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Readers turn pennies into books

NANAIMO – Vancouver Island Regional Library branches are collecting pennies to decrease funding challenges.

Nanaimo author Judy Millar’s first job was in a library and she’s loved books ever since.

So much so, her first collection of short stories – Beaver Bluff: The Librarian Stories – took a cheeky peek at life behind the circulation desk and had readers and librarians laughing out loud.

But when Millar took a look at the funding challenges today’s libraries face, she couldn’t find anything funny.

“Libraries are the heart and soul of any community,” she said. “These days they offer a mind-bending array of products and services, but there’s never enough funding to offer all they would like.”

That’s why Millar was excited when she heard about a Calgary library program that was turning pennies into books.

“I made a few phone calls to Alberta to learn more and then pitched the idea to a number of the Vancouver Island librarians I met during my recent book launches,” she said. “With the penny now out of circulation, they jumped on the idea. Vancouver Island Regional Library designed a great poster, and equipped all of its 38 branches with free penny rollers that anyone can pick up, fill and return.”

Millar said she’s hoping that pennies long squirreled away in forgotten jars and piggy banks will now find their way into VIRL’s coffers to fund purchases of new books for Island readers.