The new location of the Saint John Free Public Library East Branch was getting some rave reviews during its grand opening on Wednesday.
"We really like it … It's really nice," said Misty Faulkins, who took in some of the afternoon celebrations with her toddler, Mylo.
"They do really good at having the environment a little bit more modern and easy-going. It's not a, you know, strict librarian saying, 'Shh, shh, shh.' The kids can really enjoy it and get to love books."
The library is now housed at the Saint John Transit building, at 55 McDonald St., and is about 1,000 square feet larger than the old location.
"We had made the best of the space that we had, but frankly we were outgrowing it," said Maryanne Lewell, chair of the Saint John Library Board of Commissioners.
"The changing role of the library was just outgrowing that space and it was time for us to make a change."
Faulkins appreciates the additional space — "especially when you're this size," she said, motioning to her son. "You know, they have a little bit more energy and can move around a little bit more."
The extra square footage has also allowed for a new dedicated area for teens, which Faulkins says her 12-year-old daughter enjoys. "She doesn't have to be with mom; she can go off and do her own thing."
'Good for the community'
Fellow patron Mary Fulton is also happy to see the library provide a space where teens can gather. "It's good for the community," she said.
There are also Saturday morning activities for children, said Fulton. "So parents — instead of just heading to the mall — can come here and share literacy, reading with their children."
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 in 1975 to Westmorland Place on Westmorland Road, where it was sandwiched in a strip mall between KFC/Taco Bell and Little Caesars pizza, with little parking.
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 to celebrate the library's grand opening.