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Vancouver Public Library opens new branch in Winter Games venue

The first full-service library branch in Vancouver’s Riley Park­ and Little Mountain neighbourhoods opened last week, thanks to the city’s Olympic legacy planning. Vancouver Public Library’s new Terry Salman Branch is located in the Hillcrest Community Centre, site of the Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Centre during the 2010 Winter Games. The building also houses an NHL-size ice rink, curling club, preschool, field house, fitness centre, plus indoor and outdoor aquatics facilities.

Branch manager Cathy Wang (front row, centre) and library staff opened VPL's new Terry Salman Branch on Oct. 13.

According to VPL chief librarian Sandra Singh, the new branch will finally allow the library to offer a range of children’s and teen’s programming, additional technological materials and Internet terminals, and community-specific services and collections, such as Chinese-language resources, to this service area. We just weren’t able to do it [all] in the previous branch, Singh says.

The 7,500 sq. ft. branch, named after the chair of the VPL Foundation Board who recently donated $300,000, is six times bigger than the VPL’s former Riley Park Storefront Branch, which closed its doors on Sept. 17.

Terry Salman branch manager Cathy Wang says the timing of the opening couldn’t be better. In the near future they’re talking about developing a market and low-cost housing nearby, so it’s a good time to replace our little storefront branch with a bigger facility because [the area is] going to be more densely populated.

In June, city council voted unanimously to increase VPL’s 2011 operating budget by $391,000 in order to ensure the fall opening, as well as a $957,100 increase in the 2012 budget to staff and operate the branch 78 hours a week (up from 43 hours a week at the storefront location).

A grand opening celebration will take place on Oct. 29.