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Vancouver Island Regional Library looking for ‘big dream ideas’ in planning process

Meetings to be held in Vancouver Island communities throughout October
Campbell River’s Vancouver Island Regional Library branch. Photo by Marc Kitteringham/Campbell River Mirror

Want a say in what happens at the Vancouver Island Regional Library over the next four years?

The library system is currently operating under a strategic plan that was supposed to be revisited in 2020. However, due to the pandemic the plan was extended two years. That means it is time for a new plan, and VIRL is looking for the public’s help in crafting it.

“We were due to do a Strategic Plan in 2020,” said Campbell River library manager Joëlle Samson. “We’re two years out, and we are looking at our future values, so the values through which all of our decisions are filtered. We’re re-doing our mission statement, which is our ‘big why.’ It’s not what we do, but why and how.”

According to the VIRL website, the “strategic plan will build on past work while seeking to re-frame and refocus our vision, mission, values and strategic priorities around the communities we serve.

Issues of equity, literacy, digital access, the cost of living, compounding crises and regional partners will all shape the next plan and our future direction.”

VIRL is holding a series of two-hour public meetings at various branches this month, with the goal of hearing from as many people as possible about the future of the library system.

”Over the course of October, we will conduct interviews, focus groups, surveys, and workshops in every corner of our vast and diverse service area,” says a notice on the VIRL website.

“We work for our communities. The reason we’re here is for our communities, so we need to know what they want in their libraries and we want to hear big dream ideas about what could become in the next five years and beyond. We really do need input from our community,” Samson said.

For those who want to delve a bit deeper, VIRL also has a survey on their website, as well as a few focus group sessions planned for the month of October. The focus groups will be looking at topics like the partnerships between galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM), literacy, new potential branch services, libraries as safe spaces, and economic development.

After the public engagement process, VIRL will be drafting the plan for deployment in spring 2023.

Visit for more information, the survey and meeting dates including virtual meetings for those who cannot attend in-person events.

Marc Kitteringham

About the Author: Marc Kitteringham

I joined Black press in early 2020, writing about the environment, housing, local government and more.
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