VIRL Connects

December 1, 2020

Grants allow VIRL to provide Digital Care Packages to combat isolation

A series of grants from local Community Foundations is allowing Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) to help combat social isolation and foster increased digital literacy in care homes and other facilities in our service area. The VIRL Connects initiative is providing digital care packages and support to some of our community members most in need.

“By offering digital tools and resources, we’re building resilience, and providing the means for people to connect with loved ones, take advantage of VIRL’s digital resources, participate in virtual library events, and build important digital literacy skills,” says Anne O’Shea, VIRL’s Deputy Executive Director & COO. “In the era of COVID-19, social connections and digital access are crucially important. I would like to thank all of the participating Community Foundations for supporting this important undertaking for our communities.”

VIRL Connects provides a range of services and technologies in the digital care packages, including:

  • Chromebooks: simple to use laptops that provide access to important cloud-based apps
  • Chromecasts: Devices that allow Smart TVs to cast the screens of tablets and smartphones
  • Smart TVs: Flat screen TVs with internet access and the ability to cast from other devices
  • Internet Subsidies: Help with the monthly cost of maintaining an internet subscription for a six-month period
  • Support: Staff and residents will receive support from library staff to set up their digital care packages, connect to library services and learn about the hundreds of thousands of eBooks, audiobooks, TV shows, movies and classes available online through virl.bc.ca

The first partner facility to receive its package was Qualicum Manor in Qualicum Beach. The long term care facility requested and received a Smart TV, Chromebook and Chromecast for its residents.

“We are incredibly grateful to have received our digital care package courtesy of VIRL,” say Leanne Brown and Lonnie Smith, Activity Directors at Qualicum Manor. “We look forward to sharing these valuable resources with our residents and helping them get more comfortable and acclimatized with this important technology.”

Equipment for the other partner facilities has arrived and digital care packages are being prepared to be shipped. VIRL has reached out to 65 care facilities — 26 have already confirmed their interest and are being issued a care package. Communities with participating facilities include Nanaimo, Qualicum Beach, Parksville, Masset, Port Alberni, and the Comox Valley.

VIRL staff have recently turned their attention to other facilities and organizations that would benefit from these resources, including youth centres, outreach organizations, and more.

To date, VIRL has received $56,516 in funding from the following Community Foundations:

  • Alberni Valley Community Foundation $6,441
  • Comox Valley Community Foundation $7,145
  • Gwaii Trust $3,175
  • Nanaimo Foundation $21,435
  • Parksville Qualicum Community Foundation $8,320
  • Victoria Foundation $10,000

The funding is part of the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund, totalling $350 million nationwide.

Additional updates will be provided as they become available.

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Media Contact
David Carson, Director, Corporate Communications and Strategic Initiatives
Cell: 250.327.3651
Email: dcarson@virl.bc.ca