Library reopens Wednesday

The Whitehorse Public Library will reopen next Wednesday, November 23. The new space, attached to the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre, is far more bright and spacious than the old haunt by the legislature.

The Whitehorse Public Library will reopen next Wednesday, November 23.

The new space, attached to the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre, is far more bright and spacious than the old haunt by the legislature.

Light pours in from six circular skylights in the centre of the second-storey space, while big windows overlook the Yukon River, offering a much-vaunted view.

But not much can be said for the neighbourhood, unless you consider the bus depot or liquor store to be attractions. Across from an expanse of empty lots, you’ll find a hollowed-out strip mall with a shuttered grocery store.

For now, at least, the area exists as a no-man’s land between diversified Main Street and its surroundings and Big-Box Land farther down the way.

It’s hoped that the new library and cultural centre will help change this and encourage further development along the riverfront. But, for now, there’s no place to grab a coffee near the library.

Especially with the recent nippy weather, it’s hard to imagine the new spot attracting as much foot traffic as the old location.

The new library is a sweet deal for the Kwanlin Dun, anyhow. It provides them with an anchor tenant to prop up their latest business venture: providing swish facilities to host conferences.

The library’s walls are bare for now. In coming months, they’ll be decorated with art from the government’s permanent collection, and eventually, the Friends of the Library plan to commission art for the building.

New computer desks are still on the way. Rather than cram computers into a single room, they’ll be scattered in clusters around the building.

A grand-opening celebration will be held on Saturday, December 3, starting at 10 a.m. It will include tours, games for kids, and the culmination of a contest that will see winners receive ebook readers.

The library also has slightly different hours. It’ll now be open from Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and from Friday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Previously, it was open on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The new drop box doesn’t yet work. But it will soon.

Readers with overdue books have been given amnesty during the month-long switch. But books are due back when the library reopens.

“But you might be lucky,” said Julie Ourom, the territory’s director of libraries.

December is usually the month when the library waives fines, so “you might have until the new year.”

Contact John Thompson at

johnt@yukon-news.com.