By Chris Lewis | August 5, 2021
It’s been a long time coming, but the ground was officially broken Tuesday for the construction of a new Conception Bay South Public Library.
Politicians from all three levels of government and the Provincial Library Board were on hand for the ceremony, held at the site of the future structure near the CBS Town Hall.
“I think this announcement now has gone through three premiers and stayed in seven consecutive budgets,” said Conception Bay South Mayor Terry French. He thanked everyone involved in the project for staying committed to it over all those years.
Once completed, the $4-million facility, located in Remembrance Square right next to the Town’s recreation complex, will feature a reading hall, multi-purpose rooms, a programming space for children, and an outdoor reading garden.
The single-storey building will measure approximately 8,000-square feet.
The Town-owned facility, once all construction is complete and the doors are open, will be leased over a 25-year term to the Provincial Library Board, with the building’s general maintenance costs falling back to the Town. The Province will pay the Town some $230,000 annually as part of the lease.
French noted the building was initially meant to be erected on the opposite side of the parking lot it is currently situated on. This, however, would have meant the Town would need to purchase that land which, when mixed with the setting up of services, would have been a significant cost.
Site preparation at the new location has already begun, making Tuesday’s ground breaking a formality.
French said the Town is hoping to see the project completed by the end of 2022.
Bonnie Morgan, Director of Library Operations for Newfoundland and Labrador Public Libraries, described Tuesday’s ceremony as an exciting day for all.
“When it’s completed, this project will help facilitate the delivery of modern public library services to Conception Bay South and surrounding areas,” she said. “We’re here celebrating and recognizing the role of public libraries in building vibrant and healthy communities … We’re really looking forward to the day when we gather again in Remembrance Square to cut the ribbon on the beautiful new public library.”
The secretary of the Conception Bay South Public Library Board, Ed Lawlor, couldn’t help letting out a big “yahoo!”
Lawlor said some people view libraries as just book-lending institutions, but he begs to differ.
“Libraries today are much more than that,” he said. “They are a part of communities, and I know in our particular aspect, we’ve devoted a lot of time to pre-school education through story time and the development of language in young people. So, that’s a big focus of ours, and we’ll continue to expand on that.”
Lawlor also hopes to see programming expand beyond the realm of young children. Particularly, he hopes to see a focus on seniors.
“We would certainly have the space here to do some additional programming for computers and tablets,” he noted, “with all the technology that we have today. So, at the end of the day, this is just a very, very, very, very exciting day for us … We’ve been lobbying for a library since 1982, so to see this come to fruition is just fantastic.”