Library cards for Kelowna residents with no fixed address

A card that may not hold much significance to many Kelowna residents, is opening up a whole new world to others.

A card that may not hold much significance to many Kelowna residents, is opening up a whole new world to others.

The Okanagan Regional Library launched a pilot program last week, allowing people without a fixed address to carry a library card.

“We have a volunteer who cooks breakfast (at the Gospel Mission) and works at the library, and I think he came up with the idea,” said Sonja Menyes, the mission’s Manager of Volunteers and Development Officer.

“He sees our people at the library, and knows they can go in there and read a book, but they can’t check it out because, without an address, they can’t get a card.”

Realizing that these regulars may want to have the ability to read after hours, Menyes said the library moved toward making an allowances for residents without a fixed residence.

“When a person has lost everything to them and they’re homeless, a little thing like a library card can be joy and liberty,” said Menyes. “They have downtime and reading a book is a good, positive escape … and anytime we can give someone dignity and a positive pastime it’s a good thing.”

Coun. Tracy Gray told council Monday that there were 14 cards given out to marginalized residents, both at the mission and beyond.

“Part of its importance is giving these marginalized groups the ability to simply be card-carrying members of a community service,” said Gray, who represents council on the  Okanagan Regional Library Board.