The Okanagan Regional Library in Revelstoke is requesting support from the city for their RevLab project.
Announced earlier this year, RevLab will be a technology-enabled maker space that will feature a multimedia recording studio, a whisper room for sound recording, a virtual gaming headset and much more.
The Columbia Basin Trust is contributing $127,000 to the project for the purchase of equipment and software. The library will contribute $48,000.
However, the grant from the trust is contingent on the library constructing a new space, which they are currently fundraising for. They estimate it will take an additional $119,000.
In a presentation at the July 9 council meeting, Lucie Bergeron, community librarian in Revelstoke, said they desperately need more space and would like to expand their capacity to help people who have low digital and technology literacy.
She asked that city council make a “significant contribution” to this much needed space, support the creation of the space needed for RevLab and include the library in the Official Community Plan.
“The library is already playing a significant role in our community supporting vulnerable populations,” Bergeron said.
They see people using their computers and internet to file government forms and conduct job and home searches. Bergeron said they offer assistance as well.
“We are acting as a day shelter,” she said. “We are very full, especially in the winter. We have many many people in the library who are studying, working and also when they’re living in a house where there is 12, 15 people and it’s just not a place where they want to be, we give them a relatively peaceful place to hang out.”
RevLab is meant to be a space where people can access introductory level digital media and technology that is needed to get by in today’s world, Bergeron said.
It will be a free place for everyone to access. Bergeron said it will also be a good place for businesses and entrepreneurs to learn new skills such as making and editing videos to be more competitive in the marketplace.
Bergeron added that part of the long term plan is to educate, not just provide access to the technology.
“We’re currently an asset in reducing poverty,” Bergeron said.