The official grand opening of Sooke’s newest library has been put on hold this week, due to ongoing strikes by Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) librarians.
The new branch, located on Wadams Way, was completed in February with a budget of $7.5 million dollars.
Although the library has been open to the public since late February, the official grand opening ceremony was set to take place this Saturday, March 26th to celebrate the new addition to Sooke.
On March 9th, members of the BC General Employees’ Union (BCGEU) working as librarians for the VIRL began picketing at VIRL’s Cowichan branch, seeking a deal that aligned their compensation with other libraries in the province.
The strike came after BCGEU filed a notice to Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL), when its members voted 95% in favour of a strike mandate.
The VIRL and BCGEU have been bargaining over the BCGEU Collective agreement since September 2021. In December 2021, the agreement expired.
The new Sooke library is a 13,500 square foot circular building with a final collection size of around 35,000, four electric vehicle charging stations, high-capacity underground bicycle parking and a roof designed to capture rainwater.
It also features increased staffing and longer hours, a children’s area, fireplace lounge, laptop bar, study space, bookable rooms and a 3D printer.
The branch has seen a surge in card registration since it opened its doors.
In total there have been:
- Total card registrations: 597 (Approximately 25 a day!)
- Total children’s card registrations: 198
- Total adult card registrations: 375
- Total card registrations for youth aged 13-18: 90