A Place Set Apart

The traditional definition of a library is “a place set apart to contain books, periodicals, and other material for reading, viewing, listening, study, or reference, as a room, set of rooms, or building where books may be read or borrowed.”

I’m writing this sitting in our local public library. I just met with my volunteer youth members–a group of uber-achieving 15 and 16 year olds. I have a board meeting later in the afternoon so I thought I would hang out in the library before grabbing a sushi lunch. The Salt Spring Public Library is a very beautiful and functional building, only a few years old. It is what a library should be in my opinion: a meeting place for all members of the community, young, old, and everything in between, a receptacle of books, magazines, and DVDs to expand knowledge, a quiet place to read or write…This library has many, many windows so it is light and airy and very welcoming. It also has lots of places to sit and read or work and is filled with artwork from various local artists. The library hosts numerous author readings, art exhibits, youth writing workshops, and book clubs. In many ways, it has become our community hub.

An Ontario Ministry of Tourism report states that the library of the future will have “a strong role in literacy and learning, innovation, community, and prosperity. The public library of 2020 will respond to a new social, technological, and economic environment while keeping its enduring values. It will use new tools and partnerships in its traditional roles as part of a lifelong learning system and as an engine of cultural and economic development. It will remain an agent and sign of community and social cohesion.” The Salt Spring Island Public Library is already there.