It’s the beginning of a new era for the Sylvan Lake Municipal Library, which recently underwent significant renovations to both expand and improve its 50 Ave. location. An open house celebration will take place Oct. 25.
Work began in February to increase the library’s floor space after an adjoining building was vacated. The result is a much more spacious building allowing for increased programming flexibility and enhanced mobility.
“We can’t physically expand outside, we can’t build in any direction and we can’t build up, so we were able to kind of re-arrange some stuff and knock out some walls,” said programmer Corrie Brown. “We don’t have necessarily more books, we just have more space for the books that we have. We’re more spacious now.”
A children’s area has been revamped, and new shelves have been added. Office space has also expanded, allowing for the creation of “one big staff area,” according to Brown.
Work on the latter forced the library’s closure for two weeks, though library operations were affected minimally overall throughout the renovation period.
“The last few months has mostly just been touch-ups and waiting for confirmation, so (renovations) finished up pretty well in the summer,” said Brown. “Initially, we were hoping to have a little hub somewhere that people could still come and pick up their holds. We weren’t able to do that, so what we did is we just extended everyone’s books to after the date of our closure.”
Certain children’s programs were put on hold due to the presence of equipment and dust, she added.
The changes have also created more sitting room around the library, which has resulted in longer-than-usual visits for some patrons, said Brown.
“We’re finding a lot more people come and stay as opposed to just grabbing their books and leaving,” she said. “We’ve added a lot of new furniture that’s encouraging people to stay and explore.”
There’s also a new games table in the young adult area, which is being used not just by teens, but by families of all ages.
With collections completely re-arranged, and each age group now having its own well-defined space, some patrons have commented that the library seems like an entirely new building, according to Brown. And it’s one the public is being invited to explore during an open house celebration on Oct. 25.
The celebration will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a brief ceremony taking place at 1 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend, said Brown.
“People can come in throughout the day — they can come in throughout the day anyway — but specifically (to see) the renovations and meet some board members and staff,” she said. “Nothing else is going to be changed or added, so we’re celebrating.”