Greater Victoria Public Library board chair Rob Martin and GVPL CEO Maureen Sawa discuss plans for the new James Bay library branch. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

James Bay library branch to be part of busy office/commercial/residential hub

New branch will be second for City of Victoria, opening in early 2018

It may not come as a surprise to those who live in James Bay, but the area is home to a high concentration of library users.

That fact is one of several reasons the Greater Victoria Public Library chose to locate a new branch there, specifically in the Capital Park development at the high-profile corner of Superior and Menzies streets.

“We like to be where the people are,” says GVPL CEO Maureen Sawa, giving as examples the two newest branches, Langford Heritage in a busy residential area and the relocated Emily Carr library in Uptown.

“We see ourselves as a kind of a community living room, it’s a connector, a way to connect people of all ages to ideas [and a way] to generate creativity and content development.”

The regional library system’s 12th branch – it’s the second for the city of Victoria – is due to open sometime in early 2018 by best estimates. Like the aforementioned branches, it is “purpose-built,” meaning it isn’t taking over a space previously used for a different function.

“The new branch in James Bay is going to be very much a 21st century library,” Sawa says. “We’ll have a lot of space for people to meet – the input we received was that they wanted a community gathering space, meeting room space, space for parents and children, lifelong learning for some retirees … The key is flexibility.”

The new James Bay library was a part of the City of Victoria’s original plan for Capital Park, which offers a mix of office space, commercial space and residential units. Not only will the branch have a captive market of readers close by, its design creates a facility that can be shaped and fitted to meet a variety of functional needs. Shelving will be movable to allow for community events, and its large windows will offer street traffic and pedestrians a clear view inside.

Similar to when the Langford Heritage Branch opened last year, the opening day collection at James Bay will feature the latest fiction and non-fiction books, the popular Fast Reads seven-day bestseller book collection, audio books, musical CDs and TV series DVDs, video games, magazines, large print books and more.

A Teen Zone, which offers youth library users a less silent environment, and a children’s area filled with a variety of materials for young and emerging readers, are also part of the design.

GVPL communications and development director Daphne Wood points out that visiting one of the system’s interconnected branches is just one one way for library users to access its materials and services.

We have 11 physical locations and one virtual one where anyone with a library card, or even without one, can connect with the library and its programs,” she says.

The GVPL looks forward to hearing from James Bay readers about their interests. While materials are circulated around the system, more examples of certain topics wind up being located at certain branches, Sawa says.

The expectation is for this branch to become an integral part of the neighbourhood, notes Rob Martin, a Colwood councillor and chair of the GVPL board.

“I think you’re going to see a lot of enthusiasm around people being able to utilize this,” he says. “Libraries are an anchor and they’re one of the pillars to our communities. It’s a matter of once you have it there, people recognize what an importance difference it’s making. We’ve already discovered that with Langford and I think we’re going to discover that, possibly even more so, in James Bay.”

The library will add a quality of life to an already walkable neighbourhood, he adds.

While the design and services were largely determined following a community consultation period in 2015, the GVPL is anxious to show the public what they’ve come up with for the new branch.

A public open house is being hosted Saturday, Nov. 4 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Central branch on Broughton Street, to share details of the new James Bay library.

For more information, visit gvpl.ca.

City presents Name That Library contest

Are you happy with the name James Bay branch, or would you like the name of the GVPL’s next location in Victoria to be more reflective of someone or something related to the neighbourhood or city history?

The public has a chance to offer suggestions through an online/email survey that opened this week and ends at midnight Nov. 19. To take the online survey, simply log on to victoria.ca/NameThatLibrary and follow the steps, or send an email with your chosen name for the branch along with your rationale, to NameThatLibrary@victoria.ca.

Of the current 11 branches in the Greater Victoria Public Library system, four have commemorative names and seven reflect geographic locations. While there’s no limit to how many suggestions an individual submits, only one per survey or email is requested.

The Name That Library! campaign is not a vote. Suggested names will be submitted to Victoria city council for consideration. The name of the new library will be announced in December.

editor@vicnews.com

Greater Victoria Public Library

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Barb Wright and Cynthia Vance at the District Electoral Office for the Langford-Juan de Fuca (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Polls now closed in Langford-Juan de Fuca

An estimated 12,120 mail-in ballots were requested in the Langford-Juan de Fuca riding

B.C. Election 2020: Voting stations will be open across B.C. from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 24. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Polling stations see steady stream of voters for B.C. Election Day, no long lines

Same-day voting stations will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 24

Voters in Saanich North and the Islands, here lining up outside Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre on the first day of advanced voting, are among the provincial leaders in getting in their votes early, with some 20 per cent (10,174) of eligible voters have already cast their ballots. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
It’s Election Day in B.C.: Here’s what you need to know to vote

B.C.’s snap election has already broken records for advance voter turnout, mail-in ballots

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

New Democratic leader John Horgan during Monday's campaign stop in Sidney. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
NDP John Horgan wins Langford-Juan de Fuca

BC Green candidate Gord Baird takes second place early in the polls

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

Most Read