© Eric McCarthy/Journal Pioneer
Gary Rochford of Alberton searches out reading materials on the shelves of the Alberton Public Library, now located in the Old Stone Station.
ALBERTON - Gary Rochford stocked up on a few books Tuesday, the first day the Alberton Public Library was open at its new location.
He wasn't making up for lost time, though. An avid reader, he'd been utilizing the O'Leary and Summerside libraries regularly during the close to eight months Alberton has been without a library.
While he and his wife, Bev, were able to utilize other libraries while in those communities on other business. Rochford imagines the lack of a library in town would have been a burden for patrons who don't get around as much.
The Alberton Public Library on Main Street closed in May due to air quality issues and opened for one week in June until the problems arose again.
It never reopened.
The Town of Alberton decided in August to take over responsibility for library services in the town and to move the service to the town-owned Old Stone Station.
Renovations started in October.
"Who would've thought: the Old Stone Station as a library," Alberton resident Jimmy Smith marveled as he watched early arrivals return books and sort through the shelves for new reading materials.
"It's quite nice," Bev Rochford said of the new location for library.
A member of a handcraft guild that operated out of the Old Stone Station in the late 1970s and early '80s, she is impressed with the transformation the former train station, a registered historic place, has undergone.
"Who would've thought: the Old Stone Station as a library." Alberton resident Jimmy Smith
"It's very good to have the library open again," she acknowledged.
"The Old Stone Station is a beautiful historic location for this important community library and we are very pleased that library services have been restored to this area," said Education, Early Learning and Culture Minister Hal Perry.
There is, however, less space for books in the Railway Street location.
Branch library technician Kelly Gillis said some old and faded copies were sold off during a sale on Dec. 30, allowing for newer copies to be showcased in the Old Stone Station.
"There's still some tweaking to do," Gillis added as she checked books in and out, "but it's been a long time since the public has been able to use the library." She said the town will be planning an official opening once final details are completed.
"We wanted to keep it as open and airy as possible," Gillis said of the space, noting provincial staff took the lead with the lay-out.
Three partitions were taken out during the renovations. The Old Stone Station's roof was re-shingled and the interior freshly painted.
The new location allows for a separate room for programming like special interest courses, book clubs and children's story time.
The Internet area is also more clearly defined in the new location, Gillis said.