Vancouver Island Regional Library Releases New Strategic Plan
October 30, 2023
Input from Communities and Partners Informs New VIRL Strategic Plan
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nanaimo, BC – The Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) Strategic Plan is now available on VIRL’s website. The Strategic Plan was unanimously approved by the VIRL Board of Trustees in March 2023 following an engagement process that saw more than 3,200 people participate in surveys, engagement sessions and interviews. This process brought new perspectives to light, sparked important conversations, and highlighted areas VIRL will prioritize to improve.
VIRL is a Regional Library District — a public library serving some of the fastest growing urban areas and some of the most rural and remote communities in Canada. In our 87th year, we provide library services to 38 member jurisdictions, across more than 42,000 km2 of islands, inlets, forests, and coastal areas. During the development of our Strategic Plan, and the renewal of our Vision, Mission, and Values, we asked our Trustees, staff, partners, and our communities: “What should we look like at 90 years old?”
The Plan responds to our new Vision and Mission
Vision: A thriving, connected, cohesive, and empowered region of island and coastal Communities.
Mission: We provide barrier-free, region-wide, and equitable access to a unique and critical blend of Collective Services that lift our community.
“Our communities are in transition. Reconciliation is one of the region’s greatest opportunities. Economic diversification, climate change, toxic drug and opioid crises, housing, and affordability are among the greatest challenges, along with low literacy levels — 45% of British Columbians aged 16 – 65 have difficulty in accomplishing some daily living tasks due in part to limited literacy skills. Community partners asked us how we might more specifically address the socio-economic and environmental wellbeing of individuals and communities within our mandate and service area.” says Ben Hyman, Executive Director, VIRL. “In response, this plan embraces the principles of Service Design and Social Innovation to ensure the continuous evolution of our Collective Services and further empower our region.”
Erin Hemmens, VIRL Chair of the Board, adds “We have set the bar high for ourselves and are committed to reaching it for our communities. Together, we will forge a path that not only meets the needs of today but anticipates the challenges of tomorrow.”
VIRL delivers tremendous economies of scale and significant returns on investment, by working with 38 local governments across a 42,000 km2 service area. Our collective services are a demonstrable commitment to livability and affordability and are enjoyed by nearly a third of residents overall. These services include free access to dynamic programming and events, bookable meeting rooms, and 39 branches that are essential Third Spaces in communities large and small. VIRL has the third-largest public library collection in BC, featuring downloadable e-books, audiobooks, digital news, streaming services, children’s materials, and much more.