Officials behind Charlottetown's new library say the project is getting closer to opening.
The $16 million library was supposed to open this summer, but like many construction projects, COVID-19 has caused some delays getting workers, materials and design plans. Officials say the project is on budget and construction should be completed in November.
"You're really getting a chance now to kind of really see the layout and get a really good sense of the space," said Wade Arsenault, the senior project manager with the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation.
"It's very different."
A fresh new look
In contrast to the current library, housed in the Confederation Centre of the Arts and built in the 1960s, Arsenualt describes the new space across the street to be modern, open and very spacious.
"We'll be able to offer so many more services and so much more space for patrons to come in " said regional librarian Beth Clinton.
"A lot of those accessibility issues in terms of physical access will be eliminated, which we are very excited about."
Clinton said while the current library has some narrow staircases and small elevators, the new library is street-facing and all on one level.
Libraries aren't just warehouses for books anymore. They really are community hubs and gathering places — Beth Clinton, regional librarian
"We always welcomed everybody but now we're excited to be able to more easily welcome folks in," she said.
The new space will have designated program rooms behind glass walls, as opposed to having programs in the open. This means parents can still watch their children inside the spaces, but there will be some noise control and privacy for certain programs.
"You won't have to listen to too much singing of The Wheels On The Bus while you're trying to do your work," Clinton said.
"We'll just be able to have a bit more privacy in terms of the programs and offer possibly different things that were not totally, you know, wanted to be shouted to the public with children going by and everything."
Other new features include a video game room, music rehearsal space and a kitchen.
The Confederation Centre Public Library is the largest of P.E.I.'s 25 public libraries.
"I know when I first got involved in the project, it really opened my eyes," Arsenault said.
"Libraries aren't just warehouses for books anymore. They really are community hubs and gathering places. So I think being more visible and being brand new, we will be able to fulfil that role much more effectively," Clinton said.
"As soon as you open a new library, your circulation and the number of visits go up. That's been seen in Halifax and Truro when they got their new libraries. We're very excited about that."
Officials said the outside of the building should be completed this summer, and work will continue inside until November.
After that, it will take the library a few weeks to move all the materials across the street to the new facility in the Dominion Building.
"This new library is going to have so much more seating, so much more space for people to meet, to study," Clinton said.
"Just to sit down and be part of the community."
The library could open as soon as late December.
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