Yordonos Tizazu, 3, and Caitlin Ottenbreit, children’s librarian, do a trial run with some of Vancouver Island Regional Library’s new STEAM Tinker Totes at VIRL’s Harbourfront branch earlier this month. The totes can now be checked out from any VIRL branch to get children learning at home about science, technology, engineering, art or mathematics. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

Yordonos Tizazu, 3, and Caitlin Ottenbreit, children’s librarian, do a trial run with some of Vancouver Island Regional Library’s new STEAM Tinker Totes at VIRL’s Harbourfront branch earlier this month. The totes can now be checked out from any VIRL branch to get children learning at home about science, technology, engineering, art or mathematics. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

Toys are teaching tools at Vancouver Island libraries

Families can take home sci-tech fundamentals learning with STEAM kits loaned from VIRL branches

Children can now have fun learning about science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics at home with Vancouver Island Regional Library’s STEAM Tinker Totes.

The library launched the program in mid February, in time for the Family Day long weekend.

Five Tinker Tote kits are available to borrow and take home for anyone with a VIRL library card.

“Those are going to be part of our floating collection, so they’ll be available to people in Nanaimo and everywhere else in our service area,” said David Carson, VIRL director of corporate communications and strategic initiatives.

According to VIRL, five kits available including Sensory Playtime, which helps children explore and learn through sound. Code-a-Pillar teaches children coding and computational thinking. KEVA Connect Planks provide the foundation for imaginative building. Handbells introduces children to music and composition and Magna Tiles are perfect for aspiring young builders.

Tinker Totes can be checked out from any VIRL branch for three weeks and can be reserved by searching the VIRL catalogue and, as with other children’s materials, there are no late fees for the totes.

To learn more, visit the VIRL website at http://virl.bc.ca/.

Library eliminates children’s fines

If you’ve been avoiding the public library because your kids have racked up fines for their overdue books, fear no more. At the Vancouver Island Regional Library board’s final meeting of 2018, a unanimous vote eliminated children’s fines.

“This simple solution is a wonderful response to a demonstrated community need,” said VIRL’s executive director, Rosemary Bonanno. “By eliminating children’s fines, we are helping to ensure that library services are available to some of our customers who need them most. After all, children should not be faulted or punished for overdue library items – instead, they should have barriers to access removed so they can grow and learn without limitations.”

As of Jan. 1 all fines on children’s materials have been eliminated and all outstanding fines have been waived. The fines “do not represent a significant portion of VIRL’s revenue” and won’t have a meaningful impact on the company’s finances or service delivery, according to the library system.

-files from Black Press