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Temporary library opens Tuesday in Oak Bay after asbestos scare

Monterey centre remains home, though smaller, to local book branch
Monterey Recreation Centre hosts a temporary Oak Bay branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library while renovations are underway on the Monterey Avenue building. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)

Following the identification of asbestos at the Oak Bay branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL), rigorous testing conducted by the District of Oak Bay has determined that no exposure had occurred in public or staff areas.

The Oak Bay branch remains closed for up to 12 weeks while the abatement process is underway to eliminate any possible future disturbances or exposure to asbestos.

Storytime is back in Oak Bay starting March 15.

The program makes a triumphant return as Oak Bay opens a temporary location after the sudden closure of the local branch Jan. 26, due to an asbestos scare.

READ ALSO: Late fees waived as readers face 12-week closure of Oak Bay library

A positive result during routine testing ahead of planned minor renovations to the library branch led to the abrupt closure as the district - which owns the building - embarked on aggressive air tests and determined there was no exposure. With the library closed, district staff seized the opportunity to remove known encapsulated – sealed and contained – asbestos from the site.

The library is expected to remain closed a full 12 weeks, with the hope of making the planned renovations in that time as well – avoiding a future closure.

RELATED: Oak Bay opts to remove known asbestos at popular library branch

While testing cleared the air, the district and GVPL opted to embark on planned renovations and sought a solution to programming, holds and pickups for the active Oak Bay branch.

The Cedar Room at the Monterey Recreation Centre becomes a temporary pop-up library starting March 7 at 10 a.m. and remain open until services resume at the regular location.

The temporary branch hours are Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.. Sunday hours run 1 to 5 p.m. starting March 12 until April 23.

READ ALSO: Proactive testing sounds alarm of asbestos at Oak Bay library branch

Available services include hold pickups, a small but diverse browsing collection, wi-fi and drop in indoor family storytime starting March 15 at 10:30 a.m.. Items can be returned to any GVPL location and the temporary drop box outside Monterey Recreation Centre.

For more information on library services visit or call 250-940-4875 Monday to Saturday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.


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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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