Vancouver Public Library Rooftop Garden; Strategic Plan Announcement

Comments 3 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Yesterday the Vancouver Public Library gave media access to their rooftop green space at the Central Branch in downtown Vancouver. This 28,000 square foot “garden in the sky” served as the perfect stage for their strategic plan announcement that includes intentions to expand community spaces, create dynamic collaboration zones, and offer high-tech creation spaces for their nearly 350,000 active card holders across 22 locations.

Aerial Photos from News1130 Air Patrol

From the sky, the green roof of the Central Branch looks like a river, which is part of the aesthetic that was created when the iconic building first opened in 1995. The rooftop garden is covered in native BC plants and grasses, along with a resident family of geese that spends its time meandering through the bushes overlooking Crosstown, Yaletown, False Creek and BC Place.

VPL's Green Roof

VPL's Green Roof VPL's Green Roof

VPL's Green Roof

VPL's Green Roof VPL's Green Roof

VPL's Green Roof

The Central Branch also has a north and south plaza, accessible from the 8th floor. In the long-term plan (2015 onward), these open-air courtyards and even the roof will become community spaces where patrons can step outside and enjoy library services in the sunshine. For now, they symbolize the mindset of the library, moving forward to serve the public and offer modern amenities.

VPL's Green Roof VPL's Green Roof

VPL's Green Roof VPL's Green Roof VPL's Green Roof

Over the next three years the library has significant plans:

  • Launch bold new ways to deliver service – when and where patrons want it:
    • At the central library, for instance, library staff enabled by mobile technology will soon come to patrons (not the other way around) to help them where and when needed in the building.

    Among other initiatives:

    • Create new and re-energized community spaces – including new and redeveloped branches (Downtown Eastside/Strathcona, for instance, and Oakridge and Marpole);
    • Continue planning for the long-awaited “garden in the sky” – access to the green space on the roof of the central library downtown – something originally planned, but not yet realized;
    • Explore use of digital interfaces so VPL is a platform for community creativity and knowledge to showcase Vancouver’s history, stories and memory:
      • A digital media space (3,000 square feet) dubbed VPL’s Inspiration Lab is planned to open at the central library in late 2014, and could potentially include a digital recording studio, video editing software and workstations, an interactive music lab and more;
    • Re-engage users who may not have used the library for some time, and enhance access to library collections, staff expertise and VPL’s community space with nearly 2,300 more opening hours a year system-wide – equivalent to roughly 285 eight-hour opening days.

    VPL's Green Roof VPL's Green Roof

    Chief Librarian, Sandra Singh says that VPL has an extensive network of fee-free public spaces across the city — 22 in all offering more than 500,000 square feet of space — but roughly half of its branches are still closed two days a week and many are closed in the evenings. You can read the full strategic plan outline on the Vancouver Public Library website and follow them on Twitter @VPL for news, special events and announcements, and information.

3 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. PuckThursday, April 25th, 2013 — 10:18am PDT

    Every time I go to the Central Branch I fervently wish I could access the roof. Always wanted to see what that rooftop garden was like. And now we have pictures!

    Would love it if it was opened up to the public.

  2. RuthThursday, April 25th, 2013 — 10:50am PDT

    Ditto Puck. I do love the Central Library.

  3. ScottThursday, April 25th, 2013 — 2:11pm PDT

    When they originally unveiled the design for the new library, I was not impressed and thought it would be a gaudy and pretentious building in my beautiful city. In the years since it has opened, I have grown to love it and it is an amazing addition! I heard about the rooftop patio years ago and never knew why they were keeping it to themselves, it is in a building called a PUBLIC library, so it should be open to the public to enjoy. I look forward to the day it is finally made just that, public!

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