View Royal Reading Centre gets its happy ending – for now

Community comes together to preserve library location for one year

Doreen Jackman

Doreen Jackman

At the 11th hour the View Royal Reading Centre is saved from closing and will remain at its current location for at least another year.

It was down to the wire for the local library’s organizers, who were looking into other options as an Oct. 31 deadline to come up with either more funding or a new home loomed. Now, thanks to the help of some local politicians and a willing landlord, the rent will be reduced for the centre.

“Relief,” said library manager Doreen Jackman of her reaction to the news. “‘Oh thank God, we’ve got it resolved.’ It’s just been a stress on the whole committee.”

The centre, which will celebrate its 70th anniversary next year, survives on donations, sales of books no longer needed, money raised from bake sales and other events and an annual $25,000 grant from the Town of View Royal. The centre used to receive money from the province until all funding for reading centres was cut about two years ago.

Earlier in the year the committee that runs the centre determined it would not be able to afford to keep the long-running institution going. The date for closure was set for the end of the month, unless a new source of funding or a new location could be found.

“We were quite sure there was no further funding coming,” Jackman said. “Nobody was interested in having us and we couldn’t afford to move anywhere. It was ‘oh, I guess we’ll have to close.’”

With the help of View Royal Mayor Graham Hill and Coun. David Screech, reading centre staff talked to the managers and owner of the Admirals Walk plaza, who agreed to charge the centre a cheaper rate so they can afford to stay on.

“It’s a pretty amazing deal really, for that space,” Screech said. “I certainly respect what they do there, I think all of council does. We value their work and what they offer.”

The agreement is only for one year, at which point the centre will have to reopen talks about staying in the location.

“It’s a great relief to all of us that we’re going to be staying here,” Jackman said. “We like all the people that come in and out. Most of them we know by name.”

The centre moved from the old View Royal town hall to its current location four years ago. Since then Jackman said the centre has thrived, with about 1,200 patrons signed up and a circulation of 600 to 800 books per month.

 

Volunteers are always needed, as are donations. For more information call 250-479-2723 or email

vivr.ill@shaw.ca.