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Beaumont needs a bigger library for 2021 and beyond.

The building that currently houses the Bibliothèque de Beaumont Library first opened its doors in 2004, when Beaumont had a population of 7,807. It was built to serve the library needs of a town with a population growing to 10,000 plus. But In 2020 Beaumont's population had risen to 21,385 and continues to grow at about 4% per year. Consequently, the library needs to be expanded in order to cater for the massively increased and continually growing demand for library services. The expansion would ensure that the library remains a destination for families, entrepreneurs, students, and everyone in Beaumont looking to explore, connect and learn. The new space will would include a vibrant children's area with increased collections, engaging invitations to play, and quiet reading nooks for the whole family. It would also include a new maker-space to stimulate the creative exploration of new technology, as well as expanded programming, meeting and quiet study places.

Design concept rendering of one possible option for library expansion

Currently, the library holds a physical collection of 22,703 items. Back in 2004 that was very nearly enough to achieve an "excellent" rating for our population size, based on the Government of Alberta Public Library Services Branch’s Best Practices for Public Libraries in Alberta. But to achieve the same standard in 2021 we would need to expand the collection to around 60,000 items! Even to achieve the lowest rating of "essential" the collection would need to be 40,000 items. But the estimated maximum sized collection that could be housed in our current library building is only about 30,000 items, to which size the Library Board does hope to have increased the collection within the next five years.

In 2021, preliminary design work was completed for a 7,700 square foot expansion of the library building. Working with Reimagine Architects, the Library Board has conducted community workshops and focus groups and is now using the information gathered to finalize the design of the expansion. The next step will then be to obtain construction documents and certified construction estimates. Final construction could begin as early as 2023 with a budget now estimated at $5,150,000.

I'm fully in support of this library expansion as soon as we can find the necessary capital funding. Our public library is an essential component of a vibrant, growing, and connected hi-tech city like Beaumont. It is also the only indoor public space in the city where we can all go to discover, study or relax without the expectation or requirement that we spend our money there.


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