'A happening spot': Summerside Rotary Library big hit

Summerside's new library is proving to be very popular, with more than 30,000 visits and more than 25,000 items loaned.

'We dreamed big and I think our dreams are coming true'

All three floors of the new Summerside Rotary Library have been busy since it opened its doors three months ago. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

The new library in Summerside, P.E.I., is turning out to be a big hit since it opened its doors three months ago.

At 20,000 square feet, the new $2.4 million building is more than double the size of the previous location.

"We've had over 260 new library cards issued since coming into this building," said Gerard Greenan with the Friends of the Rotary Library Group. 

"Roughly about 10,000 people a month come through the doors."

'Dreams are coming true'

Since opening in December, the library has had over 30,000 visits, and have signed out more than 25,000 items — an increase of 25 per cent over the same time period last year.

More than 260 new library cards have been issued since the library moved to its new location. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

"Libraries are offering a lot more than what you or I might have experienced going to the library, a public library, when we were youngsters or in our teens or young adults," he pointed out.

The library moved from the former Summerside train station where it had been for 20 years, to the city's old post office. 

"We didn't want to see buildings vacant or partially vacant," Greenan said. "We saw an opportunity here and we dreamed big and I think our dreams are coming true."

'A gem in the community'

The number of people participating in library programs is also up. Nearly 4,500 people have taken advantage of 93 free programs so far.

The three-storey building is brightly lit and twice as large as the old location. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

"We do everything from bird-watching, to handling depression, to diabetes," shared Gloria Schurman of the East Prince Seniors Initiative. 

"Everything that is offered is free and it's a great place to socialize and learn at the same time. This place is a truly a gem in the community," she said.

The building includes a community program room, study rooms, public computer stations, and a children's area — all decorated with 40 artworks donated by Island artists.

"it's called the Inspire Learning Centre and that's what we're trying to do. To inspire people to come, to visit, to use the facility," said Greenan.  "This place is a happening spot."