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Created in the 1930s, the Fraser Valley Regional Library (FVRL) was the first library system of its kind in North America. Its mission was to bring books to poor rural communities in British Columbia. Back then, it was a library on wheels—a van that traveled from town to town, covering over 1 000 square miles (2 600 km2).
Today, content flows from a central data center over a network that stretches more than 23 000 square miles (6 000 km2), reaching 25 libraries and an estimated 700 000 people. FVRL’s international reputation is based not only on its innovative programs, but the way it efficiently and cost-effectively delivers so many programs and services online to far-flung communities.
“We get a lot of inquiries from our IT colleagues, especially those in non- profit, who are interested in increasing service levels while reducing costs and operational overhead,” says Brad Fenrick, manager of Information Technology. “When people think of such a high volume of traffic delivered to so many locations and users, they assume we have the budget and staff of a large private enterprise. But we’re a small IT department operating on a modest budget.”