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Waterloo approves new library and new plan to keep the doors open

Last Updated Nov 22, 2017 at 8:52 am EDT

Image from www.wpl.ca

The City of Waterloo is getting a new library.

Waterloo City Council signed off on the deal earlier this year week to formally approve the construction of the new East Side Library.

The 13,700 square feet library will be built at RIM Park attached to the Manulife Financial Sportsplex and Healthy Living Centre.

Construction of the new branch has a budget of $7.8 million.

The timing of the project may seem peculiar after the John M. Harper Branch in west Waterloo experienced financial problems and was forced to reduce hours.

The questions was asked if it makes sense to open a new branch if the existing branches are not sustainable.

Karen Scian is the Chair of the Waterloo Public Library Board and says they have developed a new funding model that will create a sustainable four branch system.

Scian says the new branch is getting the most attention but really the funding model is the major breakthrough “Everybody will be excited about the new branch, but for me the funding model, from a due diligence point, is the most important part.” said Scian.

She adds that the east end project was not going to move forward until the new model was created, “That was my bottom line, if we could not find a sustainable funding model for the entire system we were not going to agree to build the east side branch. ”

The library its self will feature all of the classic library features but also a number of digital resources, musical instruments, gaming stations and what they are calling a “maker space”.

The East Side Library is set to be opened in 2020.