Grand opening for Gabriola’s “living room”
Cutting the ribbon on the expanded Gabriola Public Library: Dyson Roach, the youngest person at the Grand Opening of the Library, cuts the ribbon with (L-R) Brenda Leigh (Vice-Chair of the Vancouver Island Regional Library Board, Ronna-Rae Leonard (Board Chair) and David Carrington (oldest Gabriolan at the ceremonies).
Derek Kilbourn photo
The new Gabriola Public Library was officially opened by staff, islanders and representatives of the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) system this past Saturday afternoon.
Following a summer of anticipation, closure of the previous branch and reduced hours at the temporary branch, the new Library opened a month ago with islanders almost unanimous in approval of what had been done to Gabriola’s library.
Ronna-Rae Leonard, Chair of VIRL, spoke on behalf of the regional library system saying she wanted to first and foremost, “acknowledge the many professionals who worked so hard to create this wonderful space.
“It’s quite breathtaking when you step inside and get your first impression. With the vaulted ceilings it has a bright and airy feeling. With the designated areas for children, youth, and for quiet reading and contemplation, it has an intimate and warm feeling. The interior design is fresh and modern. It’s a spectacular library!”
She spoke also on how the public library is a community gathering place, it is the centre of the community.
“I know the people who live on Gabriola Island have been waiting for this celebration. I am sure they are as thrilled as I and our staff are with this beautiful new, modern library.”
Ronna-Rae also acknowledged the Gabriola Friends of the library for all of their support over the years and especially for their generous donations to the new branch.
The Friends donated the flat screen TV, folding chairs and chairs on casters which will enable many more hosting readings and presentations at the library such as the one held a few weeks ago to return an eighteenth-century bible to its original owners’ family.
She asked the members of the Friends present at the ceremonies to be recognized with a round of applause.
“It’s clear that libraries remain the living room of their communities. This sentiment is illustrated here in this branch, every day this library is open.
““Strong libraries … strong communities” is the motto of Vancouver Island Regional Library.
“I think we can all understand why. Thank you for your enthusiastic use of your library.”
Before the ribbon was cut, Ronna-Rae presented the door prize (which included a copy of “The Library Book” (a history of libraries in British Columbia), and a VIRL pen, mug, bag and a few other goodies to the winner.
She then requested the oldest and the youngest members of the audience to come forward and cut the ribbon. while everyone else in attendance gathered around behind the ribbon cutters for the official photo.
The former branch closed down on Thursday, March 8 with the temporary branch will be opening in the adjacent space on March 9.
In order for the Library to expand in Folklife Village, the Village Liquor Store also had to move spaces, vacating the space it had occupied for seven years and moving in to the space next to The Old Crow Café.
Mike Brown, owner of VLS said, ““For the Village Core, I think it’s essential to have a library in there. I did not want to be the business that stopped the library from expanding. I wanted to help make that happen. We did this move to keep the library at Folklife.”
The VIRL budget for the expansion was established at $235,000 with a further $101,500 for furniture and equipment. Joy Adams Bauer, communications officer for VIRL said the project came in under budget but did not have an exact total.