How Coquitlam squandered its chance at having a truly functional library
By Craig Allan, Staff Writer
This month, I found myself with a problem. Even though I had studied like crazy, I didn’t feel like I was ready for my midterms (considering I failed the very test I was studying for, I was certainly not ready), so I decided to study on a Sunday. Normally I would go to the Douglas College library at the Coquitlam Campus, but the library, along with the entire campus itself, is closed on Sundays.
This meant that I had to journey down to the Coquitlam Public Library (CPL) on Pinetree. Rarely does one come across such a poorly built building in this century, but the CPL may very well be one of the most impoverished design structures of the last decade.
First comes the parking. Now this library is right across the street from the Lincoln Skytrain Station, but it was easier for me to drive. The parking is good at the building, but it has an annoying catch; if you stay longer than four hours, you must ask for an extension. This involves going to the help desk, getting paper proof that you need to stay longer, going back to your car just to put it in the window. Instead of getting the spot number, or just putting your licence plate in a database, you have to leave the library just to prove you have been there for four hours. This is annoying is because the following factor: the shockingly low amount of study space.
The CPL opened in 2012, replacing the “library” that was located at city hall. At that time, it was clear to see where libraries were heading. E-books were exploding in popularity, and everyone could see that they were going to be a big part of the future.
Yet, when this library was built, they seemed to build it under the guise that it was a exclusively for books. However, a modern library is a place where you can go and study, get a computer, and plug in your laptop. Unfortunately, most of the floor space at CPL consists of books, and the study space seems to be squeezed in as an afterthought. There are 10 desks near a wall that have an outlet on them but that’s it.
The rest of the tables just seem to be placed wherever the library could find the room. One glaring example of this are the tables set near a large computer room; these tables were clearly not meant to be study tables. Hell, one part of it has drawers so you can’t even put your feet under the desk.
Another part has a seating area where the table can’t be much more than 17 centimetres. Now, the problem with having to leave to update parking becomes clear. In order to do it, I had to give up my prime studying space to go put the extension on my car. Douglas College, please open the campuses on Sundays so I don’t have to go to this putrid library ever again.
It’s disappointing, because the city had a chance to make a truly modern library, but they squandered it to build a library of the past. The books should have been put into a storage area on site, and if someone wanted a specific book, a librarian could go and get that book.
Instead, they decided to put the books front and centre—and in doing so, created an outdated library… obsolete from opening day onward.