Kelowna Main Branch Library in Action

Kelowna Main Branch Library renovation opened in March this year and has been widely embraced by the community.  Read the description below of one days activities from Christine McPhee, Head Librarian!

"Yesterday was a very exciting day at the Kelowna Library – and in the midst of all the hard work that everyone has and is continuing to put in to this branch, it’s worth taking a minute to reflect on the impact of all that work.

I arrived at work yesterday afternoon to wander into the Pop-Up Makerspace to find Mark Reinelt, Amy Wright and Keenan Farquharson hosting the First Page Book Club (a reading club for adults with diversabilities that meets weekly at the branch) in the Makerspace – they all made laser etched and cut bookmarks out of wood on the laser cutter, and got their pictures taken in front of the green screen wearing a pirate hat so we could transport them to the deck of a pirate ship using the green screen app on our iPad! They loved it! 

It was the 8th day the Makerspace has been open this month and we again had over 50 people through – some return visitors who have become regulars – and most of whom stayed in the space for over an hour trying all the different stations.

In the afternoon we started the second of a series of workshops we are doing with Work BC – Resume writing, cover letter writing, and interview skills. The first resume writing workshop had only one attendee – yesterday we had 6! Work BC is very pleased with the result and is excited to keep developing this series in partnership with us. We have identified that Work BC is only able to work with people who already have a base level of computer skill so there is an opportunity for us to deliver a “pre-requisite” basic computer course that they would refer people to – we are working on that now.

In the evening, Jamie hosted our regular crowd of gamers – 28 people were there, including a few families who have become regulars – sharing their love of gaming in community.

We also hosted a World Refugee Day event in partnership with KCR and Central Okanagan Local Immigrant Partnership – a screening of the film Taaloo Zorouna “A Visit with our Syrian Neighbours” made by a faculty member at UBCO in which she interviewed several families who recently settled in the Okanagan from Syria. Mayor Colin Basran attended to open the event, along with a couple of the families in the film and the film maker. There were 60 people in attendance to learn about and offer support to the new refugee families living among us, and the space and the projection were perfect – even on a bright sunny evening.

The Spanish Language Intercambio group – who are already outgrowing our new meeting rooms – had a full house last night of 12 people. This group has grown from a few English speakers practicing Spanish to a nice mix of native English and native Spanish speakers learning both languages in cooperation. And finally, a Community Support Group was also meeting in the branch in one of our new meeting rooms.

We had a total of about 185 people in programs / meetings yesterday (without any children’s programming running!) – but those numbers don’t tell the story of the diverse range of activities, and the diversity of communities we are supporting in Kelowna. 

And this was just one day. Kelowna Library is an amazing place to be most of the time – but it was extra specialyesterday so I thought I’d share. None of this would be happening without the support we’ve had to renovate this space to meet community needs, and without the amazing staff who build community and relationships one customer interaction at a time."