Nanaimo's Harbourfront branch will close temporarily for renovations this spring.

Nanaimo's Harbourfront branch will close temporarily for renovations this spring.

Upgrades slated for downtown Nanaimo library

NANAIMO – Internet access will be limited during renovations.

A temporary library closure will mean people needing public Internet access will have to rely on federal and provincial service centres for online access to government services.

Vancouver Island Regional Library’s Harbourfront branch will close temporarily for renovations this spring.

The regional library organization hasn’t publicly announced a start date for work or estimated costs, but construction will get underway sometime in the spring and hopefully be completed within six months.

“Once we get some contractors lined up we should get a really good idea of firmer dates and costs,” said Natasha Bartlett, library spokeswoman. “It is a complete renovation of the entire facility.”

New flooring, paint, furniture, fixtures and library equipment will be renewed throughout the building, plus the library will add Creativity Commons, which will also be home to a book-publishing machine available to the public.

While the branch is closed, a holds-pickup area for library items ordered online will be set up beside the branch in the former CTV studio and will be open during regular branch hours.

A new computer lab is also included in the renovation plans, but while the branch is closed people who rely on the library’s public Internet access will have to go elsewhere for basic services.

Bartlett said the library is compiling a list of alternative public Internet access providers in downtown Nanaimo, which will be available to the public, but she encourages people to go to the Wellington and North Nanaimo branches for all services, if possible.

“Every time I come to work I usually have a lineup of at least a dozen people … so obviously it’s something that is a desired service, so we’re trying as best we can to help with the transition,” Bartlett said.

For crucial government online services, people can go to the Service B.C. office at 460 Selby St., which has two computer terminals for B.C. government services only.

“We don’t want people to come all the way up here and be frustrated because, say, they’re looking for their SIN card and we don’t do that,” said Alison Moore, government agent.

For public access to federal government online services downtown, the public can access computers at the Service Canada Centre at 60 Front St.

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