Plans are moving ahead for preliminary design work on a new library for downtown Sydney, Nova Scotia.

It would replace the current McConnell Memorial library, which was built in 1960. With about 500 visitors per day, it has outgrown its location. 

Neeta Kumar-Britten, a member of the build committee, says it's important to find out exactly what's needed in a new facility before launching a major fundraiser.
"Part of what we have to do is look at what's this library supposed to look like for a population like ours. What services do we need? What facilities do we need? Do we need music performance spaces or do we need that in downtown sydney? Do we need meeting spaces for public meetings? Do we need lots more room for our collection? We know that for sure," she says. 

Kumar-Britten says the committee is hoping the consultant's report will be finished by spring.

Committee chair Pat Bates says they've reach out to a number of funding sources. 

"We're making a serious effort to get the smaller amounts to get this updated study done as quickly as possible. We're confident that we're going to get something going on this revised study within the next few months," he says.

Bates says, as in Halifax and Antigonish, a modernized library is vital to the future of Cape Breton Regional Municipality. 

"If we're going to remain a relevant community, you know with infrastructure, we need to attract people and so on — young families here, professional people — they expect us to have a facility that matches the needs of the times," he says. 

Bates says the updated study could be followed by a major fundraiser. 

The committee is hoping to start construction in the next two years.