Chilliwack library turns another new page

Changes to the Chilliwack Library have helped to make it more inviting.

The Chilliwack Library has undergone a number of upgrades

The Chilliwack Library has undergone a number of upgrades

Walk into Chilliwack Library and the changes are instantly noticeable.

No longer a claustrophobic information overload, the downtown library is now more akin to an open space retail bookshop.

Complete with comfy seating and other aesthetically pleasing accents.

“Before when you walked in, you were met by a wall,” said librarian Smitty Miller.

“We’re really trying to make it more accessible … more inviting.”

In the last year, Miller and her staff have transformed the library into a more welcoming space.

“Unsightly” barriers at the front door, including the community bulletin board and self checkouts, have been removed and or relocated. A multi-leveled shelf, featuring new releases , has been added – with book fronts facing out rather than the old-school display of spines.

And the cherry on top:

Two café style chairs, separated by a coffee table in the shape of stacked books, strategically placed at the front entrance.

The only thing missing is a cup of Joe.

“This is what people want,” said Miller. “They want to be able to browse, they want suggestions, they want to be in and out.

“It’s retail ad nauseam.”

All signage, some of which used to be hand-written, has been replaced with the FVRL brand.

New furniture was purchased from outlets that supply coffee and bookstore chains, rather than library suppliers. Tiered display tables offer suggestions of books, DVDs, magazines and more. There’s even a shelf of “grab-and-go” bags for the in-and-out customers.

The children’s section was brightened up with new furniture. A laptop bar was installed at the back of the library. The old study carrels were removed. And there’s plans to incorporate a meeting room in the future.

It’s all in an effort of “taking customer service to the next level.”

“We want the library to be such a good experience that people will want to keep coming back,” said Miller. “We can’t just sit and wait for people to come, not in the modern world, where there’s so much out there competing for attention.

“I have a really easy product to sell because what I’m selling is free. I just have to make it more inviting.”

Chilliwack’s senior population must surely approve.

A wheelchair and walker are now located at the front entrance; the information desk now has a chair for those needing to sit; a listening station has been installed; large print publications have been moved closer to the front desk; and a basket of reading glasses are also on hand for those weary eyes.

Small but significant additions.

“One lady told me she can now leave her walker in the car; she doesn’t have to fuss with it when she comes here,” said Miller.

“We’re very aware of the fact that our population is aging. The public library stands for access to all, and anytime we can make it more accessible to more of that all, then we’re doing our job.”

If you haven’t been to the library lately, said Miller, you must.

“This is not your granddaddy’s library anymore,” she said.

kbartel@theprogress.com

twitter.com/schoolscribe33

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The annual Make a Difference Sale in Abbotsford is moving online for 2021. (File photo)
Make a Difference Sale in Abbotsford goes virtual for 2021

Annual auction raises money for world hunger through Canadian Foodgrains Bank

The Bug Girl, written by seven-year-old Sophia Spencer, is being given to 500 B.C. classrooms as part of Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month. (Submitted photos)
Reading challenges part of Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month

Abbotsford-based BC Agriculture in the Classroom participates in 10th annual event

Two teens were sent to hospital after being stabbed Saturday evening. (Shane MacKichan photo)
Two teens stabbed in Abbotsford

20-year-old man has been detained

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Inez Louis, who is strategic operations planner with the health department in the Sto:lo Service Agency, talks about infection control in the latest YouTube video about COVID-19 created in partnership with the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice and the Chilliwack Economic Recovery Network. (YouTube)
VIDEO: Nurse Inez Louis explains how infection control is not social control

The difference is important for Indigenous people to hear in the context of Canada’s colonial past

Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Approximate location of the vehicle incident. (Google Maps)
Vehicle incident blocking Coquihalla traffic in both directions

Both directions of traffic stopped due to vehicle incident

Most Read