The Sayward library is seen under construction in this Oct. 28, 2019 photo. The grand opening for the new 2,100 sq.-foot Sayward library is scheduled for Dec. 21. Photo provided

New Sayward library to open in December after sudden closure in 2017

Village has been using council chambers as temporary library space for two years

Sayward residents who have been without a dedicated library for more than two years will soon have their own branch again.

Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) has set the official opening for the 2,100-sq-foot branch on H’Kusam Way for Dec. 21.

“We are so excited to welcome the community of Sayward to their 21st century library,” said Rosemary Bonanno, VIRL’s executive director. “This library is sure to become the community’s gathering space, living room, and social hub.”

Sayward has been without a dedicated library since May 31, 2017 when VIRL closed the space it was leasing in a strip mall on Kelsey Way.

At the time, VIRL said a decision was made to keep the library closed due to health and safety concerns and WorkSafeBC regulations.

Services were restored a few months later when a temporary library opened inside the village’s council chambers.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to personally thank everyone on Sayward council, especially the mayor, for so generously giving up their council chambers during the construction to ensure that library services were always available,” said Bonanno.

Hills Renovations, a Campbell River-based construction firm, was awarded the contract to build the new library in April.

VIRL said it now has a cost-effective and scalable prototype model that could be used to build similar branches in other rural communities.

The model can be scaled up or down based on the community’s population and service needs.

The new location is being called “state-of-the-art” by VIRL and is set to include expanded hours of operation, a larger opening day collection with many new materials, an expanded program schedule, a laptop bar, study space and a bookable space.

RELATED: Library services to be restored in Sayward

Sayward Mayor John MacDonald said the new library is a “very welcome addition to the Village of Sayward.”

“We look forward to implementing new programs in concert with the library,” he said in an emailed statement. “The library is scheduled to have state of the art equipment (and) we look forward to increased open hours for our community.”

The official opening is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Dec. 21 with children’s entertainment, cake, refreshments and a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Bonanno said there is a lot to celebrate and everyone is invited.


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