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Iconic New City Centre Library Now Open!

August 16, 2011

Surrey, BC – After much anticipation, the public will soon have the opportunity to tour the architecturally stunning City Centre Library and to use its state-of-the-art services when the new facility opens its doors on September 6 at 9:30 a.m.

“Libraries continue to act as public institutions that inspire learning and knowledge, empower people, and encourage open dialogue,” says Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts. “Our new City Centre Library will be an iconic landmark for downtown and a great public space for the community to gather. It will attract visitors from all parts of the region and help us continue to redefine our city and create a downtown core that is dynamic and unique.

Designed by local architect Bing Thom, this new building takes into account the fact that the role of public libraries is changing and that the warehousing and distribution of books is no longer the primary focus.

The Library boasts a number of green features, including a green roof, and will aim for LEED Silver certification. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally-recognized green building certification system.

Beth Barlow, Chief Librarian for Surrey Libraries adds, “Surrey Libraries attracted over 2.4 million visitors last year. We know that the addition of a new building will attract even more people. At 82,000 sq. ft., our largest library is equipped with the latest in technology, including over 80 public computers and access to wireless service. It also features a large children’s library, a coffee shop and quiet and group study areas. Other special services include our Read-Ability Services Department, which provides services for people with print disabilities. It has been relocated from the Guildford Library to a more accessible ground floor space at City Centre. With all these resources to offer, we are anticipating that the new library will quickly become a destination."

The City Centre Library will house over 100,000 books and other items, with space for up to 150,000 including materials in 17 world languages and an English as a Second Language collection. The City Centre Library will also house the Library Administration offices. Classes will be offered by Simon Fraser University’s Continuing Studies Department and by DiverseCITY Community Resources in leased space on the 4th floor.

Surinder Bhogal, the Manager of City Centre Library, notes that the building also includes 3 meeting rooms for the community to rent, a 12 seat Computer Learning Centre and a teen lounge and gaming area. “We look forward to serving everyone here at our beautiful new Library. Our regular Whalley customers will be surprised and delighted by the range of services offered at this location. We will also be piloting innovative services at the City Centre Library, such as the loan of 20 eBook readers, each one loaded with over 100 old and new titles. We invite you to come in and see what else we have to offer.”

The grand opening of the facility is scheduled for September 24, 2011.

About Surrey Libraries:

History: Established in 1983, Surrey Libraries provide a full range of educational, recreational and leisure materials and services to meet a variety of learning and leisure needs for this diverse community.

Purpose: Every day, the Library helps people discover something new, connect with their community or feel inspired by our programs and services. The Library is a gathering place; a symbol of intellectual curiosity and respect for learning. We provide access to local and global information and ideas, and offer community programming that encourages literacy and supports lifelong learning for all Surrey residents.

Programs and Services Provided: Includes information services, Internet access, computer training, books in many languages, storytimes for children and programs for adults – all are provided free and available to all the residents of Surrey. Residents of other B.C. cities and towns may also borrow materials- ask staff for information.

Surrey Libraries serves a community of over 460,000:

  • 1,909,000 website page views to our website at
  • 2,437,500 people visited our 9 libraries in 2010
  • 4,047,000 items borrowed