Fort St. John Public Library to receive pandemic relief grant

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Public Library is receiving $40,781.71 in funding through the province’s pandemic relief fund and emergency preparedness grant.

The pandemic relief fund is to help libraries recover from the pandemic that stopped public library operations in 2020.

Matthew Rankin, director of library services at the Fort St. John Public Library, says the use of the funds will be discussed at the AGM and a regular meeting happening on the evening of May 18th.

So far, he was able to purchase public computer equipment through the just under $2,500 BC Hydro GO grant they received recently. Additional funds they have received have also started going towards upgrading these computers.

“I’ve purchased some new monitors and some new network boxes that have needed to be replaced for a couple of years now. So right now, I’m just updating our public technology for accessibility.”

Rankin says that the library is starting to get busier too.

“We’re starting to see a lot more foot traffic compared to last year and compared to 2020. We were closed for a couple of months,” Rankin says.

“We’re starting to see people more engaged — coming in using the computers, taking out books, coming to our in-person programs.”

He mentions that their CLICK program, designed to teach residents how to use computers, is still going strong as well.

“Tanya Boyd, our lead library assistant, she runs that from Tuesday to Thursday, and it’s drop-in and appointment based. Typically in the afternoon.”

Rankin also added that they received a 3D printer that was purchased last year and opened to the public in March. Residents can find designs online or design their own project, and for ten cents a gram, it could be printed.

“Obviously, there’s limitations to that, stuff that’s appropriate and nothing that’s a weapon.”

A request can be sent to Rankin’s email, [email protected], and the requester will be notified if it can be done, how long it will take, and how much it will cost.

The director added that more programs are starting, such as ‘baby time’ and children’s storytimes on Wednesdays at 10 a.m., run by Laurie, the new programmer.

Recently, they also conducted a Ukrainian egg program that went well.

“It was full. We got a lot of positive reception from it,” Rankin said.

In July, Rankin mentioned that they are starting their Summer Reading Program and that they are in the process of interviewing for their summer student to help with more in-person programming.

“We’re slowly but surely moving back to normal. There’ll still be some precautions in place. But it will be more normal than it was even last year, but last year was amazing.”

Finally, he mentioned a book sale going on at the North Peace Cultural Centre.

“It’s not specifically us, but the friends of the library are doing a giant book sale on the 28th.”

For more information about the library and upcoming events, visit their website.

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