Northwest Community College students worried about future of its library

A group of students in Terrace B.C. say they’re frustrated at being denied the chance to speak to the college board.

Northwest Community College students continue to be worried about the shape

A group of Northwest Community College students say they’re frustrated at being denied the chance to speak to its governing board regarding proposed changes to the library at its Terrace campus.

The student group wanting to present was placed on the agenda for last week’s board meeting but was removed after college administrators considered the situation resolved.

Their follow up request to speak and put forward an altered motion was denied by board chair Herb Pond, saying the issue isn’t within the board’s mandate. In a letter to students’ union at the college, Pond described the matter as an “operating issue” and one best suited for college president Ken Burt.

Proposals to move or downsize the library have been a source of contention for more than a year, drawing opposition from students who regard it as a valuable resource and place of study.

Adelle Jonker, a social work student heavily involved in the student’s library lobby group, said the decision to deny students from speaking to the board was confusing and frustrating.

“It was very important for us to give the board of governors a student perspective… to tell what students feel about it,” Jonker said, adding that they tried multiple ways to get a chance to present their concerns to the board, but they weren’t allowed.

She says students feel the library is under threat because proposals have been raised to alter or move the service twice in the last year. First it was a proposal last spring to move the library into the longhouse, and then an option to downsize the facility by half was included in a college-wide consultation meeting in January, where plans to renovate the college’s trades building were unveiled.

The option was one of two options put forward to staff and students regarding plans to accommodate the trades building renovation, and information was sparse about which changes were temporary and which would be permanent.



Caption: Students Sandra Hadjirul, Carmen Hooge and Gurveer Kaur study together at the Northwest Community College library.


“The library is well used,” Jonker emphasized, explaining that a lot of students do group work there and use computers and books for research. Looking at gate count of the library, 12,479 people went through the doors in the fall semester 2014, and that climbed to 13,789 in the fall 2016.

The students originally asked to be put on the agenda for the board’s February meeting late last year and sent an email early last month to confirm.

The reply from a college administrative assistant said college officials “thought the issue was resolved.”

Students responded saying they would still like to speak and forwarded a three-pronged motion to the board. The motion recommended that (1) the library size would not be cut by more than 20 per cent, (2) that a student would sit on the library committee and (3) that a policy regarding space and written material be developed leading up to a larger plan to move the library to a new building.

In response they received a letter from chair Pond, who is from Prince Rupert and is also the BC Liberal candidate for the North Coast riding in the May 9 provincial election.

“After reading your motion I have come to the conclusion that this is an operating issue and therefore should be brought to the attention of the NWCC President, Mr. Ken Burt,” said Pond in his letter.

Speaking last week, college vice president Justin Kohlman said concerns about the library had already been heard, and were the reason  administrators decided last November not to move it to the college’s longhouse.

Again in January, Kohlman says they heard students opposing the option of shrinking the library for the trades building renovation period, and they decided not to change the library.

“We did hear their concerns… and because of the great feedback from students and staff, we were able to come up with a solution that’s going to allow us to do the trades building upgrade but still operate all the courses we need to, and not move the library,” he said.

Kohlman says feedback from the consultation was heavily in favour of the option that didn’t affect the library, option A, which administrators decided to move forward with Feb. 15. Kohlman added that because of the input from students, NWCC also decided that it will do a full review of the Library — including usage and possible options for improvement.

The college is looking for a company to do the review this year, looking at use and talking to students. Recommendations from that review will lead to a long-term library plan.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COLUMN | Creating a “community of practice” inspires

Art Matters by columnist Sarah Zimmerman

Hockey puck with nails found at Terrace Sportsplex Arena

City believes it has already caused $4,000 of damage

Kitselas First Nation receives $1.2M boost for apprenticeship development program

Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education announces $7.5M for six Indigenous training programs

Terrace Skating Club takes home 24 medals from regional championships

Skaters claim top spot for fifth year in a row

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

B.C.’s oldest practising lawyer celebrates 100th birthday, shares advice

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

UPDATED: Mayors call for ‘calmness’ as highway rockslide cuts Tofino, Ucluelet off from supplies

Ministry of transportation expects to open road for “essential travel only” from noon-8 p.m. Friday.

Most Read