The Okanagan Regional Library and the District of Summerland have settled on a site for a for a new library branch in Summerland.
The current building is less than half the recommended size and construction of a new branch has been on the books for several years.
The space crunch at the branch has reached record proportions during recent library programs, with some attendees having to peer between bookshelves to see the speaker.
Summerland library goers, who last year borrowed over 130,000 items from the branch, won’t have to travel far to the new location, as it will be just across the street along Main Street at Kelly Avenue.
The new building will be more than double the current size, at about 8,000 square feet and will sit on a 23,000 square foot site assembled from privately-held and District-owned lots.
Cost for the project is estimated at $3.2 million.
“This project has been a long time in coming,” says Past Chair of the ORL Board Carol Zanon.
“Summerland’s representative on the ORL Board, Peter Waterman, has been consistently pushing for a new branch. We are pleased to be able to make this announcement that will result in expanded service for library patrons in the Summerland area.”
Newly elected ORL Board Chair Catherine Lord is excited about the prospect of this new branch being built.
“We hope to start construction in 2014 and have completion in 2015, and community consultation will be part of the planning process. Libraries are changing and this is an opportunity to design a library that is responsive to the community’s evolving needs.”
While the Okanagan Regional Library will be responsible for building the library and has purchased the land, the commitment of the District of Summerland to this new branch has also been demonstrated.
“Summerland Council are very supportive of this project,” says Mayor Janice Perrino.
“The new branch will enhance the downtown core and provide better library service for the citizens of Summerland. We look forward to partnering with the ORL and helping to expedite this project.”
The ORL and the District of Summerland would also like to acknowledge the extraordinary staff at the Summerland Branch, Coldstream Councillor Maria Besso, who has chaired the ORL’s Summerland Building Committee, Sean and Colleen Greenwood, owners of the mechanical shop property, and the very active and committed Friends of the Summerland Library.