When Steve Forseth was elected as Area D director for the Cariboo Regional District in 2014, one of his key goals was to see a new library for the community of McLeese Lake, which is in his electoral area.
It had been in the works since 2011, but a lot of time was spent trying to determine where the new library would go.
“In 2016, we decided to leave it where it was and once we had the size and building determined, the funds were allocated for it in the 2017 budget.”
Originally it was anticipated the work would be completed in July, but with “Mother Nature’s other plans and the wildfires,” completion of the project was delayed by a few months.
There was a soft opening of the library in November and an official opening on Saturday, Dec. 16.
The new library is almost twice the size of the former library, which increases the usability of it, Forseth said.
It is newly furnished, has two computers for public use, which is one more computer than was there before, and there is a larger reading area.
There is also a work space for the librarian that has its own computer.
“I’ve been advised we have some new books in addition to the existing collection,” Forseth said.
About a dozen McLeese Lake residents attended the grand opening and Forseth said they were very impressed with their new library.
“We aren’t quite done with the site and in the spring of 2018 there will be shrubbery added to the grounds outside and some work done to the parking area.”
The money has been allocated for that work already, he confirmed.
“This building is also climate controlled year round,” he added. “It has an HVAC system attached so the community librarian doesn’t have to worry about putting on two or three extra layers in the dead of winter and then sweating in the summer time. It’s quite great.”
Additionally, the site is fully accessible with a wheelchair ramp attached and a wooden arch overhang in keeping with the Cariboo theme.
Open on Tuesdays from 4 to 8 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 6 p.m., the library is staffed by one of three community librarians that works at the CRD’s various rural libraries.
Patrons can also access interlibrary loans at rural libraries.
A new library is also slated to open in Bridge Lake/Interlakes in 2018.
Both libraries are housed in modular buildings that were manufactured by Horizon North out of Kamloops.
They were purchased with a view to shorten construction time and increase the ease of installation, the CRD stated in a press release earlier this fall.
Going forward, these buildings will be a standard design for all stand-alone rural libraries within the CRD.