A new sanctuary for library lovers is opening this week in Esquimalt, offering locals a front-row seat into the world of literature.
On Thursday, March 31st at 10 a.m., the doors to the Greater Victoria Public Library’s (GVPL) relocated branch on Park Place will open—following a long road of planning and construction.
According to township officials, the new 10,000 sq. ft library is “a true community living room with a modern design and décor” and replaces the former branch at Esquimalt Municipal Hall.
Designed by D’AMBROSIO architecture + urbanism and developed by Aragon Properties, lead architect Franc D’Ambrosio says the space offers a “truly urban attitude towards libraries.”
That’s because it’s located within Esquimalt’s Town Square development—a town centre encompassing new-build condominiums and many amenities.
“I’m very pleased, and I’m pleased that the library has a central focus,” D’Ambrosio told Victoria Buzz. “I think it gives a heart to the community, and I think it’s really important that libraries hold that place.”
The new library features floor-to-ceiling windows, soaring ceilings and concrete floors, as exposed natural wood beams pull it all together. It also boasts sustainability enhancements.
“This is a modest branch library,” said D’Ambrosio. “Still, we wanted to instill a level of grandeur inspired by the classic double-high reading rooms.”
According to D’Ambrosio, the library’s shelves are on wheels—opening up the space to events, lectures and other public gatherings. “Libraries are adapting with the community,” he said.
Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins is on the same page and says she’s beyond thrilled to welcome people into the space, pointing to libraries as “the hub of any community.”
Meanwhile, GVPL CEO Maureen Sawa says she’s “especially proud” of the library’s children’s area, designed to encourage discovery and safe play.
“With dedicated areas for children and teens, comfortable reading areas, public computers with printing, bookable study rooms, flexible program space and Wi-Fi throughout the branch, this is truly a flexible and inclusive space that will both inform and inspire the community,” added Sawa.
Fiction and non-fiction books for people of all ages abound, with audiobooks and music on CD, feature films and tv series on DVD and Blu-ray, video games, and newspapers and magazines adding to the library’s collection.
The branch is also home to a digital media lab—specialized creative rooms offering soundtrack creation and film and animation space. “These are all intended for the coming technologies,” added D’Ambrosio.
Once open, the public can access GVPL’s new location in Esquimalt Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.