efforts contribute to a vital hub for Pemberton.

"We're very fortunate that people are still really engaged with the library," she said.