Trail Times file photo

One-year celebration at Trail Riverfront Centre on Saturday

The community is invited to an open house from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.; activities planned all day

Imagine the entire population of Trail visiting the Riverfront Centre every month and you’ll get a sense of the type of crowds that have walked through the doors since it opened one year ago.

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That’s roughly the total number of visitors the city’s integrated library/museum/tourism centre has welcomed since the ribbon was cut at the $8.2-million facility on April 2, 2018.

After a year in operation, the numbers are impressive. Over 90,000 people have checked out the site’s services, which averages out to 7,500 visitors a month. To put that into perspective, Trail’s population after the 2016 census was 7,700 people.

And its popularity shows no signs of slowing down because in the past three months alone, a whopping 20,559 visitors have walked through the Riverfront Centre front doors.

Wow. That’s a lot of guests to look after each day.

So what has this inaugural year been like for those who were there every step of the way?

“We, as staff, can always identify a first-time visitor,” says Sarah Benson-Lord, museum and archives manager. “Their demeanor changes immediately upon entering the space,” she shared. “It’s so unlike any other facility in our city and people are genuinely impressed.

“Our guest book is full of wonderful comments from people all over the world who leave comments of appreciation and support for our efforts.”

To celebrate such a successful first year, the City of Trail is hosting an open house on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring draw prizes, guided tours and family-friendly fun.

Samantha Murphy, the library’s interim director, invites the community to drop-in for an hourly prize draw of pottery, games and books. Families are also welcome to take part in activities that will be set up in the multipurpose room and Makerspace.

For the wee ones, Reader Rabbit and Friends of the Library will be hosting an Easter Egg Hunt from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Another bonus, this one for tardy readers, is that fine forgiveness will be granted that day on all late returns.

Until then, Murphy encourages locals to stop by for a look-see of the special window display created to celebrate the one-year anniversary.

“The ladder represents the rungs climbed to construct this state-of-the-art integrated facility,” she explained. “And the many steps taken which result in the Riverfront Centre being Trail’s hub for learning, culture and visitor information.”

Looking forward, both the library and museum have plans for the coming months.

“Now that things have calmed down a bit and we’ve developed an incredible operating model in which we all occupy shared space yet provide different services, we are looking more intently at ways in which our services can overlap in an effort to serve our patrons better,” says Benson-Lord.

“Identifying joint programming opportunities that meet both our mandates is a key priority for staff. For example, we had an incredible day for International Women’s Day, which ticked boxes for both services as relevant to our missions.”

“Also, the activities offered for Family Day at the Riverfront Centre proved a resounding success, and again aligned with our collective values. We hope to expand on events like these, learn from the feedback we receive, and continue to collaborate.”

More immediate offerings with the library include a new mini-digital series with CBAL (Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy) starting Monday at 10 a.m. and an author talk with Skip Rowland on April 11 at 6 p.m.

“Skip Rowland escaped the frantic pace of our overpopulated environment to live his dream (and) sail to the drop-dead beauty of the South Pacific and beyond,” Murphy noted. “He now lives in the mountains of British Columbia with his lovely ship-mate and now wife Denise.”

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