Skip to content

Storefront library taking form

Library board to take possession of Jensen Lakes Crossing storefront library location Oct. 1
1809 storefront library sup
A concept design for St. Albert's new storefront library shows an open space for kids and families to read and play in.

North side St. Albertans will soon have a new storefront library location to meet all their literary and entertainment needs.

St. Albert’s new storefront library at Jensen Lakes Crossing is making quick progress and remains on track for a January grand opening.

“We’re all very excited about this. When I was up there this week, it was great to see it coming along,” said St. Albert Public Library chief executive officer Peter Bailey. “Everybody is getting really pumped about starting service up there.”

In May, the library board announced the new location, a 4,000-square-foot space leased from Melcor Developments in Jensen Lakes, which will help fill a need in the north end of the city for residents who have a tough time getting to the downtown location. Bailey said throughout the summer, the library’s architect Manasc Isaac has been consulting stakeholders on what the interior should look like.

Through those consultations, including with Indigenous stakeholders, preliminary designs have been struck that mesh well with the library’s wetland surroundings.

“I think people are really going to love the inside; it’s really, really colourful,” Bailey said. “There’s big windows all along the front and partially along the side, so there’s going to be a lot of sunlight coming in there.”

The library board will take possession of the space Oct. 1, after which interior construction can take place.

The need for expanded library services first emerged out of the library’s community van service, and Bailey said they quickly realized there was a lot of demand in North Ridge. It was also very difficult for residents without vehicles to make it all the way to the downtown library in St. Albert Place.

In 2017, the idea of a new branch library was struck down in a plebiscite vote during the municipal election. Coun. Ken MacKay said the idea of a storefront library emerged as a “strong alternative.”

“When we put forward this alternative, it’s necessary to meet some of our demand that we had in our growing part of St. Albert,” MacKay said. “I’m looking forward.”

In 2019, the storefront library has a total budget of $796,200, including $517,000 for capital costs and $279,200 in operating costs.

Bailey said the Jensen Lakes library will be “small but mighty,” and will have about 7,000 physical items on shelves of the “greatest hits,” compared to 170,000 at St. Albert Place. It will also run some literacy programming for pre-school age children.

Once the storefront location is up and running, it will be staffed by 3.3 full-time equivalent staff, which Bailey said would amount to five or six staff. Those positions will be advertised in October.

“It’s a new community up there, so we’re really excited about being kind of a central gathering place for those new people, new communities,” Bailey said. “That’s what modern libraries do.”

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks