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Richmond Public Library Richmond Public Library
1995 Annual Report

L-R Back Row John Van Buekenhout, Jim Chu (Vice-Chair), John Collison (Chair), Colleen Chambers, Perry Mazzone, Valentina Wojna
L-R Front Row Sharon Birch, Councillor Corisande Percival-Smith, Betty Hayer
Message from the Chair, John Collison

Message from the Chief Librarian, Greg Buss

Community Outreach in 1995

Highlights of 1995

Statement of Revenue and Expenditures


John Collison, Library Board Chair

Message from the Chair, John Collison

1995 was a productive and exciting year and great strides were made in the areas of the Internet and other technological services, English and Chinese language book collections and outreach to the community.

Our patrons are using the Library like never before. Well over one million visits were made to the Library during the year and people checked out over 1.7 million items. City Council generously provided additional funding to the Library's budget for books, videos and audio cassettes to help keep up with this growing community demand.

The Chinese language book collection was expanded to all branches and grew to over 11,000 volumes. The increase in the size of the collection was in large part due to the generosity of the community. While the growth in the size of the Chinese language collection is impressive, even more significant is the enormous growth in its popularity. Adult Chinese language books were checked out 120,096 times which is an increase of 125% over 1995. In December, the Library was pleased to hire a multilingual services librarian who will continue to improve the Chinese and other multilingual collections. This is an important step in keeping pace with the changing needs of our growing community.

The Friends of the Library continued to make great contributions to the Library. Tireless efforts throughout the year resulted in two successful Book Sales which netted $15,000 and enabled the Library to purchase special display cabinets. The Friends also generously donated $25,000 to the Library's endowment fund in the Vancouver Foundation.

The Library Board and staff finalized a strategic planning process in late 1995. Our strategic plan, "Richmond Public Library 2001", will serve as a compass for continued development of the Library as we look ahead to the next century. Building relationships with others in the community, providing excellent customer service and programs, thinking creatively and listening to what people have to say will continue to be important priorities for Richmond's public library.

I would like to thank City Council for their ongoing support which enables the Board and staff to provide excellent service to the community.


Greg Buss, Chief Librarian

Message from the Chief Librarian Greg Buss

Richmond Library users made great use of our staff resources by asking over 206,000 research and reference questions. In addition, over 30,000 residents attended a variety of programs such as: storytime for babies; study skills for teens; author readings for adults; and Internet classes for seniors. Our first fee-for-service Advanced Internet Training Course was also offered. By charging a fee for this hands-on course, the Library was able to offer an advanced session that would be beyond the normal programming scope. These courses will be refined and expanded in 1996.

A variety of programs, orientations and tours were established which serve to fulfill the Learning Resource Centre's role of bringing "people and technology together". Centre hours were increased and additional software and new equipment was added including: six new PowerMacs with CD-ROM drives; four new Pentium Windows stations; and a TV/VCR generously donated by Rogers Cablesystems. The Centre remains unique in the lower mainland, offering as the cornerstone of its service, free access to computers, software and multimedia products.

Providing public access to the Internet was a priority in 1995. Additional free-use Internet stations were provided and a high speed T1 line was added to provide extremely good response time. These free-use Internet stations were available at the Brighouse (Main) Branch for a total of 228 hours per week and were continuously booked. Another significant development was the introduction of Richmond Public Library's Web Site ( Much more than a traditional library Web Site, it is a centre for community information and interaction.

The Web Site contains seven distinct sections: Community Resources, Resident Writers, Web Info, Teen Scene, Asia Pacific Connection, What's New, and Richmond Punlic Library. Unique and relevant information about the community is available on the Library's Web Site including: the Internet Edition of the Richmond Review; Chamber of Commerce information; writings by resident writers (complete with audio); teen information posted by teens for teens; evaluative links to Internet resources all over the world; direct links to sites throughout the Asia Pacific region (with text in both English and Chinese); and information about innovations at the Library.

The introduction of Richmond Public Library's Web Site is particularly significant in that it firmly establishes the Library in its expanded role of creator and publisher of information.

1995 was a year for advancement in both book collections and new technologies. As we move towards the 21st century more and more material is being published only in digital format, and the Library is aiming to ensure access to information in all formats while preserving the distinct pleasure of books and reading.


Laughter and Storytime
go together at the Library

Community Outreach in 1995

To increase public awareness of the importance of literacy, the Born To Read project was initiated with Project Literacy Richmond, the Richmond Health Department, Laubach Literacy of Canada and Canada Post Heritage Club. Packages of material for new parents and board books for babies were distributed to over 1,800 new families.

A number of well-known writers such as Evelyn Lau, Bill Richardson, L.R. Wright and Spider Robinson gave readings that attracted crowds of all ages. Other literary programs included: Writing and Illustrating Children's Books; Holiday Storytelling; Antiquarian Book Evaluation; Chinese language storytelling; Dramatic presentations of poetry in Spanish; and Performers for Literacy who gave presentations funded by the Family Channel.

Library service to 78 homebound residents was provided and central deliveries at Courtyard Gardens, Fraserview Intermediate Care Unit and the Ukrainian Society were initiated. The Taped Books service helped 130 visually impaired people enjoy the pleasures of reading in an alternative format. While the number of individuals who utilize these services is relatively small the impact is tremendous.

Six sessions on Financial Strategies for Retirement were sponsored with Vetter Financial Services and resulting revenue was used to improve the business and financial management collections. In addition, a fee-based course on speed reading was sponsored with Terry Small. The Library also enhanced a number of other partnerships with community organizations such as: The Richmond Chamber of Commerce, the Richmond Review, and S.U.C.C.E.S.S.

A record 3,346 Richmond children signed up for the Summer Reading Club ­ a 44% increase over 1995. Over 75 public, private and pre-school classes visited the Library for tours, book talks and storytimes. And Internet workshops were provided for Richmond teachers on professional development days. In total, 15,000 youth attended 295 programs and 29,000 reference questions were answered for youth. The Library's Teen Council planned programs and helped create the Teen Scene section of the Web Site.

Hundreds of teens submitted poems and stories to the Young Adult Writing Contest and local corporations and community groups provided cash prizes. Canada Post's sponsorship enabled the Library to send a copy of the book of winning entries to large public libraries throughout Canada and the United States. The awards ceremony was seen throughout the lower mainland thanks to Rogers Cable, and the winning entries were published worldwide on the Internet.


Highlights of 1995

  • Library launches its Web Site (

  • The multimedia Learning Resource Centre introduces orientation sessions designed to "bring people and technology together"

  • Free Internet workshops draw 1,246 participants of all ages

  • Mayor Greg Halsey-Brandt endorses Freedom to Read Week

  • Consulate General of the Philippines donates books to the Library

  • Canada Post Heritage Club sponsors two major Library programs ­ "Born to Read" and the 5th Annual Young Adult Writing Contest

  • Mr. Kwok-Chu Lee donates 1,800 books to the Library

  • Library wins National Achievement Citation from the American Library Association

  • 230 job seekers attend resume and job search workshops

  • Friends of the Richmond Public Library make a $25,000 contribution to Library's endowment fund in the Vancouver Foundation

  • Rogers Cablesystems and A & E donate a TV, VCR, closed-captioned decoder, books and videos to the Library

  • Dr. Gaylord K.L. Leung donates 464 Chinese language books to the Library

  • Library staff demonstrate leadership by giving papers and hosting workshops at provincial and national conferences

  • 3,346 local children enjoy the 1995 Summer Reading Club


Richmond Public Library Board: Statement of Revenue and Expenditures

Revenue ($)
Municipal contribution 3,938,896
Grants* 271,560
Fines and miscellaneous 218,347
Total 4,428,803

Expenditures ($)
Automation 91,088
Books and Periodicals 739,751
Buildings, leases and maintenance 43,000
Utilities 128,392
Minor capital purchases 33,982
Resource sharing services 99,759
Salaries and employee benefits 2,938,272
Supplies and equipment services 177,733
General and administration 200,563
Total 4,452,540

Excess (deficiency) of revenue
over expenditure
Surplus, beginning of year 145,718
Surplus, end of year 121,981

*The Richmond Public Library Board wishes to acknowledge the Library Services Branch, Ministry of Municipal Affairs for its generous support.



Books, videos and cassettes borrowed 1,712,897
Questions answered 205,999
Members 106,129
Attendance at storytime, Summer Reading Club, and other programs 30,094
Visits to Main and Steveston Branches 1,085,636