To connect people to the world of information and ideas.
To be an innovative organization that is recognized as a vital community destination and resource for literacy, recreation, informed decision-making, and social interaction.
We value development that invests in the enjoyment, lifelong learning, literacy, and the vibrant health of communities.
We value open access to library services and materials that remove barriers associated with:
- Physical Disadvantage
We value and celebrate diversity as integral to an inclusive, vibrant community.
We value our responsive, courteous, and friendly staff as the foundation of FVRL's service and success.
We seek collaboration and partnerships to maximize our potential to serve our customers and communities.
We value innovation as it gives us freedom to grow and take risks to find creative solutions and better serve our public in a fiscally responsible manner.
Established in 1930, FVRL was the first of its kind in North America. Today it is the largest public library system in British Columbia, with 25 community libraries serving 700,000 people in its service area.
The idea of bringing the library to the rural population in BC began with a 1927 survey conducted by the Provincial Public Library Commission. The survey's key finding was that large administrative library districts based on cooperation and resource sharing between municipalities and school districts should be created to serve rural communities who could not afford to provide library service on their own.
Based on this recommendation the Commission sought funding to carry out a trial project. The Carnegie Corporation of New York awarded a grant of $100,000 to establish and maintain a rural library project for five years. The Library's first director Dr. Helen Gordon Stewart went about organizing the district, selecting books, hiring staff, and purchasing a truck suitable for use as a book van.
The Fraser Valley Book Van project covered an area of approximately 2,600 square kilometres, contained 24 separate governing bodies, and operated in conjunction with libraries located in the valley's larger towns. The Book Van made its first public appearance in July of 1930 visiting rural residents from Hope to Ladner and stopping at grocery stores, schoolhouses and gas stations with books displayed along its outside shelves.
After the Carnegie funds were exhausted, residents were asked to vote whether they wished to support continued library services through local taxes. Twenty of the original 24 areas voted "yes". The Carnegie rural library project resources were turned over to the new Library Board of Management on September 28, 1934, during a ceremony held in Chilliwack. Today funding for FVRL still comes from taxes raised in the communities it serves along with a Government of BC operating grant.