Requested study to look at new spot for Pictou library

Sueann Musick
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PICTOU – The Pictou library is growing a little too big for its britches.

Seven-year-old Summer Bray, left, and her four-year-old sister Ella get some reading down at the Pictou library. The library offers many children’s programs as well as guest speakers and workshops through the year.  Sueann Musick – The News

Considered to be the third busiest branch in the Pictou-Antigonish district, the small library located on the second floor of a downtown Pictou building is feeling a little cramped.

“The library has been in the present building for some time and there are a number of issues with the building,” said Eric Stackhouse, chief librarian of the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library Services. “We’ve outgrown it, it’s not designed like a new library in the 21st century.”

He said the library is without air conditioning or an air exchanger so there have been days during the summer when it had to close due to warm weather conditions.

“Our threshold is about 30 degrees,” he said. “We do a lot of programming at this library because it is our main branch at that western end of Pictou County.

The Town of Pictou, in conjunction with the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library and deCoste Centre, have recently prepared a facility design and operating grant request to fund a study that would look at putting the deCoste Centre and library in the same area.

The study will look at the construction and operational sharing or a new library as part of the deCoste building. The request states that town and county residents use both the library and deCoste and both are owned by the Town of Pictou.

Benefits to combining both services would be increased usage and sharing costs and human resources. It states the Town of Pictou and Municipality would also see benefits because its residents would received enhanced programming, increased economic impact and financial stability through partnerships.

Stackhouse said Pictou town council toured the People’s Place Library in Antigonish and liked what they saw.

The Antigonish library moved into a former Sobeys building three years ago after extensive renovations. It shares its space with two other community-based groups, has meetings rooms, artistic displays and is considered a new-age meeting place.

He said the renovations have taken Antigonish from being the second busiest library in the region to the busiest since it went from seeing 200 visitors daily to nearly 1,000.

The request also proposes that the deCoste Centre could reach long-term sustainability with such a partnership.

Stackhouse said a similar study and community consultation was done with the building of the Antigonish library so the public would have an opportunity to have its say on whether it was in favour of such a proposal.

“If it moves forward, we will be keen to hear from everyone,” he said.

He said the study will look at whether a new addition could be built on to the deCoste Centre to accommodate the library, what design it would be and financial statistics.

Stackhouse will be addressing county council in August in hopes of getting its share of the funding approved to go ahead with the study.

Organizations: Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library Services, Pictou town council, Place Library Sobeys

Geographic location: Pictou County, Antigonish

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