The community deserves a first-rate library from the inside out, according to Barbara Gibson.
The Trail and District Public Library board chair is counting the months until the dream of a new facility breaks ground this year. Until then, she has turned her efforts toward raising funds to furnish the new state-of-the-art facility.
“We want the new library to be the social and intellectual hub of the community and the cultural hub, of course, with the museum there as well,” she said.
“Once the library drawings are complete, and people see the amount of space involved where people can interact, I think they’re going to see the need for themselves of new furniture, new shelving, and equipment.”
“Starting a New Chapter,” a $400,000 campaign that kicked off this month, invites the community to help furnish the new facility. The dollars raised will cover the cost of new shelving and seating in the adult area, a new children’s area, new public access computers, IT hardware, a staff workroom, a circulation desk and a children and adult programming room.
“This is something that pretty desperately needs to happen,” said Gibson, a sentiment shared by library director Kathryn Foley.
“If we’re going to be in the same building for over 90 years again, we’re trying to plan ahead, so it’s a really usable space,” Foley added.
The library will upcycle and reuse what they have but Foley points to old clunky built-in shelves, for example, at the front of the current location in the Trail Memorial Centre that will need to be replaced.
“We want shelving that is movable so that we can continually change usage from time to time in the library area,” said Foley. “We’re planning on having some shelving on wheels so we can free up more space in the library to do things so that we’re not having to rent other spaces, and we can do things right in the library.”
The funding drive is also focused on accessibility and comfort for its broad range of users, and also embraces and supports the library’s other successful programs with elements like a “maker space” in mind.
Donations can be made online or in person. Every contribution counts, said Foley, noting that donors will be acknowledged in different ways depending on their contribution from a plaque on a shelf or recognition on a donor wall at the new facility.
The recently launched campaign is marking its progress outside of the facility on a banner that will be updated as milestones are made by adding a book to the virtual shelf. Right now, only one book is shelved but there is plenty of time for donors to add their $250, $500, $1,000 or larger contribution. Friends of the Library is also on board, selling shelf plaques for $50 as a creative gift or memorial.
“It’s been my experience in Trail that Trail residents and probably Warfield too demand first-rate facilities,” said Gibson. “They demand it of their hospital, they demand it of their aquatic centre, they demand it of the arena, that arena is probably one of the best in the province, so why would they not demand a first-rate library?”
The campaign will continue until the goal is met, with a window of about 18 months to raise money for the goods and get moved in hopefully by the middle of 2017 during the end stages of the $6.3 million library/museum project.
Gibson can’t believe the day has finally come.
“Library boards for many years, not just the one that I’m on but previous ones, have asked for a new library and the public has always said, ‘Yes, we want that’ and now it’s actually going to happen,” she said.
“The public was consulted at least three occasions previous to the referendum and maybe even more, so previous boards have been advocating for a new library for a long time.”