Okanagan Regional Library AGM showcases the changing role of libraries - InfoNews

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Okanagan Regional Library AGM showcases the changing role of libraries

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February 18, 2017 - 11:08 AM

KELOWNA - On Wednesday, the Okanagan Regional Library Board AGM took place in the downtown Kelowna Branch. 

Phase 1 of the library’s renovation is almost complete, with new flooring throughout, and a repurposed 3000 square foot area, which now offers classroom spaces and a reading lounge.  Classrooms are separated by moveable glass panels, so the whole area can also still be used as one big space.  Coming soon will be links to the Okanagan Centre for Innovation and new group study spaces, as the library continues its transformation into a learning and community partnership space.  Phase 2 of the renovation will involve a significant fundraising campaign, and will include a public recording studio, makerspace, new children’s play elements, and a business centre.

While at the branch, Board members saw a demonstration of new technological elements that are being introduced into youth programming, including Raspberry Pi mini-computers that help teach skills like coding, Squishy Circuits that help kids understand electricity, and Makey Makey kits that can turn everyday objects into touchpads that are connected to a computer.

Chair Catherine Lord, the ORL representative from Vernon City Council, opened the meeting by celebrating a year of achievements, including a 19% increase in program attendance. System-wide, online and in person visits were up by 5.5% over the previous year, and active members increased by 2.4%.  Circulation of physical and electronic materials increased by 2.6%, with the introduction of free online access to Lynda.com, PressReader, and Rosetta Stone also proving very popular.  Planning for a new service location in West Kelowna and a relocation of the Armstrong Branch also got underway in 2016.

The new Armstrong location will be 20% larger and feature a teen study space and group meeting room, along with some great new furnishings provided by the Township of Spallumcheen.  Grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony will take place on April 1st at 9:45 AM featuring local elected officials and a magic show by Leif David.

The Board also discussed a recent uptick in security incidents in branches, and a range of approaches, from staff training, to foot patrols to coordinated community responses.

Board elections for 2017 were held, with Catherine Lord returning as Chair and Karla Kozakevitch taking on the role of Vice Chair.  Two new board members were welcomed, with Hank Cameron replacing Mike McNabb as RDNO representative and Nick Hodge replacing Lori Mindnich as the representative from Lumby Council.

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