Montreal Children’s Library Finds New Quarters – Moves from Atwater to Pierce Street
By John Symon – mtltimes.ca
The downtown branch of Montreal Children’s Library (MCL) has found a new location after many months of being in limbo. The MCL had to leave the basement of Atwater Library some 18 months ago with no clear destination ahead. Now the MCL downtown (Vega) branch has reopened at 1410 Pierce Street near the corner of Guy and Ste Catherine Streets.
“The new location is a bright and welcoming space, located on the second floor of the building,” explains MCL Executive Director Helen Kyne. “On Pierce Street, you go through a kitchen to get to the Library – because of this most people feel like they are in a home. The kids think it’s really cool! We also have a grass carpet with pillows so that no matter what the weather is like outside, kids can come in, take off their shoes and sit or lie on the grass while they read a book.. Overall we feel our new space is brighter, cleaner and more energetic than our previous branch location.”
Kyne went on to note how the Vega branch has a collection of 18,000 books, 8,000 of which are available at the new location. We asked her what the relevancy is of libraries in this world where bookstores are closing. Her response:
“Everything that the Montreal Children’s Library offers is absolutely free. We are a bilingual library that specializes in engaging children and introducing them to the world of literacy. This is done not only by offering an extensive collection of books but also through our Programs which include Moms & Tots, Story time, Chess, Science is Everywhere, Arts & Crafts, The Parent Child Mother Goose Program, Fun in the Sun Festival, as well as special event and guest animators. Children can learn what interests them and at their own pace. We help to lead them to the path of self directed learning.”
“Our desks are just the right height for small folks; they are not intimidated by tall counters. Children are served in French or English as are their parents. We specialize in children, they are 100% our focus and because of that we really know our stuff. Because we are independent, we have the freedom to adapt our collections (and branch locations) to meet the true needs of the public.”
Kyne also indicated that the logistics of the physical move were very challenging and finding space to store the furniture as well as the books was difficult. Eventually an agreement was reached with Innovation Youth (IY)–a complementary not-for-profit group that provides youth services in the community– about using a shared space for the library.
The MCL now has three branches as well as offering outreach programs to daycares. The MCL traces its origins back to 1929 and the Vega branch was housed in the Atwater Library basement from 1981 to 2013. The MCL is a registered charity and issues tax receipts for donations.
Montreal Children’s Library
Vega Branch: 1410 Pierce #150
Montreal (Guy-Concordia metro)
Polaris Branch (in Centre René Goupil)
4121 42nd Street, Montreal
(in Tyndale St. Georges Centre)
870 Richmond Sq. Montreal