Trans­for­ma­tion com­plete

Old Stone Sta­tion now home to Al­ber­ton’s pub­lic li­brary

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE PROVINCE - BY ERIC MCCARTHY

Gary Rochford stocked up on a few books Tues­day, the first day the Al­ber­ton Pub­lic Li­brary was open at its new lo­ca­tion.

He wasn’t making up for lost time, though. An avid reader, he’d been uti­liz­ing the O’Leary and Summerside li­braries reg­u­larly dur­ing the close to eight months Al­ber­ton has been with­out a li­brary.

While he and his wife, Bev, were able to uti­lize other li­braries while in those com­mu­ni­ties on other busi­ness, Rochford imag­ines the lack of a li­brary in town would have been a bur­den for pa­trons who don’t get around as much.

The Al­ber­ton Pub­lic Li­brary on Main Street closed in May due to air qual­ity is­sues and opened for one week in June un­til the prob­lems resur­faced. It never re­opened. The Town of Al­ber­ton de­cided in Au­gust to take over re­spon­si­bil­ity for li­brary ser­vices in the town and to move the ser­vice to the town-owned Old Stone Sta­tion.

Ren­o­va­tions started in Oc­to­ber.

“Who would’ve thought: the Old Stone Sta­tion as a li­brary,” Al­ber­ton res­i­dent Jimmy Smith mar­veled as he watched early ar­rivals re­turn books and sort through the shelves for new read­ing ma­te­ri­als.

“It’s quite nice,” Bev Rochford said of the new lo­ca­tion.

A mem­ber of a hand­craft guild that op­er­ated out of the Old Stone Sta­tion in the late 1970s and early ‘80s, she is im­pressed with the trans­for­ma­tion of the for­mer train sta­tion, a reg­is­tered his­toric place.

“It’s very good to have the li­brary open again,” she said.

“The Old Stone Sta­tion is a beau­ti­ful his­toric lo­ca­tion for this im­por­tant com­mu­nity li­brary and we are very pleased that li­brary ser­vices have been re­stored to this area,” said Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Hal Perry.

There is, how­ever, less space for books in the Rail­way Street lo­ca­tion.

Branch li­brar­ian Kelly Gil­lis said some old and faded copies were sold off dur­ing a sale on Dec. 30, al­low­ing for newer copies to be show­cased in the Old Stone Sta­tion.

“There’s still some tweak­ing to do,” Gil­lis added as she checked books in and out, “but it’s been a long time since the pub­lic has been able to use the li­brary.” She said the town will be plan­ning an of­fi­cial open­ing once fi­nal de­tails are com­pleted.

“We wanted to keep it as open and airy as pos­si­ble,” Gil­lis said of the space, not­ing provin­cial staff took the lead with the lay-out.

Three par­ti­tions were taken out dur­ing the ren­o­va­tions. The Old Stone Sta­tion’s roof was resh­in­gled and the in­te­rior freshly painted.

The new lo­ca­tion al­lows for a sep­a­rate room for pro­gram­ming like spe­cial in­ter­est cour­ses, book clubs and chil­dren’s story time.

The In­ter­net area is also more clearly de­fined in the new lo­ca­tion, Gil­lis said.


Gary Rochford of Al­ber­ton searches out read­ing ma­te­ri­als on the shelves of the Al­ber­ton Pub­lic Li­brary, now lo­cated in the Old Stone Sta­tion.

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