Off the Shelf: A new place to read

Column takes readers on a behind-the-scenes look at Greater Vernon's brand, new library.

Well, we’re in! After many years, and countless hours of community meetings, planning, lost sleep, packing, moving, unpacking, more lost sleep, and finally well wishes, we can finally say that the residents of Greater Vernon have the beautiful, spacious library they deserve to have.

Of course, in any new building, especially one of 30,000 square feet, everything is not yet completed. For example, it takes about two weeks from opening for the commissioning of the water-source heat pump system that supplies the heating and cooling for the building. Readings are taken throughout each day, data is compiled, and the system is then designed to provide a comfortable environment for customers and staff, wherever they are in the library. This commissioning process is nearing completion, I’m happy to say.

Lighting is also scheduled to be completed soon, and proper signage should arrive shortly.  In a large public building such as a library, it is always a good idea to delay the installation of permanent signage until after opening.  Customers’ questions and traffic patterns are the best indicators of what signs are needed, what they should say, and where they should be installed.

The computer lab is almost ready as well.   When not in use for instruction purposes, the eight work stations are available for use by our customers on a first come basis. The four existing sit-down stations out on the floor are in high demand, so these additional ones will be welcome indeed!

During the design process, we thought the bare space on the roof covering the parking ramp could be made more visually interesting as it is just outside the south-facing windows on the second floor.  While there are great views toward East Hill and also toward the Allan Brooks Nature Centre, we envisioned a xeriscape planter that could be attractive in all seasons. I’m happy to report that the plantings are nearly complete, making the seating in this area even more welcoming.

Speaking of welcoming spaces, our expanded magazine and newspaper area on the second floor is a highlight in the new building. There are more than 140 new titles for customers to browse, with comfortable lounge chairs and plenty of natural light. Some of the exciting new magazines include:  The Hockey News, Just Cross Stitch, Wine Access and Imbibe (for wine lovers), Gripped (for rock climbers), Martha Stewart Weddings, Harper’s, Lapham’s Quarterly, Paris Review, Afar and Lonely Planet (for world travelers), BBC History, Coin World, Cook’s Illustrated, World Soccer, FineScale Modeler, Ellery Queen Mystery, House Beautiful and Pilates Style.

Some of our new newspapers include The New York Times (Sunday edition), and soon to come, The Times of London (Sunday edition) and The Calgary Herald.

–– Maureen Curry is the chief librarian at the Vernon branch of the Okanagan Regional Library.