A blog dedicated to keeping abreast of issues and ideas in the profession.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Vancouver’s main library to undergo major reorganization
by: Tracy Sherlock
Vancouver’s downtown library — a nine-storey “Colosseum” that holds 1.3
million items and covers a full block at Georgia and Homer — is approaching its
20th anniversary, and with that will come some significant changes.
The downtown branch, which is known as the Central Library, is being
rearranged to make it easier for people to find books, as well as to create
space for a new Inspiration Lab.
The 3,000-square-foot Inspiration Lab will be on the library’s third floor,
which will be transformed into a space where people will have access to
equipment and reference material that will enable them to learn and experiment
with traditional, digital and new media. The free, public space is designed to
“nurture the talent and creativity of our city and be a hot spot where the next
generation of Vancouver’s digital and creative community can get its start,” the
Christina de Castell, the library’s director of resources and technology,
said the lab will be a place where people can bring digital stories to life,
using the library’s equipment. Examples might include converting old videotapes
into digital family movies, or using one of five audio booths to have a
grandparent’s voice narrate a family movie.
The equipment will be bookable and free of charge for the public, de Castell
said, adding the library is also working with local technology companies to
develop training and possibly an expert-in-residence to help people use the
Fundraising is underway for the $750,000 lab and the library hopes to have it
open early next year, de Castell said.
Even without the lab, the Vancouver Public Library was voted No. 1 in the
world in a study by Heinrich Heine University in Dusseldorf last December. In
2012, it was used by an estimated 74 per cent of Vancouverites.
To accommodate the new space and to better organize the library’s holdings,
levels three through six of the library are being reorganized, which is no small
task. The move includes about 750,000 books, 800 bays of shelving and 50
computers and workstations.
The library promises the new layout will mean it is easier for people to find
the books they want. The library is staying open during the move and there will
be no changes to the children’s library (Lower Level), Special Collections
(Level 7) or the fiction, multilingual, teens and DVD sections (all on Level
Jenny Marsh, director of development at the Vancouver Public Library
Foundation, said there is still at least one naming opportunity available for a
donor to the lab. The library decided to try crowdfunding to raise money for
eight iMac computers for the lab. The $16,000 campaign has raised more than
$6,000 to date.
The library also has partnered with the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver
Writers Fest to seek the next Poet Laureate for the city. The position is
honourary, with a flexible term of either two or three years, to begin in
October. The poet acts as a champion for poetry, attending civic and public
poetry events and completing a unique project. Nomination letter or letters of
intent are welcome from published or performance poets who live in Vancouver are