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Public invited to grand reopening of renovated Ashcroft Library

Library has a new look and additional features, including a pioneering service extender program
A new children’s section has been created at the back of the Ashcroft Lbrary where a storage room used to be (l), beside the meeting room. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

After undergoing a soft reopening in August, the Ashcroft Library is holding a grand reopening on Wednesday, Dec. 7 from 1 to 6 p.m., with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 2 p.m. The event will also feature refreshments, prizes, and a small gift for attendees (while quantities last), and opportunities to view the newly renovated library and the services it offers.

Staff and the public were invited to submit their ideas of what they wanted to see at the library when the renovation plans were first announced in summer 2020. The branch was closed from the Victoria Day weekend to mid-August, 2022 in order for the renovations — which include an expanded children’s area, updated technology, and “bar seating” where patrons can sit and use their own laptops or browse through materials — to be carried out.

The biggest change is the addition of a “service extender”, which will enable patrons to access the library for 52 hours a week, rather than just the 26 hours a week when staff are on site.

“It’s absolutely the first of its kind in B.C., and likely the first vendorless solution,” Thompson-Nicola Regional Library head librarian Judy Moore told the Journal. “It’s been created by the TNRL and IT technology support, and creates an opportunity for patrons to access the library outside regularly scheduled hours.”

The service extender will see Ashcroft patrons sign a user agreement; then, by using their library card and a PIN, they will be able to access the Ashcroft branch during all the hours that the downtown Kamloops branch is open, effectively doubling the number of hours the Ashcroft library is open.

All parts of the library will be available for study space, group meeting space, computer use, and photocopies. Patrons will be able to access any materials that are being held for them, and there will be a self-check option, so people can check out holds and other library materials. A security system will be in place, and people will not be able to access the library before the main Kamloops library opens for the day. Patrons will also be made aware of when the library is about to close.

While the library has undergone major exterior renovations over the years, most recently in 2016, the 2022 renovations are the first major alterations to the building’s interior since it was opened in August 1975. It was the 10th library to open in what was then called the Thompson-Nicola Library System (the ninth branch had opened in the Oasis Plaza in Cache Creek on Dec. 13, 1974).

An Ashcroft library had been located in various places over the years, including the second storey of the Ashcroft Journal building. In 1975 it was on the second floor of the Ashcroft Community Hall, and the Journal reported in December 1974 that while the new library was under construction, service would continue at that location under the supervision of Community Librarian Mary Reed and her staff, Colleen Mierau and Joan Sands, who were “actively engaged in developing increased services, in anticipation of the move to the new building.”

When the new branch was announced in 1974, the Journal noted that “A special feature of the building will be provision for multi-media services, namely, storage for film, cassettes, art prints, and models. It is expected that regular film programs and travel lectures will be a feature of the services sponsored by the new library.

“This is in line with the policy of the Board of Management, which emphasizes the importance of the library developing into a lively cultural and educational centre in the community.”

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