Rocky View County (RVC) council approved capital funding on April 5 for up to $75,325 to support the purchase of a modular unit for the long-awaited Langdon Library and Youth centre.
A pre-fabricated building will be placed behind the Fieldhouse in Langdon Park and is anticipated to open in the fall of 2022.
“It's just going to be a wonderful thing for the community. It's going to be providing a location for people to gather, to learn, and to grow,” said Debra Carrobourg, chair of the Langdon Library Society (LLS). “[Libraries] offer programs, they offer help and assistance if you need to apply for things for the government. All those things are available in a library, so it will add an amenity that is not here.”
Langdon does not currently have its own library, despite the hamlet’s growing population of more than 5,000 residents. The LLS has been working for the last year-plus to bring such an amenity to the community.
A library is much more than just books, Carrobourg said, as it provides a place for people to seek help and connect with other communities or support systems.
Not only will the new building be home to a new community library, but through a partnership with the Langdon Community Association (LCA) and Synergy Youth and Community Development Society in Chestermere, the building will also provide space for young people to gather.
“Currently, our youth are meeting in garages or at Tim Hortons. They don't have a dedicated space, so we've investigated many different solutions over the last 18 months,” said Chrissy Craig, chair of the LCA.
Craig added the community is currently lacking both a youth centre and library facility.
While the youth centre is empty during school hours, the space can be utilized to run different family programs for kids under five years old, Craig noted.
“We can rent out the youth centre portion to the family groups to offer family programming right in Langdon without them having to drive to Chestermere and Strathmore,” she said.
Patty Sproule, Synergy’s executive director, explained the organization hosts much of the youth programming in Langdon and that having this space will make it easier to provide and expand their services.
“We have to keep our groups pretty small due to the lack of space available right now,” Sproule said. “So we will have the opportunity to include more kids in what we're already doing but also to expand our programs in what we're doing currently.”
The three-way partnership between Synergy, the LCA, and the LLS allowed them to move forward with funding applications for the site to be prepared and for the eventual purchase of the building.
Synergy is a charitable society registered with the federal government, allowing them to access different grant funding opportunities.
“It stretches our ability as a partnership to apply for lots of different kinds of funding and for us, that obviously is the best-case scenario, to be able to apply for the whole gambit,” Sproule said.
Craig noted the next steps are to go out to bid to find a contractor for the groundwork, servicing, preparations, and eventual renovations inside the building once it arrives.
Work with Rocky View County is still ongoing to confirm the details of the building and when the community can expect its arrival, according to Carrobourg.
The location behind the Langdon Fieldhouse is a central area between buildings and amenities already maintained by the LCA, she added.
An operating agreement will be formalized by the building's users, as well as a governance and operating agreement between RVC, the LLS, and the Marigold Library System.
While this is meant to be a temporary solution, a long-term library service will be addressed through the development of the Langdon Recreation Centre in the coming years.
In early 2021, LLS was gifted a full library from the dissolved municipality of Cereal, Alta. The library is valued at approximately $150,000 and contains roughly 4,000 items, including shelves, desks, furniture, books, cabinets, and computers.
“We have all that in storage, all the shelving and cables are in storage, plus a collection of books,” Carrobourg said. “There are a few items Marigold Library is holding for us, because they kind of belong to the Marigold system, but we are working with them.”
Carrobourg added that some of the library equipment and space can be used by the youth as well.
Public donations are welcome, according to Carrobourg, and a GoFundMe has already raised $21,925 of a $75,000 goal.
To donate and find out more about the project, visit gofundme.com/f/langdon-library-society-fundraisin