By Kaylee Conrod
The Halifax Public Library system recently wrapped up major renovations in Sheet Harbour and Musquodoboit Harbour, adding on to the two buildings. And there have been major upgrades in the strength of the Wi-Fi signals at Sheet Harbour, Musquooboit Harbour, and Middle Musquodoboit to make it even easier for people to access the libraries’ free Wi-Fii.
In Sheet Harbour, the building renovations included a stylish new accessibility ramp, complete with some eye-catching life-sized colored pencils and a wooden deck outside the door. The ramp improves access to the building, and the pencils add a playful touch.
Ashlee Norton, the Community Librarian who works at both branches, was excited about the new features. “There’s seating on the deck space, and we’ll have umbrellas in the summer, so people can sit outside in the shade while sipping their coffees,” Norton said in an interview.
And patrons won’t have to leave the deck to access the library’s Wi-Fi. “We know that digital accessibility is a problem in the Eastern Shore, especially the rural areas,” Norton said. With the new Wi-Fi boosters at both libraries, people will be able to park next to the library, whip out their cell phones, tablets, or laptops, and log on to the library’s Wi-Fi—you won’t even need a password. (If you need to go inside to use the library’s fleet of computers, you will need a free library card.)
In Musquodoboit Harbour, the library now sports a beautiful backyard sheltered and landscaped deck accessible through the south side of the building. The deck opens out onto the library’s grass-covered back yard that has long been the site of community events and an outdoor play space for children’s’ programs.
“There were some delays due to Covid,” Norton said, “but as soon as we able to reopen, work got underway, and we’re just starting to begin to use it.” Last month, the library was able to provide a warming space for people attending the annual Musquodoboit Harbour holiday parade. “We plan to use this area in the summer for our summer reading club,” Norton said. And the deck is perfect for taking some messy crafts outside, like making slimes and blowing bubbles. Halifax Recreation, which is housed in the same building, has already been using the space as well, collaborating with the library for events like outdoor yoga.
“We’re really excited to use the deck for the community party this summer,” Norton said, Covid permitting. “We’ll have more options for outdoor space and a lot more seating.” The deck is open during library hours, with more furniture and lighting to come.