Petition targets lack of books at Nanaimo’s Harbourfront library

NANAIMO – Library users believe fewer titles available to public after Harbourfront branch renovation.

It feels like the collection at Nanaimo Harbourfront Library has been “whittled away,” says former librarian and bookstore owner Thora Howell, who is helping to collect signatures to bring back the books.

The Harbourfront library reopened in October after a seven-month renovation project, estimated at about $900,000.

The library claims it’s still stacked with plans to expand its children’s section, but Howell said all you have to do is go into the branch to see the “incredible absence of material.”

Howell, who previously owned Bastion Bookstore, said she’s a huge supporter of libraries and is a former librarian herself, but she and about 10 to 15 other residents have concerns about the new renovation.

She believes the collection was once at  120,000 items and now sits at 35,000. There are fewer books, said Howell, who adds that as far as she can tell, there was no consultation with library users. A photography section disappeared some time ago and the Pacific Northwest Room has been dissolved, she said.

“That library doesn’t reflect anything of this community, it just doesn’t,” said Howell,  who’s now collecting signatures on the petition.

The Vancouver Island Regional Library saw concerns in an anonymous press release distributed last week and wrote a retort to “correct misstatements” and provide clarity. It says before the refurbishment it had the capacity to hold 120,000 items but actually held 50,000.

Communications officer Natasha Bartlett said there was no major effort to get rid of books but an estimated 5,000 books have been redistributed into the general floating collection, which is available to all library users, not just those browsing the Harbourfront library.

Books could have also been donated to charity as part of a natural weeding-out process.

“I’d be lying if I said no books were discarded between the refurbishment period and when we reopened simply because there’s a natural process all of our branches undertake to get rid of books no longer in good form,” Bartlett said, adding books are still a “large portion” of the library’s expenditure.

The Pacific Northwest Collection is still available in the floating system.

Just Posted

City in holding pattern following this week’s court ruling regarding Discontent City

City of Nanaimo’s legal counsel unsure when ruling will be made

Nanaimo’s VIEX country fair about to begin

Organizers, volunteers set for fair Aug. 17-19 at Beban Park

Former Nanaimo CAO Tracy Samra now working for First Nation in Vancouver

Ex-city manager listed as Musqueam chief administrative officer, according to NEB filing

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Citizens have right to protest tent city however they wish

Here’s a reality check to virtue signallers and social justice warriors, says letter writer

Nanaimo city councillor Bill Yoachim to leave municipal politics

Second-highest vote getter in previous civic election will not seek re-election in October

Kim XO is Black Press Media’s fashionista

Starting Sept. 7, stylist Kim XO will host Fashion Fridays on the Life channel on Black Press Meida

Beefs & Bouquets, Aug. 16

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

Most Read