The long awaited grand reopening of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library’s Central Branch happened on Saturday, Mar. 23, 2019. I took my daughters and got lost amongst the sea of people pouring into the building when it opened at 11 a.m.
After a welcome from Monica Stewart and Natalie Nossal, Chair, and Vice-Chair respectively, of the Library Board, speeches were given by Mayor Bryan Patterson, and our local members of parliament, MP Mark Gerretsen and MPP Ian Arthur. There was an Indigenous Welcome by Georgina Riel, and a recognition of donors by Monica Stewart. Poet Laureate Jason Heroux did a reading, then they moved on to the closing remarks and ribbon cutting.
Unfortunately, I was not early enough to snag a good spot to hear the speeches, but I did arrive in time to see the ribbon cutting ceremony. The crowd pressed from the Marketplace over to the new beautiful stairwell to see the ceremonial opening.
On top of getting to visit the new library space, Christine Harvey (Not So Amateur Amateurs) was painting beautiful creations on young faces, the Nintendo Switch was being used in the Teen section, Joe’s MILL had a display in an upstairs meeting room, and there was a Genealogy Drop-In in the Local History area on the second floor. I did not get in the giant line for refreshments, but I did see a lot of people with small cups of coffee and cookies. They were hosted in Meeting Room 1, along with the Kingston Suzuki Music Association.
In the Gather/Maker space, my daughters watched the 3D printer in action, and played with the interactive diorama. Storytimes happened every hour in the children’s area, and the entire library space was buzzing. When I walked past the Friends of the Library store, it was full of products and people. The ladies I spoke with were very excited to have their own store space.
I was impressed – the library looked complete. Artwork was hung on the walls (Frameworks was asked to help with this task), all the shelves were full of books, and the computers and seating were ready to use. There were many library staff members on hand, and a lot of volunteers, ensuring the opening was running smoothly. Everyone I spoke to was so happy to have the public finally inside, and the community members were just as excited to be there.
“We knew people were excited about the Central Branch re-opening, but the turnout on Saturday and the positive response from the community exceeded all of our expectations,” said Laura Carter, Director of Branch Experience, Kingston Frontenac Public Library. Carter noted that over 2,000 people came through the doors of the Central Branch between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. for the grand reopening, and many of those people returned again the following day.
“I was so pleased to see people using every part of the library to read, browse and study, and also to connect with their neighbours and friends,” she said The building is alive again and the excitement over the revitalized library space was palpable.”
Were you there? What were your impressions? (Besides that it was packed with bodies!) I saw many people I knew, and I can’t wait to go back on another, less busy, weekend!
Jessica is a busy working mom who enjoys writing, editing, and blogging. She loves raising her family here in Kingston and tries hard to get out to all the amazing events around town. You can find more of her writing on her blog A Modern Mom’s Life, and see what she gets up to with her family on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!