Bibliothèque Régionale Jolys Regional Library, head librarian has big plans for the Arts, Culture and Sports in Community Grant funds they recently received.  

Nicole Grégoire says the $25,000 will go toward creating community gathering spaces inside their library.  

“So, our library, like many other libraries, is seen as a community hub. It's a safe place for kids to come after school. A great place to meet friends, hang out, participate in programming or whatever, right? There are all kinds of things happening in libraries every day and our aim was to update and modernize our library space to meet the community’s needs.” 

Grégoire says they are replacing the existing soft seating, “which is a bunch of miss matched furniture, literally on its last leg, so we want to update it so that it could meet the standards of the Accessibility for Manitobans Act, and then just all around make it a much more comfortable, welcoming space for our community members.” 

She clarifies, this community gathering space is inside the library, not an outside space and Grégoire hopes to create five focus areas.  

“So, obviously we want to create a very welcoming space for the kids. So, cute, little reading nooks or seating to inspire the kids to imagine and explore. We want to create a quiet space where it's an intimate corner. You could relax. You could read in privacy. You know, maybe with items that would include noise reduction materials, right?” 

Grégoire continues talking about enhancing their Internet Connectivity Centre with new office chairs. And then in the common areas, she would like to create two or three casual seating arrangements. 

“Where you could gather, socialize with friends or family. We could use it for when we have our book clubs or our writing circles and some of the other programs that we have. “ 

She also plans on bringing in tables and chairs of varying heights to accommodate the children as well as youth and adults, whether for studying or crafting or reading.  

And finally, to respect the original architects design of the multi-purpose use building, Grégoire plans on purchasing new chairs when local theatre groups want to perform on the stage inside the library.  

“We just want to make it so that everybody and anybody could come to the library, sit on some nice, comfortable furniture and just relax in the space or play in the space or study in the space or whatever it may be.” 

Grégoire notes the Jolys Regional Library was built in the 1960s by French Metis architect from Manitoba, Étienne Gaboury. The unique circular building includes a stage for community theatre or musical performances or meetings. However, because the building itself is owned by the Red River Valley School Division, the only changes Grégoire can make are to the furnishings and interior design.

“And because it's attached to the school, we actually disqualify from a lot of grants that would allow us to improve the actual state of the building. So, what we're focusing on is just making the space welcoming and friendly.” 

This is the second intake of funds from the ACSC grant. Grégoire explains where the money went for the first $25,000 they were awarded.  

“So, with that money, we have ordered a brand-new circulation desk and workspace for the staff, and we hope that that will be installed at the end of August, if not early September.” 

Grégoire recalls receiving the second phone call from MLA Dennis Smook.  

“I was over the moon to hear that we also were awarded through the 2nd intake. It's just momentous to think that within two years our library has received $50,000 to improve our space. It's just wonderful. It kind of leaves me speechless.” 

She hopes the Jolys Regional Library will continue to serve the residents of St Pierre and surrounding area for years to come, and with the new furniture and specific placement of quiet reading corners and noisier crafting corners, she is looking forward to many more people visiting their library. 

Grégoire continues, “More and more libraries are becoming multifunctional, right? It's not just about the library books, it's also about community building. It's about history. It's about creativity. It's about connection. It's about education and there's so many levels to a library. So yeah it, it's such an exciting time, like, I can't get over the good news. It's just wonderful. Wonderful.”