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Inspire Learning Centre passes one-year mark at Summerside library

Rebecca Boulter, the regional librarian for the Prince County area, has seen the Inspire Learning Centre prosper in its first year with its collection growing in volume, a larger space and more community groups joining the fold.
Rebecca Boulter, the regional librarian for the Prince County area, has seen the Inspire Learning Centre prosper in its first year with its collection growing in volume, a larger space and more community groups joining the fold. - Millicent McKay photo

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. -It’s been a year since the Inspire Learning Centre opened its doors and Rebecca Boulter couldn’t be happier with how the year has turned out.

“It’s been a fantastic year. The facility has really been embraced by the community,” said the regional librarian for Prince County.

“It’s been a librarian’s dream to be a part of this project, to see it come to fruition from just a plan on paper.

With its opening last October, children and Islanders of all ages have been able to use the new space and now feel they are not interfering with library staff work or others who prefer a quiet place, said Boulter.

“In our old location I always found people were worried if they were too loud they would disturb those who were working, that there wasn’t really a place kids could be kids, and it was a very cramped space.”

In the new one, there is a quieter first floor, for those who want to study and read silently, a louder kid-centred second floor, and a series of boardrooms and community rooms available for sign out, explained Boulter.

A larger facility also meant more opportunities for community groups to use the facility as well as more activities for kids and families.

“We recently had a sensory storytime for children with autism or sensory conditions to come in to a quiet, safe environment where they can feel comfortable.

“We had about 800 people turn out to our family literacy day, which our old location would not have been able to sustain, as well as larger scale activities for PD (professional development) days and a group favourite, slime day, where kids came in and made slime,” she said with a chuckle.

It’s an absolute pleasure that the community has embraced the facilities and the opportunities that come with it, said Boulter.

“Never in a million years did we think we would see our numbers increase the way they have as well as the size of our collection.

“The sky’s the limit. We want to be a space for learning, where people can come and stay and enjoy their time without a worry.”

Derek Key, a Summerside Rotarian who helped spearhead the campaign for the facility, said the centre has surpassed its expectations.

“It’s fair to say we have achieved our goals; growth, utilization and extended business hours (have increased) by more than what we expected.”

Now the staff is working to create a system that will allow those who have booked a community room to access it for 24 hours.

“Someone can book a room, and say they need it at 8 p.m., a time when the facility will be closed, they can pick up a key from the front desk and use it to get into the booked room in their 24-hour time period,” explained Key.

For now, the Rotary club has no plans to physically expand the facility, but they are focused on keeping its success going.

“The Inspire Learning Centre is a building block. It will not solve all of our problems, but we can use it to improve our record of the various forms of literacy, encourage entrepreneurship and encourage the path to education,” said Key.



By the Numbers

Library usage from January to October 2016 and January to October 2017:


– Circulation: 73,964

– Visitors: 61,815

– Attendance: 2,951


– Circulation: 88,964

– Visitors: 111,815

– Attendance: 4,376


 Upcoming Adult Programs:

- Quilting for beginners: Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

- Needle Craft Club: Thursday, Dec. 14, at 2 p.m.

- Financial Literacy: Savings, Emergency Funds and Investing: Tuesday, Dec. 5, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

- Seasonal Music: Friday, Dec. 15, at 1 p.m.

- Silent Reading Party: Monday, Dec. 18, at 6:30 p.m.

- Life Skills 101: Gift Wrapping and Baskets: Monday, Dec. 11, at 6:30 p.m.

- Adult Book Club: “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt, Saturday, Dec. 30, at 2 p.m.


Upcoming Children’s Programs:

- Puppet Play: Dec. 2 at 11 a.m.

- Storytime with a First Responder: Thursday, Dec. 7, at 10:30 a.m.

- Junior Book Club: “Slacker” by Gordon Korman, Saturday, Dec. 9, at 1 p.m.

- Teen Book Club: Tuesday, Dec. 19, at 4 p.m.

- Noon Year’s Eve: Saturday, Dec. 30, at 11 a.m.

- Wiggle Giggle Read: Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m.

- Family Storytime: Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.

- Maker Space: Saturdays at 10 a.m.

- Lego Club: Saturdays at 2:30 p.m.

- Family Colouring and Drawing: Sundays at 1 p.m.


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