News 1130/CityNews: Largest ever private donation to improve kids services at the VPL
BY SEAN HOLDEN
Posted Oct 29, 2018 3:56 pm PDT Last Updated Oct 29, 2018 at 4:13 pm PDT
VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The Vancouver Public Library (VPL) is receiving $5 million to improve its facilities for kids, which includes services for children with developmental disabilities and autism.
It’s the largest private donation to a public library in Canadian history.
The money comes from The Dilawri Foundation, and one of its founders, Ajay Dilawri, stood alongside Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson to make the announcement.
“What could be more important than providing children and their families a beautiful space that bolsters literacy and numeracy?” Dilawri says, “That is why we are so proud to donate to this amazing cause.”
The VPL Centre says there has been a surge in children coming to the library and they’ve been operating at peak capacity. Christina de Castell, chief librarian, says almost 30,000 children under 10 years old borrowed from the library last year.
“In 2017, one-third of our borrowers were children up to the age of 12, and it’s our youngest patrons, aged one to nine, that borrow the most per capita,” she says.
Kids from ages five to nine averaged 70 check-outs per child during the whole of last year.
Children have been attending more library programs, too. Since the Library opened in 1995, program attendance has increased over 200 percent, and in 2017 there were 1,100 individual programs.
The donation will transform 3,000 square feet of library property into new program spaces, services and resources. De Castella says her vision for the library will include sensory spaces for children who fall under the autism spectrum, early education spaces, English second language programs, resources for parents and more area for kids to play and learn.
Construction is set for 2020.
Photo Credit: News 1130/CityNews