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Mount Royal, March 22, 2010 – It was at today’s regular meeting that Town of Mount Royal Council decided to present an overview of the planned expansion of the Reginald J. P. Dawson Library. The $4.8 million expansion project will restore the building to its original concept, add floor space and improve the quality of the services that the library provides.

The current library has achieved much since it first opened in 1967. While the staff is naturally pleased with the growth of the collections and the steady increase in the number of loans made each year, the institution’s success brings ever bigger challenges that it increasingly finds hard to meet.

“Over the years, traffic in our library has grown and users’ needs have changed,” explains Denis Chouinard, Head of Division, Library. “We’re now short of seating and work tables. We still don’t have a section dedicated to teens or spaces for group work. That various types of users have to share a single space creates significant issues around noise. In fact, the list of potential improvements is always growing: installation of an elevator with direct public access; better access for persons with reduced mobility; creation of a separate entrance for groups of young people; and space for storing deliveries. The possibilities are endless.”

To obtain feedback on the general ideas for improving the library, several interest groups were recently invited to a series of consultations, including members of the Mount Royal Municipal Association (MRMA), representatives from the local parents’ association and the school boards, members of the Mount Royal Round Table on Art (TRAM), the members of the Heritage and Culture Advisory Committee, and users and neighbours of the library.

“People clearly understand that the Reginald J. P. Dawson Library has, in a way, become a victim of its own success and that, after all these years, it’s beginning to show its age,” says Mayor Vera Danyluk. “Several other libraries on Montreal Island face similar challenges. Some have begun tackling them, others are getting ready to. For us, it also means preparing for future technological developments. While the relationship between readers and their books is still very much alive, it’s also true that access to a broad array of information sources is developing at a dizzying pace. The library’s mission has to be not only to adapt to but also to be part of this new wave.”