The Salmon Arm branch of the Okanagan Regional Library will be getting a facelift in the near future, adding a new public meeting room in addition to utility upgrades and some improvements to their children’s space. Renovations are set to begin in November and the library will be closed during some of the renovations. (File photo)

Salmon Arm library to undergo upgrades over the winter

New meeting space planned for Okanagan Regional Library’s Salmon Arm branch

Bookworms in the Shuswap will likely be happy to note the Salmon Arm branch of the Okanagan Regional Library will be getting a bit of a facelift in the coming months.

At the September meeting of the Okanagan Regional Library Board, plans for renovation and a refresh of the facilities in Salmon Arm were laid out and discussed.

According to branch head librarian James Laitinen, the upgrades they are looking at will include creating a new meeting and group project space, along with some utility upgrades.

“Our current young adult room, we are going to be converting into a meeting room that would be a bookable meeting room,” Laitinen says. “We may be doing sort of small programs in there as well, like craft programs for both children and adults.”

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Laitinen hopes the addition of this meeting room will make the library a destination for people who need a group space to work on projects or host meetings without interrupting the quiet reading spaces at the library.

“We actually get quite a few out-of-town people and people from government agencies coming in because they sort of assume a public library will have bookable meeting space, and that’s something we haven’t really been able to offer until now,” he says.

When not in use as a meeting room, Laitinen says the new area is planned to become a social space where people can sit and chat about their favourite reading materials, work with tutors or make Skype calls using the library’s Wi-Fi.

“We’re trying to meet the needs of everyone because people still kind of expect the library to be a quiet space even though we have groups of people coming in to work on projects and we have tutors and children’s programs,” Laitinen says. “So I think we can create different zones so if you want quiet, individual study space you can go in one area but if you are a tutor you can go in another. Hopefully this meeting room area will suit those needs too for people who need to have conversations or be on Skype or on the phone.”

In addition to the new meeting space there are plans for retrofitting of the washrooms at the library, new fixtures and flooring and a fresh paint-job for the interior.

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Another highlight of the renovation plan is to rethink the layout to create more space for the children’s programming which runs regularly at the library.

“We will be kind of shifting our collections around a little bit, and that should create more space in our children’s area. So that is going to allow us to have a larger space for our children’s program,” Laitinen says.

While the idea of relocating the library near the recreation centre has come up through a recent survey put out by the recreation society, Laitinen says it’s a bit early to make any promises on that front.

“We have had initial conversation with them, but we are certainly happy where we are now,” he says. “We are central and in a good location in terms of parking. I think the renovations will sort of give us a new life here and a certain ability to reinvent ourselves but we do have to consider our other options and we will see what happens in terms of how they can proceed.”

As far as an expected timeline goes, work is expected to start on the utility upgrades in early November, and the library will be closed to the public during some of the renovations. The exact timeline is still being finalized, however, and information on the exact dates of closures for renovations will be announced when they are confirmed.



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