The Maple Ridge library is getting a new microfilm reader. (Wiki Commons)

Good Reads: Celebrating heritage at Maple Ridge library

Preserving heritage and local history is an important part of the work of museums and libraries across British Columbia.

At the Maple Ridge Public Library, we celebrate our local past in many ways, but especially in during Heritage Week, Feb. 18-24.

This year, we have an extra reason to celebrate. Faced with the unavoidable demise of an aging microfilm reader and the prospect of losing access to an important part of our collection, the library, with the support of the Maple Ridge Community Heritage Commission, installed new microfilm equipment at the end of 2018.

To many, microfilm may seem like an outdated technology, but as those who work and play in the realm of heritage, local history and family history know, the ability to read microfilm is still crucial. While more recent digitized editions of our local paper are available through e-editions on the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News website or via the library subscription database Canadian Newsstream, for example, the library’s collection includes microfilm editions of local papers dating back to 1922 that do not exist in digital format.

Beyond access to this and other local resources, the new reader connects the community to films from other libraries, archives and government institutions who make their collections available through inter-library lending services, and at the same time, newer technology expands the definition of access. Films can be searched using optical character recognition, and files (up to entire rolls of film) can be scanned and saved digitally in minutes.

We will officially unveil the new microfilm reader at another upcoming program, this time uniting the themes of heritage and books in My Very Own Book: Recalling Favourite Childhood Reading, on Saturday, Feb 23, 2-4 p.m.

Brian Murdoch, owner of Murdoch’s Bookshoppe, and an antiquarian book dealer, leads an exploration of the impact of those treasured childhood storybooks that have become the foundation of a life-long love affair with reading. This event will be co-hosted with the Maple Ridge Community Heritage Commission in celebration of Heritage Week and Freedom to Read Week.

If talk of heritage research has whetted your appetite for more local history, come to the next session of Local Voices on Monday, Feb. 4, 7-8:30 p.m. at Maple Ridge Public Library. In keeping with the Heritage Week theme, Local Voices will host three speakers focusing on local history topics: Maple Ridge Coun. Kiersten Duncan; Shea Henry, Maple Ridge Museum and Archives; and Chris Hay, Maple Ridge Family History Group.

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