While books contain information about the past, a Regina library is looking to the future.
Regina Public Library (RPL) unveiled their rebuilt George Bothwell branch – located in the Southland Mall — and it now includes a café with a virtual fireplace, 3D printers, and PS4 virtual reality headsets.
“This was one where we really had a blank canvas,” Darryl Lucke, board chair of the RPL, said. “It’s kind of a putting together of everything that the community wanted along with the latest in technology because we’re here to make sure we meet the needs of all citizens, not just a certain few.
While the library has moved towards a more digital design, the core of it remains the same. The number of books hasn’t changed. There’s just more space for people to sit and read at the library. There are also now a vast number of power outlets for people to charge their smartphones and tablets.
The 17,000 square foot is 4,000 feet bigger than the previous one, and provides a direct entrance to the mall. The budget for the renovations was $3 million dollars and Lucke said they came in under budget and finished ahead of schedule.
Those who attended the grand opening are giving the library positive reviews.
“I think it’s really quite beautiful,” said Darlene Clifford.
“This is amazing. It’s beautiful, it’s bright, it’s amazing,” Brenda Frederiksen said. “There’s lots of room, there’s lots of different areas to sit in.”
“This teen section with the giant TV and video games appears to be going over very well,” said Kyle Newlend.
The library didn’t have to sacrifice anything to implement these changes and the number of books found inside is the same as it were before the renovations.
Lucke said one of the things they wanted to make the library a community space. Two private rooms are available to be signed out by groups and are also available to use outside of library hours.
All of the bookshelves are on wheels and can easily be moved to accommodate any community events that take place in the library.
“We know what we are and we know where we’ve been but it knows where you’re and what you want to do in the future is what’s important,” Lucke said. “We see the current trends and what’s going on in libraries around North America and we want to bring that to the citizens of Regina because they should have the best.”