A grand opening celebration for Vancouver Island Regional Library’s (VIRL) newest branch in Sooke will finally be held this June, after events were postponed due to ongoing librarian strikes. 

On Saturday, June 11th, the Sooke branch will offer special guests, children’s programs, live entertainment, speeches, snacks and more to officially open the state-of-the-art new library after years of planning, consulting and construction.

The new 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.

Although the library has been open to the public since late February, the official grand opening ceremony was postponed due to ongoing librarian strikes. 

See more: Official grand opening of Sooke library postponed due to ongoing librarian strikes

On March 9th, members of the BC General Employees’ Union (BCGEU) working as librarians for the Vancouver Island Regional Library (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 VIRL, when its members voted 95% in favour of a strike mandate.

In April, after nearly two months of demonstrations, the VIRL and BGEU came to an agreement, ceasing picketing action.

“From the moment the new branch opened its doors to the public in early 2022, the response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive,” says VIRL Board Chair, Gaby Wickstrom. 

“I cannot wait to visit the library firsthand, and it will be a special moment when I see all the smiling faces of community members who waited so long for it to happen. This gorgeous new library is fast becoming a space of inspiration and excitement for Sooke library users, and it is just getting started.” 

Sooke Library Grand Opening Celebrations

  • Where: 6671 Wadams Way, Sooke
  • When: 2 p.m., Saturday June 11th

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