Building Projects

This is an exciting time for Vancouver Island Regional Library!  We are building new libraries.  This page highlights our building projects currently underway and completed.

Projects Now Underway:

Chemainus

Masset

Parksville

Tofino

Tahsis

Port Alberni

Sooke

Sidney

North Saanich

Woss

Completed Projects:

Port Renfrew

Cumberland

Cowichan Lake

Nanaimo North

Cortes Island

Nanaimo Harbourfront

Campbell River

Port Hardy

Hornby Island

Nanaimo Wellington

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Chemainus

Plans are moving forward for a new branch for the community of Chemainus. Recently, North Cowichan requested that VIRL staff and VIRL’s architect attend a meeting to discuss the potential of combining the library site into a larger project which could include residential and retail space. Based on timing and other factors, VIRL is moving forward with a standalone facility that aligns with North Cowichan’s vision for the space. VIRL staff are reviewing the architect’s preliminary plans, and will work with the architect to finalize the design. A second public consultation will then be held to introduce the design to the community.

Masset

In 2016, Masset advised VIRL that a parcel of land had been identified and approved for the purpose of building a new branch. VIRL staff are engaging with Masset to discuss the process for moving forward on this project. VIRL staff will be visiting Haida Gwaii at the end of May, in order to review the site and discuss the project with local representatives. Staff will also review the Queen Charlotte and Sandspit locations to determine the scope of potential projects at these branches.

Parksville

Preliminary designs have been provided by the architect and VIRL is reviewing the draft plans. Further direction will be provided.

Tofino

In April, VIRL’s Executive Director attended a public open house where three potential sites for a new branch were discussed. VIRL is waiting for input from the municipality and community.

Tahsis

VIRL is currently assessing the impacts of new WorkSafeBC regulations that came into effect on May 1. Details will be provided as they become available. 

 Port Alberni

 A donation from a member of the Port Alberni community has kick-started a refurbishment effort that will address layout and outstanding maintenance issues. Preliminary designs have been provided by the architect and VIRL is reviewing the draft plans. Further direction will be provided.

Sooke

A public consultation was held in Sooke on May 2. Members from the community asked questions of VIRL staff and were given the opportunity to provide input. VIRL staff are working with the District of Sooke on issues around the lease agreement for the land, permitting, and other items.

Sidney

A public consultation was held in Sidney on March 22 with VIRL staff and the architect on site to answer questions from the community. Feedback from this session will be incorporated into project planning. The building envelope assessment has been prepared, which will help to determine the next steps for the project.

North Saanich

In November 2016, VIRL received a letter from North Saanich in support of transferring land to VIRL for the purpose of constructing a new branch at the Panorama Centre. A public consultation is tentatively scheduled for spring/summer 2017, with the aim of securing a loan through MFA in fall 2017. An alternative approval process will need to occur to support the loan, which will likely occur in summer/fall 2017. North Saanich is working with a surveyor to prepare a subdivision plan, which will determine the final site for the new branch. Preliminary site preparation and design work can commence after the plan is completed.

Woss

VIRL met with representatives from the Regional District of Mount Waddington on March 8, 2017 to discuss a potential partnership between the regional district, School District 85, and other partners to develop the school into a joint-use facility. 

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Port Renfrew Branch

Now Open!
On October 5th the Port Renfrew Branch officially opened to the public! The new 670 sq. foot Library offers:

  • Free wireless access
  • New best-selling titles of DVDs, books, ebooks, CDs and magazines as well as a 24/7 item return
  • Computer stations and a children's literacy computer station

Located in the Port Renfrew Recreation Centre, the new Port Renfrew branch is located at 6638 Deering Road with improved, year-long hours of service.

More photos of the Port Renfrew branch are available on our Flickr page.

Cumberland Branch

Now Open!
The new Cumberland Library facility is almost triple the size of the previous branch, at 3,200 sq. feet.  Parking is available at the front and the rear of the building.

Residents of the Village are thrilled to be getting a new and modern facility.  They know that public libraries provide educational and learning opportunities for a lifetime -- from early literacy programs, summer reading and homework help for school-aged children, to adult literacy, free access to the Internet, and wide variety of programs. They know that public libraries are vibrant civic spaces that foster a sense of community and belonging. Features of the new branch include:

  • a warm and inviting interior design with grey flooring and modern comfortable furniture in accenting colours
  • a children's area with colourful, age-appropriate furniture, a children's literacy station, and a big comfy loveseat
  • free wireless Internet access
  • public computers with Internet access, word processing and other software
  • study space
  • comfortable lounge seating
  • a comprehensive collection of popular books, DVDs, CDs and magazines

More photos of the Cumberland branch are available on our Flickr page.

Cowichan Lake Branch

Now Open!
The new Cowichan Lake branch was built near the corner of South Shore Road and Renfrew Avenue in down town Lake Cowichan. Construction began in January 2013. Vancouver Island Regional Library thanks the Town of Lake Cowichan who donated the land where the library is being built.  The Town's donation of the land has been the catalyst needed to expand library services for the citizens of Lake Cowichan. Lake Cowichan has needed a larger, more modern facility for a number of years and sees this new branch as being pivotal in the revitalization of downtown Lake Cowichan. Strong public libraries are indeed the cornerstone of any strong and healthy community!

The new Cowichan Lake Branch is more than twice as big as the current branch and includes: 

• more public access computers
• a lap top bar
• a designated children's computer area with educational, fun-filled software that promotes literacy
• a designated area for children’s programs
• study tables
• comfortable lounge seating
• an enhanced collection with many new items added to the books, magazines, newspapers, DVDs and CDs available at the branch.

More photos of the Cowichan Lake branch are available on our Flickr page.

Nanaimo North Branch

Now Open!
The construction project began in early February 2013 and includes partial demolition of the existing building that used to house the administrative staff of Vancouver Island Regional Library; renovations to the portion of the building remaining; and the addition of a new 17,600 square feet library space to the renovated building. The branch will be located at 6250 Hammond Bay Road.

The Nanaimo North Branch features large windows to take advantage of natural light, and will complement the mature evergreen trees that surround the site. This 17,600 square foot library includes:

  • meeting rooms that can be used by community groups
  • programming areas for children and adults
  • comfortable and quiet places for reading and study
  • rooms for group activities including a high-tech meeting console
  • a designated children's computer area with educational, fun-filled software that promotes literacy
  • free wireless Internet access
  • public computers with Internet access, word processing and other software
  • a comprehensive collection of popular books, DVDs, CDs, and magazines

More photos of the Nanaimo North branch are available on our Flickr page.

Cortes Island Branch

Now Open!
Residents of Cortes Island can now enjoy their new branch, which began construction in early 2013.

The new branch features:

  • two public computers
  • WiFi
  • children's early literacy station
  • bright and comfy reading area

More photos of the Cortes Island branch are available on our Flickr page.

Nanaimo Harbourfront

Now Open! 

On November 7th, 2015 the Nanaimo Harbourfront branch opened its doors to over 500 people in the community to celebrate the newly reopened, and popular, downtown Library. The refreshed space boasted a tailored collection of books and new titles, improved and expanded public computers, and the highly anticipated Creativity Commons. A first for VIRL, the Creativity Commons offers an imagination and creation space that offers an espresso book-publishing machine (available to the public), Make & Break Lab, Storylab, Genealogy Lab and access to computer programming, sophisticated design software, robotics and so much more! The redeveloped Nanaimo Harbourfront branch was designed with the downtown community in mind, to offer both a comprehensive collection of materials, including books and magazines, but also leading-edge informational and digital literacy tools never available before. These tools, programs and creativity spaces are ideal for Vancouver Island University students, downtown community organizations including literacy organizations, local educators, local poets, authors and artists, children, teens and everything in between.

More photos of the Nanaimo Harbourfront branch are available on our Flickr page.

Campbell River

Now Open!

Library service began in Campbell River as a book deposit station in 1936. The library branch officially opened in 1951. The branch has moved locations several times and has been in its present location on Shoppers Row since 1987, next to the Tidemark Theatre and across the street from the Campbell River Art Gallery.

On November 28, the community came out in numbers to celebrate the official opening of their new branch, which now features:

  • 12 public computer stations with internet and word processing
  • 2 children's early literacy stations
  • WiFi
  • Photocopier/print service
  • Study tables
  • Large magazine collection
  • New furniture and a bright, open, welcoming space

More photos of the Campbell River branch are available on our Flickr page.

Port Hardy

Now Open! 

For the community of Port Hardy, June 11 was a day to remember. It was a day of magicians, cake, children playing, parents laughing, special guests, prize draws, speeches, new technology, laughter, and excitement. June 11 was the day the renovated Port Hardy library officially reopened to the public. And people came out to celebrate!

From a new fireplace to cuddle around during the cold winter months to a bright new public computer area, the renovated library offered something for everyone. Here’s a snapshot of the improvements we made to the Port Hardy branch:

  • A warm and inviting interior
  • A colourful children's area
  • Study space
  • New public computers with internet access
  • A comprehensive collection of books, DVDs, CDs and magazines
  • Comfortable lounge seating
  • Parking at the front and rear of the building

The new 3,200 sq. ft. branch also featured an opening day collection of 12,000 items. Many of the new items in the opening day collection stayed in the community for six months before being made available to our floating collection. The Port Hardy branch also features a new First Nations collection, with many additional copies of First Nations titles also available to VIRL cardholding customers throughout our system. The library branch moved to its current location in 1979 and received its latest renovation in June 2016. 

More photos of the Port Hardy branch are available on our Flickr page.

Hornby Island

Now Open!

Nestled against a backdrop of a mature and tranquil forest of every shade of green, VIRL’s Hornby Island branch sits in a picture perfect setting. And after 26 years of serving the community at the New Horizons Centre, the building received some much-needed love and attention in 2016. In December, the community came out in droves for the official grand opening of their new Hornby Island Library. In addition to seeing their swanky new space for the first time, guests were also entertained by Juno award-winning songwriter and artist, Helen Austin, speeches by VIRL staff and our Board Chair…and a surprise guest appearance by none other than Casey and Finnegan of Mr. Dressup fame! After the entertainment and speeches, attendees were led on a tour of their new library. From the looks on their faces, it was clear that everyone, young and old, loved what they saw.

  • Here are some of the highlights of the new Hornby Island branch:
  • An updated interior with warm, inviting features and comfortable lounge seating
  • A magazine nook with many popular titles • A children’s area with colourful, fun and age-appropriate furniture
  • A new children’s literacy computer station and two new public access computers
  • A new study space • Increased bandwidth for our Wi-Fi users
  • Improvements to the heating and air conditioning systems
  • A comprehensive collection of books, DVDs, and CDs 

When it comes to renovating our branches, we proved, again, with Hornby Island, that we can accomplish great things in small spaces. We took an alreadytreasured community resource and transformed it into an exciting hub that will serve Hornby Islanders, and visitors, well for many years to come.

 

More photos of the Hornby Island branch are available on our Flickr page.

Nanaimo Wellington 

Now Open! Join us for the official opening celebration on July 8, 2017!

The new Nanaimo Wellington branch is located in Country Club Centre: A family-centred mall located in central Nanaimo. The old Nanaimo Wellington branch was located on Barons Road (across the road), where it had been since 1979. The new, 4300 sq. ft. location boasts many new features, including:

  • A warm and inviting interior
  • A children's area with colourful, age-appropriate furniture
  • Children's literacy stations
  • Public access holds with self checkout stations
  • Study space
  • Meeting room
  • Free WiFi
  • Public computers with internet access
  • A comprehensive collection of popular books, DVDs, CDs, and magazines
  • Comfortable lounge seating with fireplace

Photos coming soon!

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