New Westminster library set to move into next round of renovation

If you’ve got favourite items you like to borrow from the New Westminster Public Library, now is a good time to check them out.

Phase 3 of the $5.5-million renovation to the New Westminster Public Library will get underway in August.

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“The library is going to move into Phase 3 of our renovation almost a month earlier than we had expected,” said Erin Watkins, manager of programs and community development. “It is exciting news for us. It looks like we are actually going to switch into Phase 3 of our renovation starting on Tuesday, Aug. 21.”

As the library transitions into the next phase of construction, it will be closed from Aug. 21 to 27.

“When we reopen on the 28th, we are going to be in Phase 3. What Phase 3 means is all library programs, services and collections will be on the second floor of the library,” Watkins said. “The entire main floor will be closed to both public and staff, and it is a construction zone.”

During the closure, library staff will be moving 23,000 square feet of services into 8,000 square feet. Visitors to the library will still be able to borrow items from the various collections, including fiction and non-fiction books, DVDs and CDs, but they’ll have a pared-down collection to choose from.

“We are creating what we are calling core collections of materials from our existing collection. We are picking the most popular, the most well-used and moving them up onto our second floor,” Watkins said. “We will not have access to our entire collection.”

Items that aren’t moved upstairs to the second floor won’t be accessible during Phase 3 of the renovation, which is expected to last for six to eight months. Because of the smaller space, people may not want to spend as much leisurely time in the library as normal – so the library will be extending the number of times people can renew items and the length of time they can borrow some items.

“Everything is available right now,” Watkins said. “We were toying around with an idea, we haven’t solidified how we are going to do it yet, but we wanted to ask people to come into the library and grab their favourite things so they have them and they can take them out of the library. There will be things that we won’t have access to.”

While the library has been a construction zone since December, Phase 3 will be the most noticeable part of the project and have the most impact on the public and staff.

As part of the renovation, the library moved its adult programs, including conversation circles and New Westminster Historical Society evenings, into oteher locations in the community. It’s currently finalizing locations for its children’s programming.

The renovation includes a number of components including a new technology lab, a new teen area, a new circulation desk, a new second floor meeting room, updated accessible washrooms, new electrical service, improved air circulation and distribution, new ceilings and refreshed interior finishes, new windows and new LED lighting.

“They seem to be working either ahead or exactly to schedule at this point,” Watkins said of the contractor doing the work. “That’s good news for us.”


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