West Kelowna library to expand

Judy Hammond, head librarian of the West Kelowna Library, points to the area that will be renovated as part of the library
Judy Hammond, head librarian of the West Kelowna Library, points to the area that will be renovated as part of the library's expansion.
— image credit: Douglas Farrow / Contributor

West Kelowna bookworms will have a bigger space to roam around early next month.

The Westside library, located in Westridge Mall at 2484 Main St., will be closed from Aug. 26 to Sept. 4 as workers begin renovations to expand the current branch by more then 50 per cent.

"The population has been growing in West Kelowna," said Mary O'Brien, public relations officer for Okanagan Regional Library.

"Westbank's (branch) had been under-serving the community in terms of the size that it should be for a couple of years now."

O'Brien said there was some consideration to move the branch; however, the former Dollar Store, which is located next door, vacated, making it possible for the library to expand.

"It worked out very well that we are able to knock down the wall and take over that space as well."

The current square footage of the library is 6,095—the renovations will add another 3,920 square feet to the branch.

O'Brien said the West Kelowna branch is the sixth busiest of 29 branches in the Okanagan Regional Library system. In 2011, 116,859 people visited the Westside library.

The expansion will feature a larger children's area, increased seating and studying spaces, the addition of a public meeting room, two fire places and a cafe counter where the public can plug in their laptops and other mobile devices.

The library will remain open for much of the construction; therefore, visitors are warned some noise and disorder are to be expected during the transition.

"Customers might notice some disruptions, some noise, some mess. We try to minimize it, but it's hard when there are workers going in and out and walls coming down."

According to O'Brien, an eventual expansion to the library in Summerland is also a priority for Okanagan Regional Library.

"The board has been wanting to work on an expansion in Summerland for many years. It's a matter of just trying to find proper space in that community and how to fund it."

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