This is inspiring news for the North Hastings area.
Land has been laid for a new building that will serve as a library and provide housing for downtown Bancroft.
Dozens of library dignitaries and supporters gathered at the site near Cleak Avenue on Saturday morning. They didn’t let the pouring rain stop them from celebrating the monumental occasion.
Library staff, for several years, have been trying to find a way to fund a new building to replace the current one on Flint Avenue. It was built long before accessibility standards were in place.
CEO and Chief Librarian Kim McMunn says they finally have the right formula. Most of the building costs will come from a grant of approximately $1.9 million from the senior government. Contributions from the private housing developer and a planned fundraising campaign of $500,000 will also cover some costs. This will limit the ultimate costs for ratepayers in Bancroft, Limerick and Faraday Township, the three municipalities that fund the North Hastings Public Library.
“It’s like a dream come true,” says McMunn. “Not just for me. There were a number of people who fought for it.
“It’s a building for everyone. People of all ages can use it. We have everything from library space to community space, where people can gather. It’s not just a library. It will be a dynamic part of Bancroft.
The building itself is called the North Hastings Community Hub, but the area around it is called the North Hastings Inspiration Place. Construction will begin any day and the building could open by spring 2024.
And now that the ground is broken, some of the really hard work begins.
The fundraising campaign will play a key role in the establishment and operation of the new library.
Cheryl Easton is the chair of the fundraising campaign, to raise funds. So far, Easton’s work has mainly consisted of publicizing the project. But that work will now shift to bringing in dollars.
“A lot of our funding will come from naming opportunities,” she says. “We have a menu of opportunities for new construction, whether it’s naming a room or an area. You can name the building if you want and it comes with a price.
Easton will be looking for philanthropists for large donations, but there will also be events that the whole community will attend to raise funds.
“Now the community is really going to see this come to fruition, with more events and continued calls for support,” Easton said. “We have things going on and there will be surprises. The community can certainly seek them out as they arise.
Easton says donors can get more information on the North Hastings Inspiration Place Facebook page or simply by visiting the current Flint Street Library.