It’s been almost a decade since Pincher Creek Municipal Library relocated to Main Street from a smaller facility, but space is becoming tight once again and some community members feel expansion is in order.
Library board chairwoman Sandra Baker, library expansion subcommittee chairman Michael Barkwith and library director Janice Day appeared before town and MD councils last week to make them aware of their desire to enlarge the space.
The trio have plans to engage an architect to find out what type of expansion is possible within the current space and to create an official design plan, which would be presented to council.
“We want to produce an area that is flexible for everybody and an area that everybody will be pleased to see, and will blend in well with the existing building,” said Barkwith.
The library’s current communal space consists of a lounge with an adjacent multipurpose meeting room. The meeting room is small, with space for eight to nine people, and it also doubles as a storage site and staff office, due to a lack of space in other areas of the building.
Expansion would enable the library to create separate reading nooks for children and teenagers, establish more communal rooms for studying, build a larger office, increase storage space, and add on a small performing arts theatre that could transform into a multipurpose room for art and cultural programs.
Barkwith and Day envision the theatre as a place where locals could gather for music nights, speeches, poetry readings, drumming circles and yoga classes.
Pincher Creek does not currently have a proper theatre space, something Coun. Mark Barber said could be an exciting addition.
“That opportunity, I think, could significantly enhance our downtown area,” he said.
Baker made clear that they are only looking to expand the existing space rather than move to a new facility.
“We actually love our current location,” she said. “We’re nestled in the centre of town in the shared rec centre, where there’s lots of opportunity to partner with other family-oriented activities. So we want to stay, we just need more space.”
Day added that some residents, particularly those who do not have vehicles, may have trouble accessing the library if it moved from its central location.
Coun. Barber said that although he likes the idea of the upgrade, council would have to see a financial estimate before agreeing to fund the project.
“If it comes back and it’s a $10-million project, that’s going to be very very difficult to pursue,” he said. “If it’s a few million dollars with the library’s funding, town funding and maybe some grant funding, I hope we can make it happen.”
Gillian Francis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze