Over 40 people crowded into the small space in the current Annapolis Royal Library on Saturday, August 12 for a celebration. Eight years ago the Friends of the Annapolis Royal Library became concerned that the community had outgrown the space, and started campaigning for a larger library. Linda Moffat, president of the Friends group, announced the receipt of a $30,000 grant from the provincial department of Communities, Culture, and Heritage for the proposed new library. This grant, along with a large private donation, will be used to create a quiet reading room in the new Annapolis Royal library. The reading room, which will be called the Annapolis Room, will feature local history and natural history and will house the library’s non-fiction collection. There will be space for research and study, comfortable seating, and a public computer station in the room linked to a scanner/printer in the main library. The Town of Annapolis Royal and Annapolis Valley Regional Library (AVRL) have been working together with the Friends of the Library group for the past year on plans for a new, larger library on the ground floor of the west wing of the former Annapolis Royal Regional Academy. This grant from the Province is one more step along the road to a new Library for the Annapolis Royal area.
Derek Hawkins, treasurer of the Friends group, reported that the Friends of the Library have raised $183,000 so far for the new library project. Two large private donations, plus $40,000 from the County of Annapolis and now this grant of $30,000 donation from the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage have brought them to within $30,000 of their total fund raising goal of $215,000 by the end of 2017. Hawkins remarked that the key word is “join us” in giving, and he made a plea to the many project donors and library supporter present, to “talk about the new library project with everyone you know, ask them to join you in supporting the new library”. Donations can be made at the library branch, online, by contacting the Friends of the Library.
In addition to the Annapolis Room, the new library plan contains two important programming rooms. A large donation from the Nicholson family will be partially applied to developing a Maker Space adjacent to the library. The Maker Space will expand the whole community’s capacity to explore and innovate using modern technologies, many of which are computer based. The Annapolis Royal Library Maker Space lab, a first for western Nova Scotia, is currently being designed by a community group of technologists and makers headed by Gary Walsh, a local resident who leads a high school robotics program for the region via the Department of Computer Science at Acadia. The Maker Space is intended to be a well-equipped workshop at the library to be used by the whole community for undertaking arts and science-based projects ranging from quilting and knitting to music recording and robot construction.
A model of the layout of the new library was a center of interest at the party. Angela Reynolds from the AVRL and members of the joint Town, AVRL, and Friends working group were available to answer questions. A general meeting & program room will be adjacent to the Maker Space; something that the library has needed for many years. In addition there will be an auditorium located in the former Band Room for use by the town, the library or other community groups, plus a large ‘Commons’ public area adjacent to the library where people can meet and chat. The new library will be modern, bright, and spacious, with a Maker Space, Program room, and a quiet reading room. There are plans for an inviting children’s area and a dedicated teen space, as well as plenty of comfortable seating for seniors and mobility-impaired library patrons. The current proposal, pending final funding being in place, is to begin renovations in mid-October so that the Library can be moved to its new location by the early Spring of 2018.