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Sydney group seeks support to rebuild James McConnell Memorial Library
A small group of people in Sydney are looking for community support to rebuild the James McConnell Memorial Library.
The building has been a part of Sydney’s downtown since the 1960s, but is now showing its age.
According to a study released a few years ago, upgrades to the facility would cost around $9 million.
However, Neeta Kumar-Britten of the Sydney Building Committee says a new building would actually cost around $14 million.
“The last upgrade was in the 1980s. We have significant issues with running a library appropriate for 2014 use,” says Kumar-Britten.
The McConnell library is small, which forces staff to work in tight quarters and offer limited programs. The library also has a restricted book collection, due to the lack of space.
Beth Cassidy is a frequent library user and says it’s unfortunate more programs can’t be offered.
“I think it’s really important, especially for young people to read still. I know the internet is a huge thing, but I think reading is still really important,” says Cassidy.
While some people may feel libraries are becoming a thing of the past, Kumar-Britten says the McConnell sees about 500 visitors a day, on average.
“There’s an actual door counter here at the library. It is part of the responsibility of the library to take counts of program users,” she says.
Her group is willing to raise funds for the new library, but says they need help.
“We’re hoping, as was the case in Halifax, though we’re on a different scale than Halifax, we’re hoping the provincial, municipal, and federal government will contribute as they have in our province’s capital.”
Kumar-Briten hopes a new library will be a new chapter for the Sydney community.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kyle Moore