Quadra Island is getting a larger library in a new location, but not everyone is happy about it.
The Quadra Island branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) has been in Heriot Bay since 1990 in a 1,024 square foot building.
But, plans are now under way to move the library to the Cove Centre at Quathiaski Cove. The new location will be triple the size of the old, at 3,200 square feet.
“There’s been a lot of pressure to do improvements,” said Ronna-Rae Leonard, chair on the Board of Trustees for VIRL. “We needed it larger and we needed it soon too.”
Library services will be expanded to offer a larger collection of books, more public computers with internet access, and to provide more public spaces with lounge seating and areas for children’s programs.
“We were way behind in terms of providing the service that twenty first century people want and need,” said Leonard.
However, some residents on Quadra are unhappy with the decision-making process VIRL used when it chose to make the changes.
“We are not happy with the process,” said Rod Burns from Friends of Quadra Island Library, a group of residents concerned about the library.
“150 people said put my name down as a concerned citizen about the process.”
Burns said VIRL should have sought more public input before it made the decision to move the library.
Executive director on the VIRL board, Rosemary Bonanno, said the board followed its rules when they chose to move the library to its new location.
“We followed the board procedure and policy to relocate the library on Quadra Island,” said Bonanno.
While Burns agrees the existing library was in need of upgrades, he said some residents would like it to stay in Heriot Bay.
Burns said he would rather the new library be smaller in return for longer hours of operation.
And that the community should have been asked its opinion on the best use of the money spent on the library upgrades, calling the decision “top-down.”
“They keep telling us. They haven’t come and asked us,” he said.
North Island MLA, Claire Trevena, met with VIRL representatives on July 14 to discuss the issue.
“I’ve voiced some concerns about how the decision was made with a lack of community input,” said Trevena.
However, plans are in motion for the new library, which is slated to be operational by early 2012.