Wednesday November 26, 2014

Library officially re-opens

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Sandra MacColl and a YPL fundraiser book bag.

The Yorkton Public Library officially re-opened at its Broadway Street location last Thursday.

Sandra MacColl, chair of the local library board said the first chapter of the library at its current location began in 2005 with major renovations to the facility, and “ended with the epic flood.”

The flood of July 1, 2010, was a trying time for the library said head librarian Melody Wood, adding they could not have made the move to a temporary location at the Parkland Mall without the help of many in the community.

Wood singled out the staff of Dairy Queen, who in spite of being flooded out of their own building pitched in.

“The whole staff came and helped pack,” she said, adding the owners were there on their anniversary.

Others who volunteered to help the library save what could be salvaged after the flood to move to the mall location included the Sacred Heart High School football team, the Yorkton Genealogical Society, Orcadia Youth Centre, Prairie Harvest Employment Program and the Fine Options Program, said Wood.

In his words at the dedication ceremony Yorkton Mayor James Wilson reflected on the history of the library, noting that discussions about the need for a library date back to 1903, and in February 1904 there was a letter-to-the-editor in The Enterprise newspaper suggesting a library would provide young men in the city a better alternative for their free time than billiard halls and bars.

The first library in the city began in the basement of City Hall in 1907, said Wilson.

Fast forwarding to the current location, Wilson said the library was relocated to the site in 1979.

Through the decades, regardless of location, Wilson said the library forms “a knowledge base for the community,” and is an important aspect of local recreation for many.

After the renovation work was complete the books returned and the doors opened again late in 2011.

MacColl said the library has a new look and ‘feel’ calling it “less institutional and more like home.”

The changes include a new children’s room, and a fireside room with a fireplace and soft chairs, the intent being to make the library more of “a home-away-from-home.”

Still the main function of the library remains, said MacColl.

“The role of the library has always been about words, stories and history,” she said.

MacColl did add the library is now back in business as a place “where the best things happen.”

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