'Friends' building on library branch success
Coquitlam's public library will have a lot of firsts this year.
The new $15-million City Centre branch that opened last November on Pinetree Way has seen its circulation more than double since January 2012.
Branch staff have also fielded twice as many questions from the public while the branch's rates for new members and children's program attendance have tripled over the past year.
Now, the Friends of the Coquitlam Public Library Society wants to build on that success with fundraisers to buy learning materials and equipment as well as offer more community programs and sponsor author readings at the new branch.
Next week, the Friends will be accepting book donations for its first-ever book sale, which will happen on May 4.
Running from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 16 in the library parking lot above the library, the book drive gives Tri-City residents a chance to thin out their book collections as they make room for new tomes or to downsize for smaller living spaces.
"Many people are spring cleaning right now," Friends president Jamie McCarthy said, "so we think this is the ideal time of year to hold something like this."
New or gently used items that will be accepted include:
• fiction and non-fiction books;
• collectable and hobby books;
• coffee table books;
• ESL materials;
• children's and young adult books;
• CDs, DVDs and even vinyl records;
• and audio books.
(Donations that will be turned away include: Reader's Digest condensed books, National Geographic magazines, encyclopedias, VHS and cassette tapes, textbooks and books that have missing pages or broken spines.)
McCarthy said her society was inspired by fellow "Friends" groups at Vancouver and Richmond public libraries with their book drive/sales and Coquitlam Friends are hoping to stage a sale annually as well.
At three times larger than the old branch, the new City Centre facility has the space to allow staff and the Friends hold bigger events, said McCarthy, a library and archival studies graduate student at UBC.
As a result, the 10th annual quiz night will be held at the City Centre branch — another first for the library. In the past, the popular competition at the Poirier branch has been the biggest fundraiser for the Friends, with last year bringing in $4,000. This year, the Friends want to top that amount by selling 150 tickets to the April 5 event, which will be emceed by New Westminster-Coquitlam MP Fin Donnelly.
Limited space at Poirier meant only about 130 tickets could be sold for previous quiz nights.
"We have so much more room now to be able to do things like this," McCarthy said. "We are hoping the additional money will add more programs, which in turn will bring a lot more visitors in."
• For more information on the book drive on March 16, call 604-762-7385 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For tickets ($25) to the 10th annual quiz night, which includes coffee, dessert and a chance to win door prizes, call 604-937-4130.