Thursday July 7, 2011

Local News

Efficiency and  Ambience

South Side Library features 40,000 new books, cozy chairs and a coffee bar

Staff/Voice photos


he City of Chilliwack invited the public to an open house at Twin Rinks Wednesday where plans for the new 9700 sq. ft. South Side library were unveiled. 

                                                          Nicole Glentworth discusses library plans at open House.


It was a good turnout and people asked a wide variety of questions; from how many books, to how big the library will be. But the main thing on everyone's mind was when it will open.


According to Nicole Glentworth, FVRL Upper Fraser Manager, the earliest the the library could be built and stocked with the 40,000 new books it intends to have, is 2013.

At first glance, the proposed site and plan look good, but the property is going to need some extensive landscaping before construction can begin, including removal of some of the native trees but efforts will be made to save as many as possible.

The building is to be located (in red on right) where the skateboard park is on the corner at Tyson Road and Cumberland Ave. and the existing skateboard park will be shifted west adjacent to Cumberland.

Among key features are comfy chairs where bookworms will be able to curl up with a good book and a dubio espresso or a capp, next to a glowing fireplace.

The plan seems to take a slice out of the Friendly Giant's living room "and here's one little chair for one of you, and a bigger chair for two more to curl up in, and for someone who likes to rock, a rocking chair in the middle."

"It's two-thirds the size of downtown but the use of the area is better allocated at the new library because we started from scratch," said Glentworth. "We've added a few features which we don't have in Chilliwack."

She told the Voice the children's books will be on moveable shelves so space can be opened up to allow for programs. Another feature are children's washrooms.

The teen area merges into the adult stacks which is where the CDs and DVDs will be located, and Glentworth says in between will be the computers with internet access.

Checking books in and out is going to be breeze for users, and easier for staff to deal with, due to a book-sorter that will be installed. Sorters are a relatively new piece of technology that goes beyond bar codes by using Radio Frequency ID Tags (RFID) to sort books when they're returned.

"If it's a paperback book, it'll go into one of these bins," said Glentworth pointing to where it will be located. "If it's a children's book it'll get returned to another bin so        "A wonderful community enclave" says Rita Penco .

staff won't have to sort them as they come  

through making it faster."

"We're introducing it into two of our newer libraries, so this will be the third library in the Fraser Valley Regional district," she added.

"Maple Ridge has had it for eight-years now," said Rita Penco, FVRL's Director of Client Services. "What's new for this library will be the RFID tags. Right now we have bar codes and so now the person will be able to take out books without having to scan them."

Glentworth says that the robo-sorter and modernization of the check-in and check-out system won't actually terminate any jobs at the library, but instead will have an "enhancing" effect.

FVRL staff refer to library users as "customers" and the new library will be all about service. Whether it's programs, circulation services or information service that's needed, the focus will be the customer.

"We have a staffing component compliment, I think it is a good balance and the emphasis will be on service for the customers, added Glentworth.

She says that the downtown branch has roughly 330,000 visits annually and anticipates the total number of users between the two libraries to be somewhere around 700,000 a year.

It's been 8-years since the idea was first hatched in 2005. Glentworth has had an active role in the design/layout and planning of South Side Library. She's sat down with the engineers and ensured that certain elements were included in the drawings.

"This is what we'd like it to look like, this is what we need to fit in there, and this is the scope of it," she told engineers.                       

Currently there are walkways around the grounds that will be retained, the existing playground expanded and more parking added for a total of 207 spaces.

Glentworth thinks that having Twin Rinks next door will be a definite boon.

"I think it will draw in crowds that we might not have gotten otherwise and also because we're in a neighbourhood, we'll get a lot of walk-in traffic as opposed to drive-in traffic."

Glentworth won't be working in the new 9700 sq. ft. building, but is really looking forward to the ribbon-cutting in 2013.

"I'm very excited. This has been in the works for a few years. In 2005, we were looking at 5000 sq. ft. and we built it this way if we need to expand," said Glentworth.

"This is a wonderful community enclave of municipal resources for the community of all ages from children to seniors," added Penco.

The plan will now go to the City for rezoning at a future council meeting and then a "Request For Proposals" will be put out to contractors and then the bidding process begins.

                                                    Kurt Houlden (L) City of Chilliwack Engineering Director

Missed the open house? For more information there are two design concepts put forward and available for viewing and can be download from the City's website here.

Copyright (c) 2011 The Valley Voice