Following postponements due to ongoing library worker strikes, the Vancouver Island Regional Library finally celebrated the opening of its newest branch in Sooke on Saturday.
In March, members of the BC General Employees’ Union working as librarians for the VIRL went on strike, seeking a deal that aligned their compensation with other libraries in B.C.
After nearly two months of picketing various branches, the union and VIRL came to an agreement.
On Saturday, celebrations were held to make the opening of the new state-of-the-art facility in Sooke.
The over 13,000-square-foot building features a children’s area, fireplace lounge, laptop bar, study space, bookable rooms and more.
“Just being able to witness other people in this space helps reduce levels of social isolation, of course, that’s been seen so much during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Nathalie Jones, customer services librarian for the Sooke and Port Renfrew branches.
“So it’s nice that the library is able to provide that sort of space for people and help people feel like they belong safely here.”
VIRL says the new branch was years in the making, and that it will be a centrepiece and focal point in the development and growth of central Sooke.