Sooke’s long-awaited $7.5-million downtown public library is expected to open its doors to the public by month’s end, boasting 13,412 square feet of unique architecture, more learning space and 35,000 items in its collection – double that of the old branch.
Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) is targeting the week of Feb. 21 to open the doors and welcome the public inside.
“This project has been a priority for successive boards and to see it so close to completion speaks to the commitment and dedication of many passionate people,” said Gaby Wickstrom, VIRL board chair.
“I cannot wait to join the smiling faces of people experiencing their new library for the first time.”
From the building’s iconic circular design to the inviting entranceway, the library offers users plenty of space and amenities to pursue their passions and interests, conduct meetings, study, socialize, read, research, and explore.
“As anyone who has visited the Sooke region in recent years can attest, the community is developing quickly and is only poised to continue its growth,” said Mayor Maja Tait.
“Beloved though it was, the old library simply did not have enough space to meet community expectations any longer. We know that vibrant, well used libraries are important indicators of healthy communities – when the doors open and the public experiences it for themselves, all will understand how this new library marks an important milestone in our community’s evolution.”
Some key features and amenities of the library include:
• Increased staffing
• Expanded hours of operation and program schedule
• Expanded children’s area
• Fireplace lounge
• Laptop bar
• Study space
• Bookable rooms
• Makerspace with a 3D printer and other exciting technologies
The library also boasts several sustainability enhancements to help ensure its operations minimize environmental impacts. The branch has been built in alignment with B.C.’s Wood First Initiative, which sources local, sustainably procured wood.
The parking area includes three electric vehicle charging stations for public use and one for staff, in addition to high-capacity underground bicycle parking.
To maintain a comfortable interior climate, the branch contains a solar shading device to prevent solar heat in the summer and allow heat gains in the winter. The building’s roof is designed to capture rainwater and divert it to an absorbent rock pit and bioswale.
The building also includes provisions for future solar energy integration.
Grand opening celebrations, including speeches, entertainment, and library tours, are planned for late March.
The library is located on Wadams Way.