The last time a library book will ever be checked out from the Trail Memorial Centre is today at 5 p.m.
After that, the public library will remain closed until March, pending a long-awaited move to its new space in the Trail Riverfront Centre.
This time of change seems to have reared up quite suddenly, but it’s actually taken months and months of planning – years in fact – for Library Director Kathryn Foley and her staff.
“On the first of February, I will have been here three years,” Foley told the Times. “It has been a huge dedication of time, but I knew that coming in. I knew they had passed the referendum and were looking for someone who had knowledge of building, renovations and moving a library.”
Working in a variety of library settings over the years, and Foley’s family history in construction, all that helped when it came to reading schematics and planning stages for the new locale.
Most important, however, was the opportunity to bond with staff in her first, more quiet, year on the job.
Because the last 24 months has been a whirlwind of change.
“I have a team I was lucky enough to get a chance to really know and build a relationship with before I got very busy with the new facility,” Foley said. “They’ve had to take on a lot of responsibilities and a lot of constant change, which is not the easiest thing for a lot of people.
“They are doing a wonderful job with it and have maintained a positive attitude towards change and progress.”
Jobs like weeding out the collection by 10,000 volumes prior to the move, learning a new system and streamlining databases were added onto staff’s regular programming duties and other day-to-day tasks.
But it was all worth it, because the new integrated facility is going to re-define how a public library fits into the community.
Forget the old days of being shushed by a librarian, Foley says Riverfront Centre visitors can be noisy or quiet.
The layout allows for multi-purpose use that includes movable shelving (on wheels) to re-flow traffic, game play, new computers, meeting rooms and a young makerspace in the midst of traditional collectives and more.
“The makerspace is where we hope young people will congregate, play games and get on the computer,” Foley said. “We will be encouraging the investigation of coding, robotics, and the whole stream of science from technology, engineering, arts and math. It’s going to be quite different.”
Not to mention the Trail Museum and Archives exhibits being integrated within, including a sports gallery on the main floor and an impressive wall mural weaving up steps to the second floor displays of Silver City history.
There is also an elevator so both floors are accessible to all.
“It’s done so that everybody will have a feeling of ownership,” said Foley. ‘It’s going to be much more user-friendly. A library is (about) lifelong learning and it is an accepting place that is accessible to everyone and everyone is welcome.”
In the meantime, Foley is appreciative of the community’s patience while the move is underway.
Books can be returned to the Trail Memorial Centre, either in the outer wall slot or through a slot in the old library wall.
Once Foley has set up her office in the Riverfront Centre, she encourages users to bring their returns to the new facility.
“I would say by Feb. 5 we will have the drop box over there,” Foley said. “I will be over there, but my staff will still be here busy with packing.”
The library is due to open in its new home in March, though the City of Trail has not formally announced a date.