While it’s just one of 25 branches in the Fraser Valley Regional Library network, Terry Fox Library is Port Coquitlam’s only one.
And soon, it will make its way into the revamped and expanded Port Coquitlam Community Centre — a move that’s just steps away from its current site at the downtown corner of Wilson Avenue and Mary Hill Road.
Next Thursday, library staff and volunteers will bid farewell to the 36-year-old brick structure with a public party from 1 to 4 p.m.
The goodbye is meant to be informal: A drop-in where PoCo residents can mingle with librarians and other library users over refreshments a few weeks before the building is turned to rubble and is replaced with a plaza.
“We know how important the Terry Fox Library is to the community,” said library manager Kimberley Constable, “so we want to take some time to reminiscence.”
There will be a memory tree as well as archival images and mementos, including from the library’s namesake’s Marathon of Hope to raise money for cancer research.
But while the move is later this summer, Constable said she still has no idea of the actual departure date. As a result, the branch will continue to stay open for as long as possible right through July.
Constable had a hand in designing the new library space, a light-filled branch split over two storeys that face north; the children’s section is on the ground floor while administrative offices and a computer lab are above.
As for the solid granite statue of Terry Fox that has stood outside the branch since it opened in 1983 — a landmark built by George Pratt — city managers are looking at options to store it temporarily (professional movers will be hired to transport the public artwork).
For years, there have been calls to replace the aging library building and to meet demand. Last year, according to numbers provided by the FVRL, the Terry Fox branch issued 1,788 new library cards; it also had 26,680 active users and 260,893 physical items in circulation in 2018.
But it’s not just books that are checked out: The branch also offers digital technologies, telescopes and ukuleles, and its literacy programs are also draws. As well, the Friends of Terry Fox Library non-profit group fundraises for librarians’ wish lists.
“We are looking forward to the new and improved Terry Fox Library in our city so we can continue to deliver key sources of information — in a variety of different ways — with exceptional customer service,” said PoCo Coun. Nancy McCurrach, city council’s representative on the FVRL board of directors. “I wonder what lies ahead in the next 36 years as we move into the future with libraries.”
The city council that opened the Terry Fox Library in 1983. PHOTO: POCO HERITAGE