The purpose of this policy is to ensure facilities meet the mission of the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) Board by maintaining and further developing an integrated network of service points, underpinned by designated resource hub libraries offering and supporting the delivery of in-depth information and readers’ advisory services system-wide. Together, these approaches are designed to be responsive to the needs and expectations of VIRL customers. Facilities are designed to best meet the community needs. Ideally, library facilities are flexible, functional, attractive and adaptable.

Development of a Permanent Service Delivery Location

It is the responsibility of the associated political jurisdiction to make a request in writing to the Board to consider the development of a permanent service delivery location. A population threshold of 4,600 is expected to be met in 20 years’ time in order for a branch to be considered by the Board. If the Board approves the request, it is the associated political jurisdiction’s responsibility to conduct a public consultation process.

Service Delivery Models

To maximize efficiencies and effectiveness VIRL offers a multi-tiered service delivery model. Requests for contracting services from VIRL will be between the political jurisdiction and the Board of Vancouver Island Regional Library. Discussions will be undertaken with individual or local interest groups.


Books-by-Mail is an individualized service offered to communities of less than 799 people. All requests are handled at the nearest resource hub. The associated political jurisdiction can make a request in writing to the Board to consider the development of a permanent delivery location. A population threshold of 4,600 is expected to be met in 20 years' time in order for a branch to be considered by the Board.


It is the vision of Vancouver Island Regional Library to become a provincial leader in the integration of technology into library services. Electronic resources and technological access to information and services will not result in the demise of the library as a destination. Rather, technology will be expanded and used to enhance customer access place of work, or other locations within the community to library services, whether from within library branches or from home.  Using new tools customers and staff will access information resources more effectively and communicate in new and innovative ways. Services offered electronically will be tailored to the individual needs of customers, recognizing the diversity of the community, social and economic barriers faced by all its members.

Core Library

The Core Library is located in a concentrated area of expressed need. The physical size of the Core Library is a target of 2,750 square feet, serving a population up to and including 4,600. The service is valued as a focal point of the community identity, a community meeting place and a destination for all. It may be co-located. It provides convenient access to the resources of the entire library system. Core children’s services (including programming) and services to targeted groups such as teens or seniors may be stressed. The collection may contain up to 15,000 popular items. Electronic information resources provide access to a broad range of reference and support materials. Access to the Internet will be provided in relation to the population served.

Community Library

The Community Library is a local community focal point and is a gathering place and an intentional destination. It may be co-located. The Community Library is up to 18,000 square feet. The building should support the growth of the community for 20 years. These libraries focus their services on recreational and informational needs, providing access to a full range of print and non-print items. Their collections, based upon demand, support browsing and general information. The base core collection is further developed to support a broader range and scope of information. The Community Library delivers information and reader’s advisory services, programming for all targeted groups, outreach, reading lounge, designated study space and multipurpose meeting space are all part of their mandate. Access to the Internet will be provided in relation to the population served.

Resource (Hub) Library

The Resource (Hub) Library underpins the delivery of information and readers’ advisory services throughout the Board’s service area. Further to that it provides community needs to the local area. It may be co-located.

The Resource Library exceeds 18,000 square feet based on population. The building should support the growth of the community for 20 years. Its extensive collections serve the recreational and informational needs through a mix of circulation and electronic materials. Local or special collections may also be developed and housed in hub libraries. The resource hub library has an important role in supporting the print and non-print infrastructure of the library system through the development and provision of specialized in-depth collections and staff expertise. It provides the full range of services for children and adults, programming, outreach, distribution centre for the hub, and multipurpose meeting space are all part of its mandate.

Standards: Size and Site

Standards may be defined as a degree or level of requirement, excellence or attainment that serve as a point of reference. They are a framework for planning and achieving best practices and excellence in the management and provision of library service. At the same time, standards provide a baseline measure for the development of facilities.

VIRL will:

  • Establish and maintain libraries according to the service delivery model.
  • Locate facilities as best possible utilizing site selection criteria.
  • Use a recognized source (PCensus or Stats Canada) to access population and demographic information on which to base needs for new or expanded facilities.
  • Implement a minimum target size of 2,750 sq ft or 0.6 sq ft per capita.
  • Recognize the difference between urban and rural delivery by:
    • Grandfathering existing sites in their present geographic location until such time as population increases warrant replacement, and that grandfathered branches be maintained with a focus on WCB and health & safety issues subject to funding provided by the additional maintenance levy above, and that priority maintenance be given to the rural branches as identified in the CFMP report.
    • Base rural priorities on a weighted basis (10% population 30% date of most recent move/work, 30% compliance with minimum requirements, 30% physical condition) as outlined in this report.
    • Consider one or more rural branches and one urban branch per year be considered by the Board for expansion or replacement when requested by the local jurisdiction.
  • An additional levy of 1.25% per year for facilities over a 10 year period, and an additional levy of 1% per year for maintenance over a 10 year period, is required to implement this policy.
  • Implement as opportunities arise the preferred ownership model.
  1. VIRL ownership
  2. Public sector ownership
  3. Private sector ownership

Donation of Property: refer to Donations and Corporate Sponsorship Policy

Standards: Hours of Operation

Core Service Model

  • 5 days per week maximum
  • 20 hours minimum to maximum 42 hours
  • 2 consecutive closed days (contractual requirement)
  • Variety of morning and evening hours
  • Open hours between 10 am - 8 pm

Community Service Model

  • 5 - 7 days per week
  • 60 hour maximum
  • 4 evenings per week
  • Variety of mornings and evenings
  • Open hours between 10 am - 8 pm
  • Sunday 12:30 pm - 4 pm if funding available

Hub Service Model

  • 7 days per week
  • 65 hours per week plus
  • 4 evenings per week
  • Variety of mornings and evenings
  • Open between 10 am - 8 pm
  • Sunday 12:30 pm - 4 pm

Standards: Staffing Specifications

Core Service Model

Classification          FTE

Page                          >0.5
Clerical                      1 - 2.5
Technician                 1 - is assigned to the zone and works under the direction of a librarian

Community Service Model

Classification          FTE

Page                         >2
Clerical                     2.5 - 5
Librarians                 2 - 3
Library Manager       1

Hub Service Model

Classification         FTE

Page                        2 - 5
Librarian                  2 - 6
Library Manager      1


Prototype Library Program (minimum 2,750 sq ft)
Site Selection Criteria
Facility Decision Process

Revised: September 2012

View our Consolidated Facilities Master Plan: Companion Report and Facility Policy here

Follow us

Contact us

(877) 415.VIRL