Renovations complete to downtown Nanaimo library

NANAIMO – Harbourfront library branch is open again and patrons have the ability to publish their own books.

Jonathon Bigelow

Jonathon Bigelow

Nanaimo Harbourfront library branch is open again, and not only can patrons enjoy new, swankier digs, they have the ability to publish their own books.

The library closed for renovations in April and re-opened Oct. 20 with more computers, DVDs, audiobooks and an Espresso Book Machine, which allows for people in Nanaimo and the Vancouver Island Regional Library’s service area to have a book printed and bound.

The machine had a price tag of $85,000, with money coming from provincial literacy funding, according to Jamie Anderson, director of library services and planning.

“Essentially we purchased it basically as a literacy tool,” said Anderson. “While the machine itself lives in Nanaimo, it’s really giving us an outreach opportunity [to the service area]. This year we’ve launched what we call a digital-storytelling-in-a-box kit.

“So this can go out to the branches and our librarians can present this class to local authors, or local writing groups, and it shows them how to basically get started with digitally publishing their own material.”

According to Jason Kuffler, regional library divisional manager of community engagement, there will be a charge of $6 a book and a $15 set-up fee for self-published titles. In addition, five cents a page will be charged for black-and-white printing and 50 cents for colour, with bulk discounts available.

Diane Brennan, Nanaimo city council’s representative on the library board, said she’s pleased with the refurbished library.

“I’m impressed, there’s just so much light in there. There’s huge floor-to-ceiling windows that we, as library users, never saw before because there was the shelving and other things that were placed in front of it, so it’s really beautiful,” said Brennan.

Anderson said the total renovation budget for Harbourfront was approximately $900,000, including shelving, furniture and construction, and was on time and budget.

Harbourfront branch will hold an open house on Nov. 7 at 1 p.m.

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