Construction set to begin on new Masset Library

October 3, 2023

Construction set to begin on new Masset Library and Haida Language Immersion Lab


Nanaimo, BC (October 3, 2023) – The permits have been issued and Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) is set to begin construction on the new Masset Library and Haida Language Immersion Lab. Once complete, Haida Gwaii’s residents and visitors will have access to 3,870 square-feet of space to connect, learn, and grow in the Village of Masset.

“We are delighted this day is finally here,” says Erin Hemmens, Chair of the VIRL Board of Trustees. “I would like to thank the Village of Masset, Old Massett Village Council and Xaad Kíl Née (Haida Language Office) for their support of this project. Their guidance, patience and partnership has been so appreciated. Thanks also to the North Coast Regional District (NCRD), the Gwaii Trust Society and Northern Development Initiatives Trust (NDIT) for their financial support of this collaborative project. We are truly honoured – Haw’aa.”

Features and amenities of the new facility:

  • Roof pitch, timber beams, and vertical cedar siding honouring Haida culture and the Masset community.
  • A learning space focusing on knowledge transfer through technology and language preservation.
  • An open library space featuring comfortable reading and study areas for all ages.
  • A shared / bookable meeting room.
  • A cozy fireplace lounge area with comfortable seating for reading and connecting.
  • A bright and inviting children’s area with a variety of interactive activities.
  • Expanded hours of operation and increased programming to facilitate access and strengthen community engagement activities and partnerships.

“The Village of Masset has been looking forward to an updated building for the library to be located, and are so pleased the plan is to start the build before the end of 2023,” says Sheri Disney, Village of Masset Mayor. “With the input from Masset and Old Massett, Vancouver Island Regional Library has reflected the feedback they received in the plans for this new library building, which will increase its use even further. We’re thankful and excited for this investment in our communities!”

The overall approved budget for the project is $4.2 million and funding was secured through VIRL’s Capital Levies, a loan from the Municipal Finance Authority via the North Coast Regional District, and grants from Gwaii Trust and NDIT. VIRL is seeking additional funding at this time.

Unitech Construction Management was awarded a construction management contract for the project in August, following a public tender. Unitech is now developing a construction timeline, which will be shared with the public when it becomes available.

For more information about the Masset Library Branch and Haida Language Immersion Lab project, visit

About VIRL

VIRL delivers tremendous economies of scale and significant returns on investment, by working with 38 local governments across a 42,000 km2 service area. Our collective services are a demonstrable commitment to livability and affordability and are enjoyed by nearly a third of residents overall. These services include free access to dynamic programming and events, bookable meeting rooms, and 39 branches that are essential Third Spaces in communities large and small. VIRL has the third-largest public library collection in BC, featuring downloadable e-books, audiobooks, digital news, streaming services, children’s materials, and much more.

VIRL’s new vision is: a thriving, connected, cohesive and empowered region of Island and coastal communities. To achieve this vision, VIRL is preparing to introduce its new strategic plan later this month.


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