Staff at the Vancouver Public Library were “honoured” this week, after personally receiving another guitar to add to their lending library.
But it wasn’t so much the guitar itself, but rather the person behind the donation.
The instrument came from Vancouver-based, multi-platinum singer and 2017 Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee, Sarah McLachlan.
During the event, McLachlan “shared a touching story about music’s ability to transform and how important it is to create greater access to programs such as this,” VPL’s chief librarian Sandra Singh told Daily Hive.
McLachlan’s donation is part of a nationwide expansion of musical instrument-lending programs across the country, in partnership with Sun Life Financial.
The Sun Life Financial Musical Instrument Lending Library was first launched in Toronto in April of last year, and was later expanded to the Vancouver and Montreal.
This year, it’s being expanded again, as part of Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations.
“Music is an important part of Canadian culture and heritage, which is why we’re thrilled to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday by making music more accessible to individuals and their families,” said Sun Life Financial president, Kevin Dougherty.
And in Vancouver, the musical libraray lending program is “thriving,” Singh said.
“The community response has been incredible,” she added. “People of all ages… are borrowing these instruments, and… we’re able to connect more people to the love of music.”
Singh added that the VPL is thrilled to be part of the program, “and excited to be part of supporting Vancouver’s creativity, culture and artistic expression.”
For those looking to check out an instrument – including the 50 additional ones available courtesy of Sun Life – the process is pretty straightforward.
“All you need is your VPL library card,” Singh said. “You can borrow an instrument for three weeks and if no one has requested that instrument, you can renew it up to two times.”
Patrons can also place an instrument on hold, “just like you would a book, movie, or CD,” she added.
Noting that the VPL was grateful for the expanded support from Sun Life, Singh said it’s inspiring to hear the the stories of how much people have enjoyed borrowing an instrument.
She added that users also have the option to borrow instruments and record themselves right onsite at the VPL.
“Who knows?” Singh quipped. “Maybe Vancouver’s next big music star will get their start here.”