Representatives from all levels of government joined members of the Saint John Parking Commission, the Saint John Transit Commission, the Saint John Library Board of Commissioners and students from Bayview Elementary School will celebrate the grand opening of the East Branch Library.
The library is now co-located with Saint John Transit in the facility at
55 MacDonald Street. The move is the result of an innovative partnership that was formed when the lease at the former location was up for renewal.
“There was extra space in the transit building and it is an excellent location,” said Saint John Mayor Mel Norton, a former member of the Library Board of Commissioners. “We were able to renovate the space and provide it to the library.”
In New Brunswick all public libraries are administered by the Province through the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour. Each municipality provides the premises and the Board of Commissioners for the libraries in their city.
The East Branch Library was first opened in 1968 across the street at Loch Lomond Place in what was then known as the Woolco Mall on MacDonald Street. In search of more space, the library moved to Westmorland Place in 1975. The new location on MacDonald Street has over 1,000 square feet more space.
“We have made the return trip to our old stomping ground and we couldn’t be happier,” said Maryanne Lewell, Chair, Library Board of Commissioners. “This space is spectacular. We are in one of the most beautiful of all of the 63 public libraries in New Brunswick.”
The Saint John Free Public Library was established in 1883 as Canada’s first free public library.
In 2015, the Saint John Free Public Library received a grant from the City of Saint John for $458,142 for their three premises – West Branch in the Lancaster Mall, Central Branch in Market Square and East Branch in Westmorland Place (now located at 55 MacDonald Street). In 2015, there were 36,009 total library cards in circulation.
East Branch Fast Facts (2015):
• Number of people in East Saint John who have a library card: 6,469
• Number of items borrowed from East Branch in 2015: 59,412
• Number of free programs offered by East Branch staff in 2015: 657
• Number of people who came to literacy-related programs: 7,416
• Average number of people to enter the East Branch on a busy day in 2015: 360
• Number of people who entered the new East Branch the first day it opened March 1st, 2016: 777