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sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ James Bay Branch2019-08-06T09:24:36+00:00

sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ JAMES BAY BRANCH

Limited service hours.
In-person hours:

For those who self-identify as senior or immunocompromised:
Monday to Saturday
11:00 am—12:00 pm

For everyone:
Monday to Saturday
12:00 pm—4:00 pm

Return items everyday, any time except for statutory holidays.
Reopening FAQs.

385 Menzies Street, Victoria, BC  V8V 0C2

The sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ James Bay Branch is the newest branch in the GVPL system, officially opening to the public on May 26, 2018. Pronounced s-hweng hw-ung tongue-oo-hw, sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ is the Lekwungen name for James Bay, a name selected by the City of Victoria through their “Name That Library” campaign and in consultation with the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations.

From opening day, the residents of James Bay have made the library their own: families visit the branch as part of their routines; writers use the study rooms to work on their books; artists seek out material for inspiration; and readers love having brand new books to take home. The community feels at home in this space with its high ceilings and natural light. Our patrons can enjoy multiple seating options including a laptop bar and bistro tables. The study room and community meeting room can be booked online.

sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ James Bay is located behind the B.C. Parliament Buildings, steps from cafés and shops, the Inner Harbour and Victoria’s famous waterfront on Dallas Road. In recognition of the James Bay community’s culture of creativity, sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ James Bay houses GVPL’s special collection of art easels you can borrow to paint in plein air or anywhere your imagination takes you.

We hope you’ll enjoy visiting sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ James Bay and help the branch take its place at the heart of this neighbourhood as a centre for creativity, imagination and discovery.

 sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ Pronunciation Guide

sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ  is the Lekwungen name for James Bay and is pronounced s-hweng hw-ung tongue-oo-hw.

Grand Opening Video

Listen to the pronunciation by Songhees Nation Elder Dr. Elmer Seniemten George.

WAV File:

MP3 File:

Branch Features

  • Special areas reserved for kids and teens
  • Public computers
  • Mobile charging stations
  • Bookable community room and study rooms
  • Touchdown workstation

Branch Information

District Coordinator: Eileen Gillette

Branch Supervisor: Martin Brooks

Parking: Street parking by meter and underground parking

Bus Routes: #2  BC Transit

All branches have printing and photocopying available. The cost is $0.25 per black and white page or $0.50 per colour page. Your library card serves as your copy card; you can add funds to it at the branch. If you don’t have a library card, bring a piece of photo ID, and we will be happy to make you one to provide access to printing and copying services.

More Information

In addition to naming the branch, City Council also named the two meeting rooms: the Dr. Elmer Seniemten George M.S.M. Community Room (pronounced Sen-eem-ten) and the Mifflin Wistar Gibbs Study Room (pronounced Wis-ter).

About Dr. Elmer Seniemten George

Dr. Elmer Seniemten George is a Songhees Elder, who is one of the few remaining fluent speakers of Lekwungen, a dialect of the Northern Straits Salish Peoples. He stewards the survival not only of the language, but also of the traditional teachings and culture embedded in the words. In 2016, Elder Elmer Seniemten George received an honorary degree from Royal Roads University. In 2017, he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) from the Governor General of Canada for his work with Elder John Elliott in translating the Douglas Treaties of the mid-1850s into the SENĆOŦEN First Nations languages. This work has shed light on the lack of understanding that existed when the treaties were first signed and has provided a foundation for reconciliation. The Songhees and Esquimalt Nations submitted Dr. Elmer Seniemten George’s name for consideration in the City of Victoria’s Name That Library campaign.

About Mifflin Wistar Gibbs

Mifflin Wistar Gibbs was a James Bay resident and local merchant who served as a Victoria City Councillor from 1866 to 1869. In 2016, the City of Victoria declared November 19 “Mifflin Wistar Gibbs Day” in honour of Gibbs becoming the first black person elected to public office in British Columbia the same day in 1866. The BC Black History Awareness Society and members of the community submitted his name for consideration in the City of Victoria’s Name That Library campaign.

Upcoming Programs & Events

There are no upcoming events at this time.
There are no upcoming events at this time.
There are no upcoming events at this time.

Come Visit Us

Library cards are free

They’re your passport to connect, discover and imagine.


Peek-a-boo! Here’s a quote to brighten your day:

“When in doubt, go to the library.” – Hermione Granger