West side Lethbridge Public Library branch sees $1M expansion

Lethbridge Public Library Crossings Branch slated to begin expansion project at the end of the month. Jaclyn Kucey, Global News

A million-dollar expansion is coming to the Lethbridge Public Library Crossings Branch.

Terra Plato, CEO of Lethbridge Public Library, said the Crossings Branch was originally built in 2010 for a 2023 target population of 34,000 on the west side of Lethbridge, but the space is already a bit too cramped.

“The west side population has exploded and we are well over that population target already. So what that means is we needed more space earlier than we thought we would,” said Plato.

Currently, the library sits next to about 2,500 square feet of unused space.

The project plans to utilize that vacant space and create:
• An expanded and re-located children’s area that includes programming space and easy access to
washroom facilities and staff support;
• An improved and re-located teen space that provides dedicated areas for different uses of the space with
teen friendly amenities;
• An Indigenous gathering space, which welcomes all visitors while honouring the traditional knowledge
and occupants of the land the library is on;
• Additional public washrooms;
• Additional staff working space to accommodate the expanded staffing of the branch over the last
several years;
• A strategic redesign of the library interior to provide better access to washrooms and staff support.

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“Half of the city’s youth live on the west side and this is a big target population that uses this library. So again, we want to make sure we have space for everybody, (for) everybody to feel comfortable, ensure that people have easy access to staff and washroom facilities, and so this expansion will accomplish all of that,” said Plato.

The $1.05 million expansion funding comes from the City of Lethbridge Capital Improvement Program, the City Library Board and a donation for the Friends of Lethbridge Public Library.

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The 2018 upgrade of the Crossings Branch HVAC system used up $212,000 of the budget.

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“We’re really excited that council decided to go forward with the project. We know there’s a need for it, so it’s really exciting to see our library expanding and being able to provide more resources and spaces for the west side community,” said Plato.

Construction is slated to begin at the end of the month and scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023.

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