Books, movie vending mulled for West Shore library branch

Langford considers extra $1.5 million to help cover cost of new library

The Greater Victoria Public Library is one step closer to having a new facility on the West Shore.

Currently under construction in the new Westhills YM-YWCA building, the library will be a point of pride for the GVPL – the organization highly anticipates the facility’s opening, to be able to show it off to the community.

In a letter to the Langford recently presented to the city’s administration and finance committee, GVPL CEO Maureen Sawa highlighted some of what she is looking forward to in the new facility.

“Capitalizing on the extensive operating hours of the YM-YWCA,” she says, “this branch will offer a 24/7 open foyer for automated check in, as well as provide access to popular materials for users to borrow after hours via a vending machine.”

Automated check-in was long ago identified as a requirement for GVPL facilities, she adds, but a library vending machine will be a first for both the library and the City of Langford.

In terms of design, Sawa says the concept plan for the facility provides the public with spaces to interact or create, areas for quiet reading or study and collection displays for both physical and digital materials.

The furniture will all be easily movable, to allow for reconfiguration to suit users’ needs and allow for the incorporation of innovative services and programs.

Langford city council was expected to accept a recommendation from the committee on Monday evening that would see an additional $1.5-million added to the “Festivals and Other Culture” budget section in their overall five-year financial plan. Much of this additional funding is to be earmarked to helping to get the new Westhills facility up and running.

Last April, the library’s board of directors approved working with the City of Langford – which expressed interest in developing a new facility at the Westhills location – and this is the next step in that process, says Lynn Jordan, deputy CEO of the GVPL.

“The library doesn’t own any property,” she says, “so the municipalities own all of the buildings we’re in and they pay the capital costs for those buildings.”

The municipalities also pay into the regional library operating costs. Langford currently pays more than $1.5 million per year into that fund – an amount scheduled to reach nearly $1.8 million in 2019 – which is their portion of operating costs for all library facilities operated by the GVPL.

The influx of new money would be specifically designated, according to Jordan, for the “set-up” of the library in the facility, once the construction has been completed on the building. This will include furniture, hardware, shelving, computer systems, and, of course, the book collection.

For more information on the GVPL and its programs, services and offerings, visit

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