Prince Rupert library gets more than $38,000 for COVID relief and recovery

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Prince Rupert Public Library will be seeing improvements after receiving $38,785 as part of a new COVID-19 relief and recovery funding program, announced the Ministry of Municipal Affairs on May 17.

This money is intended to help libraries improve their services and fill gaps created by the pandemic.

The Prince Rupert library will be using the funds to replace older computer technology, buy books and other items for its collections, buy new equipment to improve document services and provide more in-library programming, wrote Joe Zelwietro, chief librarian, in an email May 19.

He said they will also move forward on their Prince Rupert Daily News digital repository project and will increase activities focusing on Truth and Reconciliation.

“The past two years of pandemic has been difficult for library staff and our patrons,” Zelwietro stated. “Our activity had greatly diminished, in-house programming was completely cancelled and one of our staff members died. We are going forward carefully to provide a safe and as welcoming a place as we can.”

Prince Rupert Public Library is one of 71 public libraries, six library federations and three library service partners in B.C. to share the total $8 million in funding.

“The pandemic has shown us all how valuable libraries are in keeping people connected to the services, resources and programs they rely on,” said Jennifer Rice, North Coast MLA.

“With this funding, libraries will be able to enhance those services and continue to be a vibrant place in our community where people can connect and learn.”

This year marks the Prince Rupert Public Library and Wap Liitsx House of Reading’s 100th anniversary. This funding will provide more opportunities for all North Coast residents to learn about Prince Rupert’s past and how to make it better for all of its residents, Zelwietro said.

“The Prince Rupert Public Library, from our board chairperson to all staff, are happy and grateful to the BC government for the recent one-time COVID relief and recovery grant of almost $39,000.”

Kaitlyn Bailey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View

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