Open­ing a new chap­ter

New An­napo­lis Royal li­brary, in­no­va­tion lab open at The Academy

Annapolis Valley Register - - NEWS - BY LAWRENCE POW­ELL THE SPECTATOR AN­NAPO­LIS ROYAL, N.S.

From cramped quar­ters at town hall to a spa­cious suite of rooms at The Academy, An­napo­lis Royal’s long-an­tic­i­pated and awaited new li­brary and in­no­va­tion lab are open.

The li­brary was closed Nov. 20, 21, and 22 while staff moved thou­sands of books, hun­dreds of DVDs, com­put­ers, and other fur­ni­ture and equip­ment to 143 Ritchie St. at the back en­trance of the old re­gional academy.

On Nov. 23 the doors opened at 10 a.m. and lo­cal res­i­dents got to see the new digs.

Linda Mof­fat, pres­i­dent of the Friends of the An­napo­lis Royal Li­brary, said the group is pleased their dream of a new An­napo­lis Royal Li­brary with a ded­i­cated room for com­mu­nity pro­grams, a bet­ter se­lec­tion of books and DVDs, a quiet read­ing room, a larger chil­dren’s area, a high-tech com­mu­nity work­shop, and of­fice space for staff, has now been re­al­ized.

“We es­pe­cially want to thank the many gen­er­ous mem­bers of the lo­cal com­mu­nity and the four lev­els of gov­ern­ment who have con­trib­uted fi­nan­cially to make this dream come true,” she said.

Li­brar­ian Dorothy MacDonald and staff were busy mov­ing books and putting them on shelves in their ap­pro­pri­ate cat­e­gories and, of course, in al­pha­bet­i­cal or­der.

“When we started out 24 years ago down there it was per­fect,” MacDonald said of the town hall lo­ca­tion. “It was much big­ger than what we left over on Grange Street.”

She said a group was formed in the early 1990s and raised money to move them down to town hall.

“It was great when we moved in,” she said. “It seemed so roomy.”

While the town hall lo­ca­tion was cozy in an at­mo­spheric sense, the much big­ger new lo­ca­tion at The Academy also feels cosy with warm colours, am­ple light, com­fort­able stuffed chairs, and space di­vided into var­i­ous rooms with many glass walls.

It’s been in the mak­ing for al- most a decade with the Friends of the Li­brary spear­head­ing an ef­fort that fi­nally found space when the An­napo­lis Royal Re­gional Academy closed as a school and re­opened as con­do­mini­ums on the top two lev­els. The town moved its recre­ation depart­ment to the old gym and there had even been talk of mov­ing the po­lice depart­ment to the build­ing.

A pub­lic user sur­vey was con­ducted and in­flu­enced the de­sign of the new li­brary, in­clud­ing the in­no­va­tion lab with its own board of di­rec­tors where nu­mer­ous tech projects can be ac­com­mo­dated with tools and elec­tronic gear, work­ta­bles, and com­put­ers.

MacDonald said while many peo­ple have em­braced the new tech­nol­ogy, li­braries have been quick to adopt and books are still pop­u­lar.

“Even peo­ple who love e-books love to have a book in their hands,” she said. “It’s a tac­tile thing.”

She said the largest li­braryus­ing de­mo­graphic is older peo­ple, per­haps 45 and older, but they still have many young fam­i­lies and chil­dren, and homeschool­ing fam­i­lies as well. Beyond beau­ti­ful

“It’s beyond beau­ti­ful,” said An­napo­lis Royal Mayor Bill MacDonald.

He praised ev­ery­one in­volved since the be­gin­ning in the con- cept and the plan­ning, in­clud­ing the for­mer town coun­cil, the cur­rent town coun­cil, Friends of the Li­brary, the re­gional li­brary board, all the mem­bers of the com­mu­nity, and the li­brary staff.

He said ev­ery­body was ex­cited for the open­ing.

“We’re go­ing to have and of­fi­cial open­ing later in the new year,” he said.

He said the in­no­va­tion cen­tre is far more than any­thing he could have imag­ined, and he pointed to the com­mu­nity space, pro­gram room and mu­sic room that will be shared by the com­mu­nity as well as great as­sets.

“It’s sim­ply just ex­cit­ing,” he said. “It’s awe­some. They re­ally is no other word for it.”

LAWRENCE POW­ELL

Li­brar­ian Dorothy MacDonald at the front counter of the new An­napo­lis Royal Li­brary that re­cently opened at The Academy. The spa­cious lo­ca­tion is warm and cozy. Staff moved to the new spot from the old lo­ca­tion at town hall.

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