Westside to get technology focused library

The Okanagan Regional Library will be opening the second Westside location in spring

The Westside is getting a second library, but this one won’t be filled with books.

The new facility that has yet to be named is set to open early in spring will be filled with technology such as a 3D printer, a video camera and green screen, robotics, electronics, a sound booth and a Makers’ Space where residents can host events programs and gatherings.

In the learning lab all ages can learn how to code, create their own content and stay up to date with the ever evolving world of tech.

“This is a way moving forward, to the kind of things people want to do. When libraries began we were the receivers of content from authors and now everyone is creating their own content in different ways in the community,” said Christine McPhee, director of public services at the Okanagan Regional Library.

When the library decided to open another branch on the Westside, they distributed a survey to find out what residents wanted from the new space. Their results showed that in fact residents didn’t want another establishment to check out books, magazines or DVDs. They wanted something where they could learn how to use the latest technology, beginners want learn how to operate a computer, aspiring creators wanted a place to create their own content and learn new skills.

RELATED: Okanagan Regional Library opens branch at UBCO

In the recording studio that can be booked out, users can record podcasts, practice their musical instruments and record any audio projects they can imagine.

Libraries in both Calgary and Edmonton have makers spaces in their libraries and McPhee says that the West Kelowna building will be modelled on their success.

RELATED: UBC opens new innovation hub in downtown Kelowna

“Libraries are starting to build spaces like this,” said McPhee. “We have had a few spaces like this in smaller communities and it has been successful. It is all built on work that has been done by other libraries.”

“We are focused on tech and learning. But not just learning for technology. There will be a bookable classroom space that will be used for a variety of different things. It will also become a space where we can meet our community’s needs for all ages,” said McPhee.

Tech junkies can look forward to the new gadgets being integrated into other Okanagan Regional Library location’s programming.

Avid readers can still pick-up holds and return books at this location.

The new library will be located in the Okanagan Lake Shopping Centre, #216 at 525 Highway 97, in West Kelowna.

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