The Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT) is British Columbia’s First Nations university with campuses in Merritt and Vancouver. NVIT was formed in 1983 as a private institute by the founding bands of Coldwater, Nooaitch, Shackan, Upper Nicola and Lower Nicola. The Merritt campus has grown from an initial intake of 13 students who received their instruction in a downtown basement, to an intake of more than 300 students located in a Governor General’s Award winning facility — to which this new building is attached. NVIT’s aim is to address Aboriginal community needs with programs like Social Work, Environmental Resources Technology and Aboriginal Community Economic Development.
Throughout the library, wood is used simultaneously to open and enclose space. For example, the elliptical story-time area is enclosed by a 1.4 metre high wood paneled storage wall; warm in appearance, high enough to contain the activity and yet low enough to allow for easy parent supervision. Wood is also used to identify all key service points. The service points are strategically located to enable customers to help themselves, allowing staff to focus on serving customers rather than processing materials. Elsewhere, the atrium is lined with wood paneling, welcome and information desks are defined by suspended wood ceilings and backlit millwork, while catalogue kiosks are folded wood structures integrating technology, equipment and lighting.
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