With a significant shift to online engagement since the start of the pandemic, the Courtenay Library will soon get an injection of funding to help refurbish its physical location for stronger in-person engagement following the pandemic.
Daniel Arbour, who is the regional director for Comox Valley Regional District Electoral Area A, was recently appointed as vice-chair of the Vancouver Island Regional Library, said there is $1.5 million on the horizon to remodel the facility.
“Right now, there is pre-design work happening … but it’s preparation for a restart for when the pandemic begins to ease.”
Arbour explained he has seen firsthand the role that libraries play in both large and small communities and all of the facilities within the VIRL are trying to adjust to the COVID-19 environment.
“We saw the digital environment go up significantly, and we’re also working on advocacy to try and get more funding from the provincial government.”
With the funding slated for the Courtenay Library, Arbour said there will some pretty substantial changes to the interior of the facility. Similar to the Cumberland and Comox libraries, the Courtenay location is aiming to have more open spaces for activities and programming, rather than a traditional set-up.
“There will be a full interior refurbishment and all systems will be assessed with the physical layout. Because the building is owned by the City of Courtenay we will work with them every step,” he noted.
He added the project should begin in the fall and be complete early next year, just as membership for libraries across Vancouver Island is increasing.
“There’s so many new members and a lot of people are looking to the library to access such a big portfolio. We’re running programming for families online and there’s just been such a huge shift (over the course of the pandemic) with a lot of engagement.”
For more information about available programs through the VIRL system, visit virl.bc.ca.