Letter to the Editor: Thank you, on behalf of the Prince Rupert Public Library

On behalf of the library’s thousands of patrons, library trustees and staff, I want to thank everyone who supported the Public Library

Editor:

To the people of Prince Rupert: thank you. On behalf of the library’s thousands of patrons, library trustees and staff, I want to thank everyone who supported the Prince Rupert Public Library recently.

Thank you for the notes of concern, the money, the flowers, signs of support, communication to city council and your willingness to declare the importance of the library.

Libraries are as old as the written word, but like many good things in the world for most of our history, they were experienced only by the rich.

Public libraries are a democratic invention and a necessary one for the development of civilization. They exist to ensure that everyone has the chance to improve their own lives, which also improves the community as a whole. This helps businesses as well, as Andrew Carnegie wrote: “I chose free libraries as the best agencies for improving the masses of the people because they only help those who help themselves.”

While some independent, progressive rich individuals did build a few free and open libraries in Europe prior to the 18th century, they were too small and too few to make much of a difference.

The late 19th century, in both the US and Canada saw the rise of public libraries which helped improve the world for millions of people. The first, free public library supported by taxation was in Peterborough, New Hampshire, US in 1833.

In Canada, the Public Library in Saint John, New Brunswick was the first, built in 1883. The Library Act of 1891 was the first piece of provincial legislation in B.C. that recognized the importance of libraries and enabled their creation. Prince Rupert had a Reading Room built in 1913 and it was this institution that became the Prince Rupert Public Library when Bylaw 389 was adopted by city council on March 27, 1922.

But some people say, the world is different now. You can Google anything you need; hasn’t the Internet made libraries obsolete? No, is the short answer.

The beginning of the long answer is that the technological and economic realities of the 21st century have made libraries even more important to a fair and just society.

The Internet has changed the world. It has allowed new avenues of wealth production and increased the disparity between the rich and the poor, it has become the primary channel for communication for almost everything, which makes it difficult for those who do not have computers.

The Internet provides a platform for the distribution of many subscription-based databases that very few people would/could purchase, but these databases (from All-Data, an automotive repair database; to consumer Health Complete) are freely available to all people because the library pays for these subscriptions.

The library also has trained staff to assist patrons in navigating Internet resources as well as finding the appropriate book or article.

While the world changes all the time, the readers change at their own rates and recent studies have shown that readers (young and old) in Canada and the US still prefer a physical book for leisure reading.

In this library you can research our past, dream your future, see your child cry as you drag her out of the library; be tutored by a volunteer or just Facebook with friends far away.

The library is your public living room. Come to it and enjoy alone or with others.

Find out what’s happening in your community and make your world a little better than it is. It’s your library.

Joe Zelwietro

Chief Librarian, Prince Rupert Public Library

Prince Rupert

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Staff at Acropolis Manor, a Prince Rupert long-term health care facility in April 2020 where no cases of COVID-19 were reported until an outbreak on Jan. 19, 2021. As of Jan. 25th, 32 people associated with the residence have tested positive for the virus. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Staff at Acropolis Manor a Prince Rupert long term health care facility, take pride in their work place that no COVID-19 cases have been reported in the facility during the pandemic.This photo taken, April 20, from outside, looking through a window shows staff adhering to strict protocols and best practices to keep residents happy and healthy. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
COVID-19 numbers increase at Acropolis Manor – 32 infected

Prince Rupert man concerned about temp. staff from out of region working at long-term care facility

Ken Veldman vice president, public affairs and sustainability, at Prince Port Port Authority on Jan. 21 addressed local employers in an online presentation about a new community recruitment program to attract employees to Prince Rupert. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
New recruitment campaign to be launched in Prince Rupert

Web platform will use community collaboration to attract new employees to Prince Rupert

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

The shirts sell for $45, with 30 per cent of proceeds from each sale going to Battered Women’s Support Services in Vancouver. (Madame Premier/Sarah Elder-Chamanara)
Canadian company launches ‘hysterical’ T-Shirt to combat health officials’ use of word

A partnership with Tamara Taggart will see women broadcast the word on a T-shirt or tote bag

ICBC has seen savings on crash and injury claims in the COVID-19 pandemic, with traffic on B.C. roads reduced. (Penticton Western News)
ICBC opens online calculator for rate savings starting in May

Bypassing courts expected to save 20% on average

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
16% boom predicted for B.C. real estate sales in 2021: experts

Along with sales, the average price of homes is also predicted to rise, by nearly 8 percent

The trial of Harry Richardson began Monday at the Nelson courthouse. File photo
Trial of man accused of shooting RCMP officer in West Kootenay in 2019 begins

Harry Richardson is facing five charges in a Nelson courtroom

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

Brad Windsor has been an advocate for years to get sidewalks installed along Milburn Drive in Colwood, but to no avail. He wants city council to commit to making Milburn a priority lane for sidewalk construction in the future. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Dramatic crash caught on B.C. home security camera

Angry residents say video highlights need for sidewalks in B.C. residential neighbourhood

An independent review is underway at the Royal BC Museum after employees called out systemic, individual racism at the institution. (Twitter/RBCM)
Royal BC Museum faces allegations of systemic racism, toxic work environment

Formal investigation, survey and training launched at museum

In this May 23, 2012, file photo, an approximately 2-year-old female cougar runs away from a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife trap after being released northeast of Arlington, Wash. A cougar has attacked and severely mauled a man in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark Mulligan/The Daily Herald via AP
Cougar euthanized in B.C. after severely mauling a man north of Vancouver

Whistler RCMP officers were first on the scene and shot and killed a cougar prowling nearby

Most Read