Pop-Up Branch a Hit with Library Users
Prince George, B.C. – The pop-up branch of the Prince George Public Library is proving to be a hit with customers.
The facility is open at Pine Centre Mall during the Canada Winter Games.
“It’s been going really well. Our expectations were definitely that it would be popular and that people would appreciate being able to go to the mall – I don’t know that we realized how busy it really would be,” says communications coordinator Andrea Palmer.
“On Tuesday we had 200 people and it was a programming day and they (library staff) are noticing programming days are busier of course because you’ve got the children and families coming in for a purpose.”
She says they’re seeing a little more than half that amount when library programs aren’t running and notes they’ve been receiving positive feedback from patrons.
“A lot of husbands are thrilled that they have somewhere they can read and hang out while their wives and daughters shop. People are really excited about the access, lots of people are saying this is so great I wish you could stay.”
But can they?
“We would love to stay, that’s the quick answer. The long answer is that we currently operate as a library system that is staffed and funded for two branches.”
Palmer says the pop-branch is usually staffed with two, sometime three employees, which can put a strain on their two main branches.
“It doesn’t sound like a lot of bodies but the reality is we operate on a shoestring and we are not able to continue to operate at the full level of service without burdening our own staff and maybe getting behind for our customers.”
(The Canada Games Host Society is providing funding for the pop-up branch while the library covers staffing & material management costs).
She does acknowledge the need is there.
“It’s long been known, we had a study done years ago evaluating our community needs, we do need a third branch in this city. The city is actually under-served when it comes to library services for its population and size.”
Palmer doesn’t completely rule out a return to the mall and says there’s a survey people can fill out if they happen to visit the pop-up branch.
“It’s about seven questions, it takes you about a minute to do if you do it with one of the staff members. Do they want us to stay in the mall? Would they like to see a branch in another part of the community? It’ll give us a great idea of maybe a bigger ask we can come to the city with some day.”