Library hopes to expand home

Rimbey’s Town Office or public library could be on the move.

Rimbey’s Town Office or public library could be on the move.

Town council has decided to send a formal inquiry to the provincial government about the cost to purchase the Rimbey Provincial Building as a new location to house the town office.

This decision was made in wake of the library’s presentation at the Aug.20 council meeting advising that, somehow, the library needs to spread.

The square footage of the library is around 2,630, although it wasn’t known for sure, and that’s less than half of what is should be based on Rimbey’s population without calculating future population growth.

The library offers 336 programs, has 6,631 program participants and 1,200 cardholders.

In 2011 the library had 35,000 visitors.

According to Alberta Library Standards, 40 per cent of a library’s soft seating space, which is held by those who use the libraries Wi-Fi access, should be accessible to electricity. The Rimbey library has none.

Library manager Jean Keetch says there are extension cords running over the floor to accommodate Internet users and it’s only a matter of time before someone trips.

Several weeks ago 30 children were participating in one of the library’s summer programs. An elderly woman with a walker came to see the library’s selection of books but wasn’t able to move through the library until several chairs and tables had been moved out of the way.

“It’s come to the point where it’s not safe anymore,” said Keetch.

Keetch and board chair Lorie Armstrong presented council with several options, including moving the town office to allow the library full access to the building its already in or move the library to the Co-op Mall.

The rent for the mall would be $90,966, including utilities. To renovate would cost around $225,000, not including Wi-Fi.

However, the library has been told if they move to the mall they won’t be allowed to install windows, which Keetch says is almost a deal breaker.

Keetch says fewer renovations would be needed to the building the library is already in.

There is a federal grant, the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund, which would match up to $250,000 the library would put toward renovating an existing building for the library. The grant application is due Nov. 19, 2012 and must be used by March 31, 2014.

Coun. Gayle Rondeel would like to see the library expand in the building it is in because it’s a central location in the town and the library attracts more visitors than the town office.

However financial costs are as big a factor as location. “We wouldn’t have the grant to move us; we have the grant to move the library,” said Coun. Jack Webb.

The library’s request isn’t new to the council but Keetch’s presentation ensured that it was active on council’s radar.

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