A quick walk through the Vancouver Island Regional Library in Nanaimo and it’s clear that times have changed.
“As a library, we’re constantly having to be innovative,” said Jason Kuffler, VIRL sales and marketing officer.
DVDs and video games can be signed out just like books and now, the library is swinging into something new.
“It’s something that actually hasn’t been done in this scale in North America, as far as we know,” said Kuffler.
Inspired by the growth of online gaming, the VIRL has partnered with Lazarus Esports to launch the Esports Golf Showdown.
It’s a free, Island-wide, online event where anyone with a VIRL library card and PlayStation 4 or 5 can enter to play and win thousands in prize money.
The game is PGA Tour 2K21 and if users don’t have the game, the library will provide people with a limited number of copies.
Dean Cooper, an 86 year-old Nanaimo resident has already signed up.
“This is the first game I’ve ever played,” said Cooper, an avid golfer. “The thing I like about this is you can play with anybody you know, I can play with my grandkids!”
Kali Guild, 8, is also among the competitors.
“This game is really fun,” said Guild. “I like how it’s creative and you get to choose the way of your shot.”
It’s a COVID-Safe event that organizers hope will help increase teenage participation in libraries across Vancouver Island.
It’s also a way to help connect individuals and build community while keeping a safe physical distance.
“A teen in Haida Gwaii, where we have four libraries, can compete against someone in Port Renfrew where our furthest south branch is,” said Kuffler. “So it really kind of brings our rural branches and our entire system together in that way.”
Qualifying rounds are currently taking place with the final foursome set to tee off May 2nd.
There is $5,000 in total prizes with first place taking home a guaranteed $2,500. Anyone with a VIRL library card can join. Residents in the Greater Victoria area are exempt. For more information on how to enter, click here.