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One of the most valuable things I own is a Vancouver Public Library card. It gives you access not only to books, but to media of all kind, archives, easy book retrieval, and librarians that are very helpful when you are researching. My friends in Metro Vancouver are envious of my access. One friend writing a book went to her Fraser Valley library with a list of books that were only available at the Vancouver Library. She gave the list to the librarian. That librarian  told her it would take two to three months for the books to arrive from the Vancouver Library. Why? Well,  said the Fraser Valley  librarian cheerily, it was just the way it is, and the requests were processed twice a month. That story made me even more grateful for the Vancouver Library.

A library, how it looks, how it works, and what is in it is on my shortlist of what makes a really great place and city. I really like the Openbare Bibliotheek located on Amsterdam’s waterfront, with its music and film studios where you can listen and record. I also like Seattle’s Central Public Library  which was designed in partnership with Rem Koolhaus. And I really find the Vancouver Library downtown  a great place to mingle outside, peruse books, and learn. I am also looking forward to the opening of the rooftop garden which is being designed by the building’s architect, Moshe Safdie.

Innovative place that it is, it is no surprise that the Vancouver library has launched a  free instrument lending program in partnership with Sun Life Financial. Using instruments gleaned from defunct public school programs that have been refurbished by local music store Long and McQuade, there is now no reason for anyone not to have an instrument to learn on.

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The Vancouver Courier has also picked up this story, and reminds citizens that the library  is happy to receive any donated instruments from members of the public.

As Sandra Singh, head librarian stated in a Vancouver Sun article “Libraries are about knowledge, information and cultural exchange in many formats…(Libraries) have always been a catalyst for creative innovation”.  Music is included in that innovation. What a great way to have access and to learn an instrument. Such access speaks volumes of a city’s culture and reach, providing musical opportunities to anyone with a library card.