Quatsino Life: VIRL BBM; Books by Mail
By Susan Mohler, North Island Eagle, February 21 2020
Deliberately choosing to live in a remote boat-access-only community like Quatsino means sacrificing many of the cultural conveniences of urban living; movie theatres, museums, cafe culture, restaurants and especially libraries! The BBM; Books By Mail service offered by the VIRL; Vancouver Island Regional Library system helps make up for those losses. The service when partnered with the wonderful and recently revamped VIRL website found at makes online book browsing a pleasant, relaxing and inspirational learning experience. A virtual afternoon at the library in the comfort of your own home! And not “just books”; DVDs, music CDs, and audiobooks can be borrowed. “Books” actually means adult and children’s fiction and non-fiction content are all available. Once materials are ordered online and they become available in the system they are gathered and mailed from the main Harbourfront Branch of VIRL in Nanaimo, with postage covered by the VIRL. They arrive in a secured package delivered by Canada Post, and the return postage and mailing label are also supplied. Loan periods are a little bit longer, six weeks, to allow about a week each for incoming and outgoing processing. Renewal services are available. Not only does the VIRL online system provide a catalog of all items in all media throughout Vancouver Island’s 39 branches it also allows you to view and search the much larger library catalogue systems within the entire province of British Columbia, making interlibrary loans a possibility as well. The catalogue search function allows you to view images of books, read a comprehensive book summary, check on availability and distribution throughout the island, and even write your own book review. Patrons have access to a very long list of items and the reservation function is not limited, allowing readers the ability to request any number of materials and have their name added to any waiting list for more popular titles .
Photo — Susan Mohler
The BBM; Books By Mail service offered by Vancouver Island Regional Library allows residents in remote areas to access materials.