Vancouver Public Library named world's best city library

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      The Vancouver Public Library has been named one of the world’s top public libraries. Scholars from Germany’s Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf surveyed libraries in 31 cities around the world and tied the VPL and Bibliothèques Montréal for No. 1.

      “Vancouver is a world-class city and we’re extremely pleased and humbled to be recognized as a top world-class library,” Sandra Singh, VPL’s chief librarian, stated in a news release today (December 18). “It’s gratifying to be in such esteemed library company, and we’re excited to be playing a part in highlighting Vancouver on the world map through our work supporting an informed, engaged, and connected city.”

      Libraries were judged on their services, physical spaces, and online resources, as well as how they supported their cities.

      Other public libraries recognized on the list, which has been published in LIBRI: International Journal of Libraries and Information Services, include those in Toronto, Chicago, San Francisco, and Shanghai. 



      Anne Jerome

      Dec 18, 2013 at 8:19pm

      Lucky for all us Lower Mainlanders!
      Thanks to all the VPL employees and volunteers for helping this library to be one of the world's 'Greats'.

      Juan Carlos

      Dec 18, 2013 at 8:43pm

      This must come from the same people who labelled Vancouver beaches among the top 10 in the world.

      Frederic da Silva

      Dec 18, 2013 at 10:26pm

      Is this some kind of joke? Did the Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf speak to a single employee, or did they just look at pictures on the internet?

      The management of the Vancouver Public Library has done nothing but cut services and undermine the basic rights of the very workers who strive so hard to provide the best service to the public, all the while greedily accepting large raises for themselves. As a matter of public record, Chief Librarian Sandra Singh is paid $171,582 annually while city Mayor Gregor Robertson receives $143,723. Is it not outrageous that Ms. Singh makes $27,859 PER YEAR more than the MAYOR?

      But if you ask the library board why the books are so shoddily bound, or why there are not staffers to help find things, all you'll hear is the same song and dance about budget cuts and blah, blah, blah.

      If there is a more undeserving candidate for "top public library", I would be amazed.


      Dec 18, 2013 at 11:08pm

      I can't say whether the staff are the best, probably pretty good. Obviously the amazing architecture of the downtown library helped.


      Dec 19, 2013 at 12:05am

      I love books and enjoy the library. I also think Richmond's public library is pretty good considering the size of the city.
      Just wish we could have four weeks with a book instead of three in Vancouver.


      Dec 19, 2013 at 8:26am

      I'm afraid that Mr. da Silva is generally correct. Libraries in North America are infected by a culture of populism. Like education and healthcare, (and Canada Post) the "customer-service model" has become a kind of ironic byword for anti-intellectualism and upward redistribution of income.

      The old imperative of public institutions--libraries, art galleries, universities--to EDUCATE (not entertain) has been flushed down the toilet.

      Alan Layton

      Dec 19, 2013 at 8:35am

      Lol. Regardless of what it is, whenever something in Vancouver is praised it brings out all of the most miserable people in the city to whine and complain. This isn't about what 'awful' thing happened to you when you didn't get service immediately and it's not about what library workers get paid. Being rated first with Montreal is something to be proud of. The main library downtown is still one of the nicest buildings in the city and the interior is also very bright, warm, efficient and welcoming. In this day and age when people are too lazy to put down their phones, get up off their fat butts and go outside, it's refreshing to walk in to the library and seeing the large numbers of people from all walks of life enjoying themselves. Kudos to the VPL and Sandra Singh is worth every penny that she gets paid.


      Dec 19, 2013 at 8:55am

      Did they even visit? Last time I was there I was SHOCKED at how most of the "clientele" were straight up homeless people complete with garbage stank and bags of shit taking naps at all the tables with no staffers in sight anywhere to help me find anything. Having grown up in this city and remembering when the library opened and how magical it used to seem, it was really jarring to find it in a state of disrepair like that and filled with literally dozens of street people


      Dec 19, 2013 at 10:04am

      It's a crock really. As a heavy library user since 1986, I've seen nothing but a decline. For one thing, there are fewer and fewer books and more empty shelves.

      There are more and more graphic novels though, for the attention-span impaired.

      I don't know what happened to the French DVD section, it was halved, and now the shelves are nearly empty.

      If you look at films from abroad in other languages it is hard to find anything watchalbe.

      If you look for German language films, whoever selects those seems to to be single minded and prejudiced and only pick movies about Nazis and homosexuals. You'd think WWII was still on, never mind the thoughtful, interesting, passionate, artistic and funny films that have come out of German since 1950.

      Nice chairs though. Glad to see my municipal tax money is going somewhere.

      Alan Layton

      Dec 19, 2013 at 10:18am

      To all of the whiners about a decline in service, did it ever occur to you that all libraries are in decline?